Road trip in South Africa

kid_a

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hey all, in March me and a couple of mates are doing a road trip from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.
We've got flight booked for Durban on the 9th and then a connecting flight to Port Elizabeth the same day. Our Return flight back to Australia leaves Cape Town on the 29th. We've already got a hire car and all that sorted for the trip and a pretty good idea on where to stop etc, just wondering if anyone here has been to the southern coast of SA and has any recommendations for sights, towns etc. worth looking at that maybe the average visitor may not see.
 

blakey_10

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I did the garden route drive April this year with a mate from Cape Town to Durban. Was awesome. Did the drive in 3 days as we had to be at a wedding. Wished we had a bit a longer. We stayed in Plettenberg Bay for a night. A good hostel. Was very friendly. There is a main strip with restaurants. Went to good pizza joint. From there you can go to Blourkrans bridge to bungee jump.

By the looks of it you are not spending much time in Durban...dont bother. Not much to do there a part from a massive shopping centre.

Cape Town is amazing. Pretty safe if you are switched on. I recommend doing a wine tour in the Stellenbosch area. I stayed at the hostel called the backpack. Awesome hostel. Views of table mountain whilst having a brew. A few minutes walk from the main strip with the bars and restaurants.

When i was there it was too windy for table mountain and the only fine day was easter sunday and it chaos. So hiked up lions head instead. Was cool.

If you there on a sunday head down to camps bay. Its the place to be on sunday evening for a night out.

Everything is cheap! Main meals are $10, beers $1.50 and double spirits $3. The shopping is cheap as well. Head down to the VA waterfront. Some really nice restaurants. Saffa meat is amazing!

Some tips for your drive from PE to Cape Town:
Most places have parking attendants on the main street. They are there to watch your car.

Dont stop for anyone on the highway. Plenty of hitchhikers. Thousands of people just walking along the side of the highway.

When its dark the locals dont wear high vis clothing so it can be scary on the road

Plenty of wild dogs, sheep, cows and goats just crossing the roads

Plenty of dead animals on the roads

Try and drive through the backroads on the garden route. We did that and it took a bit longer but was worth driving through all the villages.

And one last thing try Steers (its similar to burger king)

You will love it!
 

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Orazio2Joe

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Cape Town is wicked! I stayed at Amber Tree Lodge backpackers and would highly recommend it. All the staff were amazingly helpful and were always up for a chat or happy to sit down and have a froffy or two.

Best thing I did was a wine tour of Stellenbosch. I told my guide that I had just graduated uni and she made sure I was given double helpings of everything, including the brandy :D

I also did a couple of walks. I climbed almost to the top of Lion's Head before bad weather set in, but that was amazing anyway. I also abseiled off Table Mountain. If you're an adrenalin junkie, then go for it. The walk back to the top was about an hour long (they will tell you it is about 10 minutes, you'll learn about Africa time :) ) but it was an amazing walk. Such great views.
 

melaniej

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I recently spent a month in South Africa and it was amazing.
Cheap drinks, and eating out was reasonably priced with some amazing restaurants, I think I had more buffets then than I'd had in my lifetime.

Go to Jeffery's Bay if you're keen on surfing, should be getting towards the better surf that winter tides bring.

Tsitsikamma National Park had a few great hikes, one right along the ocean edge to a waterfall that flows into the ocean, pretty cool, and also is where the bungy is, easily the most incredible thing I have done in my life. I definitely recommend it. I did a zipline tour thing in Storms River too, which was alright, nothing too amazing.

In Cape Town, I hiked up Table Mountain, took somewhere around 3 hours, it was reaaaaally really tough but felt very accomplished after, then followed that with an abseil off the top where we then had to hike back up which took another 40 minutes or so, but great views. Lions head hike was great too.

The cape of good hope was worth the visit too,
I spent most of my time near East London, which is more on the East Coast, but I just loved the whole country. Everything we did was amazing, and the people were really friendly.

Everything was awesome, I want to go back to Africa so bad, and spend a lot more time there. Have fun!
 

The Dice Man

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The Mrs and I are looking at going to South Africa at the end of the year and appreciate the advice already in here, but would like more. How cold is the water? I reaad that the average sea temp at Janurary was 20 degrees. And daily temp of an average of 26. I thought SA was a hot country? I see towards Durban the temp increases significantly but it looks a little Gold Coast like. Would love to spend a beach holiday in Cape Town but looks too cold. Any suggestions?
 

swingdog

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Did everyone survive their trips?

