Best South Africa Holiday: Garden Route from Cape Town to Joburg

garden route tour south Africa road trip itinerary south Africa holiday

If you planning your South Africa holiday, you simply can’t go wrong with the Garden Route. Officially running along the N2 from Cape Town to Mossel Bay and then along the coast to Port Elizabeth, this tour will give you extra stops along the way to make sure you get the absolute best from your South Africa road trip! From Cape Town we’ll be adding in a wine tour in Stellenbocsh,  Cage Diving with Great White Sharks in Gansbaai and a visit to the most southern point in Africa at Cape Agulhas. And then on the Garden Route itself, we’ll visit the Ostrich Farms of Oudtshoorn, to eat amazing Oysters in Knysna; Bungee Jump at Bloukrans Bridge and learn to surf  at Jeffrey’s Bay. We’ll then continue all the way through to Johannesburg with the option to extend your South Africa tour further with with a cheeky Kruger add on! South Africa and the Garden Route is perfect for independent travel and those that like to self-drive, and this itinerary gives you full control to decide how long you want to stay at each suggested stop. So what are you waiting for? Scroll down for everything you need to know about the Garden Route including a Map, Accommodation Options and a full itinerary for your road trip between Cape Town and Johannesburg! Enjoy!

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Garden Route Map – From Cape Town to Johannesburg

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South Africa - From Cape Town to Johannesburg inc the Garden Route

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Cape Town: -33.915366, 18.543149
Stellenbosch: -33.930703, 18.874183
Gansbaai: -34.578152, 19.351621
Cape Agulhas: -34.830714, 20.006790
Oudtshoorn: -33.592610, 22.221540
Mossel Bay: -34.178754, 22.131913
Knysna: -34.032131, 23.045998
Tsitskamma National Park: -33.968420, 23.913116
Jeffrey\'s Bay: -34.050450, 24.907680
Port Elizabeth: -33.962156, 25.620804
Addo Elephant National Park: -33.483010, 25.754790
Mountain Zebra National Park: -32.253180, 25.452970
Bloemfontein: -29.121070, 26.214000
Johannesburg: -26.202270, 28.041916
Kruger National Park: -24.072778, 31.625000

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Hiring A Car In South Africa

Car Hire in South Africa is pretty straightforward – you’re biggest question will be which provider to book with! I’m a big fan of comparison sites which show you a range of providers and their best price – and recommended using AutoEurope or HolidayAutos.  (*Tip* check both sites as often one or the other has a sale on!)

AVERAGE COST OF CAR HIRE:  Car hire averages around 270 – 350 ZAR per day (7 day hire)  which converts to $20-$35 USD | £15-£25 GBP | $27-$37 AUD – however prices will vary dependent on the time of year you visit and will get cheaper the longer you rent the car for.

AVERAGE COST OF PETROL/GAS: Fuel cost average around 12.50 ZAR per liter. This trip in its entirety (including the Kruger add on) racks up a around 2,400km.  If you hire an economical car and get 13km per liter you would spend approx 2200 ZAR ($160 USD | £130 GBP | $220 AUD) for the whole trip. If you want to check these figures once you have selected your car click here.

YOU DON’T NEED GPS! If you haven’t heard already, there is an amazing app called Maps.Me which allows you to download maps and use them offline FOR FREE. They have detailed maps from all over the world so you only download what you need – and you can even do responsive, A to B directions on them! You can wave goodbye to the GPS charge car hire companies try and stick you with – and have no worries at all about racking up a huge data bill. Maps. me is the best map app you could ever have – and if you take nothing else from this post – download this app today. (And no, I’m not an affiliate – I just really REALLY love this app!)

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The Garden Route Self-Drive Itinerary

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1. Cape Town

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THINGS TO DO IN CAPE TOWN:  Climb (or take the Cable Car!) up Table Mountain, Explore the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Tour the Cape of Good Hope, visit Robben Island & District Six Museum, Shop for Bargains at Greenmarket Square, Go shopping for everything else at the V&A Waterfront, Visit the Penguins @ Boulders Beach, Hike Lions Head to watch the Sunrise and watch the sunset at Camps Bay.


WHERE TO STAY – CAPE TOWN (4-5 days)

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2. Stellenbosch

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THINGS TO DO IN STELLENBOSCH: Take a winery tour, visit ROOT44 Market, Drink more wine.


WHERE TO STAY – STELLENBOSCH (1-2 days)

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3. Gansbaai

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THINGS TO DO IN GANSBAAI:  Cage dive with Great White Sharks with White Shark Ventures – I have dived with them and they DO NOT chum the water.


