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 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!
Garden Route Map – From Cape Town to Johannesburg
Psst. All ready to go? Don’t forget to run through our Road Trip Packing List, Road Trip Tips & our epic Road Trip Playlist to make sure you have got all the essentials!
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 recommend HolidayAutos.
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.
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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!)
The Garden Route Self-Drive Itinerary
1. Cape Town
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 in CAPE TOWN (4-5 days)
- Luxury: 15 On Orange
- Mid-Range: Cape Heritage Hotel
- Budget: Park Inn By Radisson
- Backpacker: Ashanti Lodge (*TIP* – ask for the guesthouse)
Related: Have a few extra days in CT? Why not add in a couple of Day Trips from Cape Town to fill your time or if you want to head West instead of East, why not take a road trip from Cape Town to the Kalahari?
THINGS TO DO IN STELLENBOSCH: Take a winery tour, visit ROOT44 Market, Drink more wine.
WHERE TO STAY in STELLENBOSCH (1-2 days)
- Luxury: The Wild Mushroom Boutique Hotel
- Mid-Range: Kleinbosch Lodge
- Budget: Stables Lodge
- Backpacker: Stumble Inn
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 in gansbaai (1 day/1 night)
- Luxury: Sea Star Lodge
- Mid-Range: The Roundhouse Bed & Breakfast
- Budget: Nell’s Bed & Breakfast
- Backpacker: Foley’s Self Catering & Backpackers
RELATED: Ready to see more of Africa – why not consider a Budget Overland Safari?.
4. Cape Agulhas
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 in cape agulhas (1 day/1 night)
- Luxury: Agulhas Country Lodge
- Mid-Range: Agulhas Guest House
- Backpacker: Beachcomber Backpackers
Related: Can’t get enough of SA? Check out these 50 Incredible Things to Do in South Africa!
THINGS TO DO IN OUDTSHOORN: Visit an Ostrich Farm, Visit Cango Caves, Hike the Klein Karoo region
WHERE TO STAY in oudtshoorn (1 day/1 night)
- Luxury: Pictures Luxury Accommodation
- Mid-Range: The Gumtree
- Budget: EarthBound B&B
- Backpacker: Karoo Soul Backpackers
6. Mossel Bay
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)
- Luxury: Botlierskorp Private Game Reserve
- Mid-Range: Linkside2 Guest House
- Budget: Little Brak Beach House
- Backpacker: Santos Express Train Lodge
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 in knysna (3-4 Days)
- Luxury: Amanzi Island Lodge
- Mid-Range: Double Dutch
- Budget: Two Angels Cottages
- Backpacker: Island Vibe Knysna
8. Tsitsikamma National Park
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 for tsitskamma
Stay in Knysna and drive to Tsistskamma attractions each day
9. Jeffrey’s Bay
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 in jeffrey’s bay (3 days)
- Luxury: The Ocean Bay
- Mid-Range: Status @ JBay
- Budget: Jay Bay Guest House
- Backpacker: Island Vibe Jeffrey’s Bay
RELATED: If surfing is your thing check out this 10 week Surf Adventure with Ticket to Ride!
10. Port Elizabeth
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. If you don’t fancy a few big days of driving, you could always fly from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg! And if you want to drive further up the coast you can explore KwaZulu-Natal and the Drakensburg Mountains before heading up to Johannesburg.
WHERE TO STAY in port elizabeth (1-2 days)
- Luxury: Admiralty Beach House
- Mid-Range: Kingfisher Guest House
- Budget: Belvedere Cottages
11. Addo Elephant National Park
WHAT TO DO: Go see the elephants – and other game in Addo Elephant National Park
WHERE TO STAY in addo elephant national park (1 day/1 night)
- In the park: SA National Parks Website
Psst. Would you like to take a virtual tour of one of Africa’s National Parks? Click to take a look inside Etosha National Park in Namibia!
12. Mountain Zebra National Park
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 in mountain zebra national park/cradock (1 day/1 night)
- In the Park: SA National Parks
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 in bloemfontein (1 night)
- Mid-Range/Budget: Franklin View Guest House
WHAT TO DO: Apartheid Museum, Hot Air Balloon over the Cradle of Humankind, Constitution Hill, Soweto Tour – click for the Ultimate Guide to Things to Do in Johannesburg!
WHERE TO STAY in johannesburg (3-4 Days)
- Luxury: The Residence Boutique
- Mid-Range: Afrika Boutique
- Budget: Gallo Manor Country Lodge
EXTRA: Kruger National Park
WHAT TO DO: Go in search of the big cats at one of Africa’s biggest and best Game Parks. Self-drives are possible (click here to read about how plan a self drive safari in Kruger), 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)
- In the Park: SA National Parks
- Luxury: Summerfields Resort & Spa
- Mid-Range: Dreamfields GuestHouse
- Budget: Laughing Waters Guest House
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!
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Monday 17th of February 2020
This blog about South Africa's Garden Route: Drive from Johannesburg to Cape Town (or Reverse!) has helped me a lot, is very well written.
Thursday 16th of August 2018
As a regular visitor to Port Elizabeth SA these are my observations. Best business class flight to South Africa by miles Qatar. Best hotel on Garden Route - Moontide at Wilderness. Best South African white wine Chenin blanc. Best casual dining Port Elizabeth "The Friendly Stranger, Bridge Street. Best classy dining "De Kelder" Summerstrand. Best in between these two Bocadillos, First Avenue, Walmer.
Tuesday 7th of August 2018
We would like to do a girls’ self drive trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town around September, we have (4) days of which (2) we have to spend in Twelve apostles hotel (Cape Town) , during the trip we’d like to do a quick adventure of the Garden route and one of the wine lands, preferably Franschoek but any one would do. Thanks
Friday 10th of August 2018
Hi Zandi If you only have two days to get from Joburg to CT (and one of which you want to do a wine day) I'm afraid you really wouldn't see much of the Garden Route. With so little time you might be better flying across.
Saturday 2nd of June 2018
Nice post, Thanks for sharing with us...
Wednesday 30th of May 2018
great post! really helpful tips, I am planning a trip to cover cape town, johannesburg (mainly just kruger) and victoria falls in 18 days (quite ambitious i know). but would you be able to advise the best way to plan this?
Wednesday 30th of May 2018
Thanks Jo! I don't think your plan is too ambitious, and you will definitely need to fly between J'Burg and Vic Falls. But you could drive the Garden Route in 5-7 days with limited stops and didn't mind a couple long(er) driving days. Kruger is a few hours drive from J'Burg also keep that in mind when planning.
I'd say 4 Days CT 6 Days Garden Route 1-2 Days Jo'Burg 2 days Kruger 4 Days Vic Falls
or if you wanted to spend longer in any place you could skip driving and fly between CT and JoBurg.