On [device_name] using BigFooty.com mobile app
Yes!

Just got back after 3 weeks there with the family. Great country. Had a week in Kruger (still blows my mind sitting in an open top jeep 2 metres away from a lion), 2 days in Victoria Falls, a week in Cape Town and a few days around Johannesburg. Terrific wines and food, friendly people.

Re: dangers. We didn't really go into Johannesburg CBD because of this (with 2 kids), but Cape Town was no worse than San Francisco for being hassled by beggars etc. Tip, learn a bit of Afrikaans to say "no thanks, not interested" and it seems to be more effective. We were more conscious of security but about the same as walking through a big US city.

Re: weather. It's a big country. Cape Town is about the same as Melbourne for weather (a little warmer). Up north in Kruger was more like northern Australia at this time of year.

Highly recommended.
 

nobbyiscool

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Tip, learn a bit of Afrikaans to say "no thanks, not interested" and it seems to be more effective.
You know that in providing this "advice", you're essentially suggesting that people act like racists to deal with people who have nothing, right?

Everyone in South Africa speaks English. Afrikaaners only speak Afrikaans to black people if they're racists trying to indicate their belief that they're above them.
 

stmookeyj

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The Mrs and I are looking at going to South Africa at the end of the year and appreciate the advice already in here, but would like more. How cold is the water? I reaad that the average sea temp at Janurary was 20 degrees. And daily temp of an average of 26. I thought SA was a hot country? I see towards Durban the temp increases significantly but it looks a little Gold Coast like. Would love to spend a beach holiday in Cape Town but looks too cold. Any suggestions?
Water in Durban was cold enough, but of course my experiences come from June temperatures as opposed to January when the beaches are a little more populated.
 

The Dice Man

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We are in Franschhoek right now, day 5 on a driving trip from Cape Town to Kruger and so far it’s spectacular. We were lucky enough to get up Table Mountain on our last day in Capetown and it had been shut for the previous 2 days and being Saturday it was packed. Queued in line for 2 hours in the hot sun but was well worth it.

Can’t believe you guys who abseiled down... just watching people go over the edge had my knees shaking.

Only 5 days in but it’s an incredible country so far.
 

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Ishikawa

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Off to South Africa in the new years for 15 days - all that I've confirmed so far is 5 days in Cape Town over the test :) Won't go to the cricket every day as so muchto do around there, but great way to base it round and has Newlands has always been on the bucket list. Considering whether to go to Franschoek / Stellenbosch as would definitely enjoy that, but want to also fit in Victoria Falls and/or a Kruger safari too so would mean sneaking it in at the start for two nights skipping Joburg altogether (& also coming straight off the back of 4hrs PER-SYD then 14 hrs SYD-JNB).

Know Victoria Falls is incredible, but is it worth the effort in January when supposedly there's a high chance that the rains won't come in? Would love any feedback on anything SA or southern Africa as all options are open for that second week.
 

The Dice Man

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Off to South Africa in the new years for 15 days - all that I've confirmed so far is 5 days in Cape Town over the test :) Won't go to the cricket every day as so muchto do around there, but great way to base it round and has Newlands has always been on the bucket list. Considering whether to go to Franschoek / Stellenbosch as would definitely enjoy that, but want to also fit in Victoria Falls and/or a Kruger safari too so would mean sneaking it in at the start for two nights skipping Joburg altogether (& also coming straight off the back of 4hrs PER-SYD then 14 hrs SYD-JNB).

Know Victoria Falls is incredible, but is it worth the effort in January when supposedly there's a high chance that the rains won't come in? Would love any feedback on anything SA or southern Africa as all options are open for that second week.
Do not Skip Kruger or you should go directly to jail. It's incredible. We stayed in the park for 3 days but we should have spent 5.
 

nobbyiscool

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Off to South Africa in the new years for 15 days - all that I've confirmed so far is 5 days in Cape Town over the test :) Won't go to the cricket every day as so muchto do around there, but great way to base it round and has Newlands has always been on the bucket list. Considering whether to go to Franschoek / Stellenbosch as would definitely enjoy that, but want to also fit in Victoria Falls and/or a Kruger safari too so would mean sneaking it in at the start for two nights skipping Joburg altogether (& also coming straight off the back of 4hrs PER-SYD then 14 hrs SYD-JNB).

Know Victoria Falls is incredible, but is it worth the effort in January when supposedly there's a high chance that the rains won't come in? Would love any feedback on anything SA or southern Africa as all options are open for that second week.
If the rains haven't come to Victoria Falls by January, you can visit Devil's Pool on the Zambian side - you can sit in a little rock pool that's literally right at the top of the falls. I went in April when the falls were well and truly flowing, but I hope to go back when it's dry one year just to do Devil's pool.