WHERE TO STAY – gansbaai (1 day/1 night)

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4. Cape Agulhas

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THINGS TO DO IN CAPE AGULHAS: Check out the most southerly tip of South Africa, Visit the Lighthouse, Visit the Wine Boutique on the Shipwreck Coast & if you’re a craft beer fan, check out Frasers Folly @ BlackOysterCatcher Winery


WHERE TO STAY – cape agulhas (1 day/1 night)

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5. Oudtshoorn

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THINGS TO DO IN OUDTSHOORN: Visit an Ostrich Farm, Visit Cango Caves, Hike the Klein Karoo region


WHERE TO STAY – oudtshoorn (1 day/1 night)

 

6. Mossel Bay

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THINGS TO DO IN MOSSEL BAY: Relax, Enjoy the Town, Recuperate! (or skip if you’re short on time!)


WHERE TO STAY – Mossel bay (1-2 days)

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7. Knysna

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THINGS TO DO IN KNYSNA: Go Whale Watching, Eat Oysters, Shop at the Waterfront (*TIP* Decorated Ostrich eggs are much cheaper here than at the farms!), Knysna Lagoon.


WHERE TO STAY – knysna (3-4 Days)

8. Tsitskamma National Park

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THINGS TO DO IN TSITSKAMMA AREA:
Bungee Jump off the Boulkrans Bridge, Black Water Tubing on Storms River, Canopy Tour, Horse Trails


WHERE TO STAY – tsitskamma

Stay in Knysna and drive to Tsistskamma attractions each day


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9. Jeffrey’s Bay

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THINGS TO DO IN JEFFREY’S BAY: Learn to Surf, Shop at the discount surf outlets (Billabong, Ripcurl etc), get the best massage anywhere in Africa at Skin Deep (honestly, they are awesome! gorgeous treatment rooms, amazing therapists – book in advance so you don’t miss out when you’re there!)


WHERE TO STAY – jeffrey’s bay (3 days)

10. Port Elizabeth

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THINGS TO DO IN PORT ELIZABETH:
Another beautiful town to spend a day or so in and a fitting place to end the Garden Route. Stay a day or drive straight on – it;s entirely up to you. And if you don’t fancy a few big days of driving, you could always fly from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg!


WHERE TO STAY – port elizabeth (1-2 days)

11. Addo Elephant National Park

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WHAT TO DO: Go see the elephants – and other game in Addo Elephant National Park


WHERE TO STAY – addo elephant national park (1 day/1 night)

12. Mountain Zebra National Park

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WHAT TO DO: Go see the endanged Mountain Zebra in the wild and the park has recently introduced cheetahs, which you can track on foot with park rangers. Truly an experience to remember!


WHERE TO STAY – mountain zebra national park/cradock (1 day/1 night)

13. Bloemfontein

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WHAT TO DO: Unlucky for some stop no. 13 is Bloemfontein. I’ve included this one in case you didn’t want to drive the 7+ hours between Mountain Zebra and Johannesburg. Bloemfontein is about half way between the two if you need an overnight break.


WHERE TO STAY – bloemfontein (1 night)

14. Johannesburg

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WHAT TO DO: Apartheid Museum, Hot Air Balloon over the Cradle of Humankind, Constitution Hill, Soweto Tour


WHERE TO STAY – johannesburg (3-4 Days)

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EXTRA: Kruger National Park

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WHAT TO DO: Go in search of the big cats at one of Africa’s biggest and best Game Parks. Self-drives are possible, but, as always, I recommend you join a guided tour – their knowledge and communication with other guides will ensure you see the most animals you can whilst you’re in the park. We had an amazing day with Elephant Herd Safaris – and they offer free pick up and drop off from Hazyview if staying outside the park.


WHERE TO STAY – kruger/hazyview (2-3 days)

 

And there you have it! My ultimate South Africa holiday – roadtripping from Cape Town to Johannesburg along the Garden Route!

Did I miss any of your favorite spots? Let me know in the comments so I can share your highlights with my readers!

And if you liked this article – or just want to save it for later – click the P in the share bar on the Rights – there’s lots of lovely full sized pins for this post! Additional shares would also be very much appreciated 😀

Garden Route | South Africa Road Trip | South Africa Holiday | Cape Town to Johannesburg Self Drive | Garden Route South Africa | Best Stops on the Garden Route   Garden Route | South Africa Road Trip | South Africa Holiday | Cape Town to Johannesburg Self Drive | Garden Route South Africa | Best Stops on the Garden Route

Garden Route | South Africa Road Trip | South Africa Holiday | Cape Town to Johannesburg Self Drive | Garden Route South Africa | Best Stops on the Garden Route Garden Route | South Africa Road Trip | South Africa Holiday | Cape Town to Johannesburg Self Drive | Garden Route South Africa | Best Stops on the Garden Route Garden Route | South Africa Road Trip | South Africa Holiday | Cape Town to Johannesburg Self Drive | Garden Route South Africa | Best Stops on the Garden Route Garden Route | South Africa Road Trip | South Africa Holiday | Cape Town to Johannesburg Self Drive | Garden Route South Africa | Best Stops on the Garden Route

Garden Route | South Africa Road Trip | South Africa Holiday | Cape Town to Johannesburg Self Drive | Garden Route South Africa | Best Stops on the Garden Route

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82 thoughts on “Best South Africa Holiday: Garden Route from Cape Town to Joburg

  1. Ray says:

    That’s amazing how much you can see along the Garden Route and that it takes almost a month to really see it all. Also, thanks for the tip about Fraser’s Folly! For a country renowned for its wine, it’s interesting to see South Africa starting to make its mark on the burgeoning craft brewery scene. Great way to learn more about the culture and connect with the locals is over a glass of wine – or pint of beer in this case!

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Ray! We met Fraser (of Fraser’s Folly) whilst we were in Cape Aghulas and are so pleased he is doing so well over there and more than happy to recommend his beers! And as for the time it takes – it entirely depends on one’s interests – it’s so easy to customize the tour to see exactly what you want in a long or short a time as you have available!

  2. Birthe (from Wandering the World) says:

    You convinced me, I’m ready for a South African road trip! It looks and sounds awesome! I definitely want to see a zebra in the wild. The other animals too of course, but definitely a zebra. 😉 We already saw ostriches in Australia and elephants in Thailand, but my bucket list is still filled with animals I want to see in the wild! I love your photo of the ostriches btw, they’re such weird but fascinating birds.
    Thanks for sharing, I pinned it for when we’re planning our South African road trip. 😉

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Katie – it’s not that we didn’t like Bloemfontein – we just didn’t stay overnight there and did the big drive instead! It did look very pretty on the way through tho!

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Carol – it was totally safe, although we were a little more wary in Johannesburg.
      In South Africa we really only saw wildlife in the parks – however if you go further north in Africa (Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe etc) you are highly likely to see giraffe, zebra and elephants wandering around!

  3. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie says:

    When you see all of these activities listed out in a single road trip itinerary, it’s incredible to see how much there is to do and how much variety there is! Talk about getting a taste of all that South Africa has to offer! I’d love to check out the vineyards and spot as much wildlife as possible. The coastline, too, looks stunning. Thanks for all the ideas. Researching Africa for this year!

  4. Paul says:

    Not sure why but I’ve never really had the urge to go to South Africa, but reading this post and seeing all your amazing photos really makes me want to go now! We love road trips and this one looks awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  5. James says:

    Vicki – Incredible list. Every single one of these would be worth to add to a trip but for me personally the cage diving in Gansbaai would outshine all of these other activities. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Christopher says:

    Wow Vicki this is one incredible list. You really put a lot of work and and added a lot of detail. I will book mark this list for my trip to South Africa. I also love your pictures they are beautiful and the various a accommodation style for various types of travellers. Great post!

  7. Punita Malhotra says:

    This seems like an ideal itinerary. One can cover the best of everything along the route, from big city life to natural wonders to wildlife. We are researching South Africa these days and so, I’m pinning this post for reference.

  8. Elisa says:

    A very beautiful and complete article about a destination (I mean the garden route) I am discovering right now. South Africa was never on my wish list but your pictures are very inspiring (plus it looks easy to plan and do!) so I may change my mind. Thanks for this little bit of wanderlust

  9. Jennifer says:

    I knew about some of these attractions, but definitely not everything you’ve introduced us to! I’ve been dying to visit Stellenbosch for a while now and I knew about Kruger, but this is making me want to plan a trip to Cape Town and finally do the Garden Route.

    And that poor lion looks like he’s been in a few fights. 🙁

  10. Chrysoula says:

    What an amazing road trip and the costs for renting a car and petrol aren’t much. I like that you have included so many nice places from beautiful Cape town, the wild animals and wine tasting.