Can't speak to Kruger though - the rain turned biblical 3 days before I was due to go and didn't let up, so we couldn't really get there safely. I ended up just doing a two-day trip to Pilanesberg (sp?) which was ok, but it wasn't the same. It's the other reason I need to go back.
 

Ishikawa

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Do not Skip Kruger or you should go directly to jail. It's incredible. We stayed in the park for 3 days but we should have spent 5.
A particular part you recommend? Or did you self-drive right through it?

Only reason I was considering missing Kruger was logistically - with a week to play with felt to cover off both Vic Falls and a safari would be to fly to Vic Falls/Livingston out out Cape Town a couple of days Vic Falls and a safari through Hwange (Zimbabwe) which I have heard is just as fantastic and is a little less busy than areas of Kruger (& I am going in a peak time). But yeah, either way I think it would be a fantastic experience.

If the rains haven't come to Victoria Falls by January, you can visit Devil's Pool on the Zambian side - you can sit in a little rock pool that's literally right at the top of the falls. I went in April when the falls were well and truly flowing, but I hope to go back when it's dry one year just to do Devil's pool.

Can't speak to Kruger though - the rain turned biblical 3 days before I was due to go and didn't let up, so we couldn't really get there safely. I ended up just doing a two-day trip to Pilanesberg (sp?) which was ok, but it wasn't the same. It's the other reason I need to go back.
Cheers for that. Have heard about Devil's Pool not sure I'd have the guts to do it!

Thanks a lot for your responses.
 

The Dice Man

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A particular part you recommend? Or did you self-drive right through it?

Only reason I was considering missing Kruger was logistically - with a week to play with felt to cover off both Vic Falls and a safari would be to fly to Vic Falls/Livingston out out Cape Town a couple of days Vic Falls and a safari through Hwange (Zimbabwe) which I have heard is just as fantastic and is a little less busy than areas of Kruger (& I am going in a peak time). But yeah, either way I think it would be a fantastic experience.



Cheers for that. Have heard about Devil's Pool not sure I'd have the guts to do it!

Thanks a lot for your responses.
We stayed near Crocodile river at the Malelane gate, we did a safari tour with a Pro then drove through ourselves, which had it's sketchy moments like driving on a dirt road surrounded by trees when an elephant came from nowhere and charged our car. Thankfully we were moving and I just floored it, but was a bit freaky from then on. The day we arrived they had just shot a poacher and from what we understood, threw him into he river.

It's a magnificent place and I cannot wait to go back. We spent 3 days in Capetown then drove to Franschoek for a couple of nights, then onto 2 nights at Wilderness and another night in Jeffreys Bay. Then few from Port Elizabeth to Durban where we picked up another car and drove to Saint Lucia, where there is another reserve(but no Cats) and stayed there for a few nights before driving through Swaziland to reach Kruger. The drive was beautiful, especially the first leg.

If you want to save some time 3 nights in Capetown is probably enough.
 

milhouse1

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Off to South Africa in the new years for 15 days - all that I've confirmed so far is 5 days in Cape Town over the test :) Won't go to the cricket every day as so muchto do around there, but great way to base it round and has Newlands has always been on the bucket list. Considering whether to go to Franschoek / Stellenbosch as would definitely enjoy that, but want to also fit in Victoria Falls and/or a Kruger safari too so would mean sneaking it in at the start for two nights skipping Joburg altogether (& also coming straight off the back of 4hrs PER-SYD then 14 hrs SYD-JNB).

Know Victoria Falls is incredible, but is it worth the effort in January when supposedly there's a high chance that the rains won't come in? Would love any feedback on anything SA or southern Africa as all options are open for that second week.
Sounds like an awesome trip. We went to S. Africa for a cricket trip a couple of years ago (matches in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town), plus some Kruger time afterwards. I can't comment on Vic falls or Zimbabwe as I haven't been, but would definitely recommend Kruger, especially if a self-driving safari is of interest to you (I get the impression self driving is not so easy in other places like Zimbabwe/Botswana etc). We spent 7 days self driving through Kruger and it was awesome- did a couple of guided drives, but I felt like the thrill of seeing animals wasn't quite the same with a guided driver, way more fun doing it yourself! Availability might be a bit tight though in Kruger as you mention it is peak time.

Cricket at Newlands was great too!
 

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