  11. JuliaSan says:

    We spent a months in South Africa, but not specifically on the Garden Route, unfortunately. We only covered the Cape Town area from this itinerary (1-4) The rest also sounds great, I will save it for our next trip to SA. 🙂

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Jean – and you can have a pic with an Ostrich, but the process to get them there isn’t all that pretty.. they put a bag over the Ostrich’s head and lead them to a holding pin which restricts their wings. You stand next to them, they take the hood off and it’s picture time. They’re pretty aggressive too. We avoiding this part of the Ostrich Farm..

  12. Iza Abao says:

    I love how you created this article because you have included different types of accommodations. I just pinned this too! There are so many options and I do not know what to choose. I think I would want to experience a longer road trip so that I will be able to enjoy more and not feel like in a hurry. I love to go the beach so I will pick JEFFREY’S BAY, KNYSNA and GANSBAAI. They look awesome and relaxing.

  13. Samantha Lorenz says:

    Thank you for the tip on Maps.me! I am a huge fan of using google maps for travel and love downloading maps to use offline but I could never get the directions to work right. We’re going to try out Maps.me on our next trip in a few weeks!

  14. Venkat Ganesh says:

    Wow! This is an incredibly helpful post. My favourite way of travelling is roadtripping. It allows me to get off the beaten path in between major destinations and at the same time letting me get the best of the tourist spots. I’m sure I can use this as a template for roadtripping in SA albeit on a motorbike.

  15. Cliodhna Ryan says:

    This really is the ultimate roadtrip! I did a condensed version of this a few months ago. I loved Tsitsikamma. Isn’t the bungee just terrifying and amazing? Still feel sick thinking about it. That picture of Knysna is beautiful. You’ve definitely helped me decide where to fit in on my return!

  16. Alice Nettleingham says:

    Fantastic! Very detailed information, I think you’ve included everything from descriptions of the places and where to stay along with the different cost of accommodations and traveling. This is my kind of post I’m looking for whenever I research for places to go to. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Kerri says:

    My husband really wants to go to South Africa and other parts of Africa too, but I will admit to being a bit nervous about security. I really love that you have done a road trip here though as this isn’t something that I have seen info on too often. And I love road trips ! Best way to travel in my opinion. South Africa is such a beautiful looking country and I know I would love it. Just need to get over myself I think. 🙂

    • Vicki says:

      I can just imagine you two in a campervan over there! You would totally love it Kerri! The only time I didn’t feel 100% safe was in the center of Jo-Burg, but I think that was more in my mind than anything else!

  18. Hra says:

    Such a great guide!! So useful and informative, i definitely pin it and use it when i go in South AFrica… Beautiful post with amazing photos, thanks for sharing with us

  19. Kallsy says:

    One of my most favorite things is road tripping! Whether it be in the USA or in another country. I have wanted to visit South Africa ever since I met a friend of mine (from South Africa) in college. These destinations seem like a dream. I’m personally intrigued by the cage diving! Such a thrill!

  20. LeAnna Brown says:

    We just absolutely ADORED our S.A trip! One of the most amazing we have taken. Due to limited time, we flew between Joburg and Capetown , but if we had more time, I could see how this would just be icing on the cake

  21. Christina Pfeiffer says:

    The Garden Route looks like a scenic way to see the country. Cape Town looks like such a beautiful city. I’ve only every passed through Johannesburg on my way to other places in Africa but I think I need to spend more time exploring South Africa. It’s beautiful!

  22. Nuria Vidal says:

    I first heard of this route yesterday and today I read a post about it! What a surprise! Is that destination that calls me to visit South Africa? haha This route is scenic! I would love to do drive it as road trips are my favourite kind of trips!
    Oh, and thanks for mentioning Maps.me. Never heard about this app but I would absolutely give it a shout out!

  23. Jimmy and Tina says:

    You have quite and array of lovely and fantastic photos from your road trip in South Africa, A place I am looking forward to going diving in the future . The cost of car hire and fuel seems pretty reasonable and a good way to see a good portion of the country. good tip on the app instead of gps. I always hear about being weary of safety in South Africa and wondering where to find more information about planning a trip?

  24. Natalie says:

    We love hiring a car because of the flexibility it gives you when traveling with the kiddos. You can stay an extra few minutes or leave early as you see fit without worrying about schedules for mass transportation. Trains and buses are fun for kids since they don’t use them that much in the states, but in some places…like southern Spain or Italy the mass transportation options are thin.

    As much as we like to explore…I can not even think for one second about swimming with the sharks!!

  25. [email protected] says:

    Thanks for putting together such an extensive itinerary for an excellent road trip in South Africa! Good to know that gas isn’t too expensive and I’m definitely keeping Maps.Me in mind. I’ve yet to go to SA but hopefully I’ll make it there soon.

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