We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Cape Town and/or Garden Route possible in 7 days drive?

Florida
Level Contributor
424 posts
22 reviews
Save Topic
Cape Town and/or Garden Route possible in 7 days drive?

Please tell me if this is too much traveling to consider. I am 53 and my husband 67 and we will be share the driving together.

We were planning to take the overnight train from JoBurg to PE, arrive in PE in the morning and take a taxi to the PE airport. There we would pick up a rental car and begin driving along the Garden Route. The night 1 we would stay in SanParks Tsitsikamma Storms River (chalet/cottage). The 2nd night we would stay in Knysna or Oudtshoorn. Nights 3 & 4 we would stay at a B&B (hopefully in or near a vineyard/farmhouse) closer to Cape Town. Nights 5, 6, and 7 we would stay in Cape Town center (day 5 we return our rental car to CPT city center before taking a taxi to our hotel). On our 8th day in the area we depart Cape Town for Upington for a week in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Someone on another forum told me this is planm far too ambitious, and we need to spend at least a week in Cape Town proper, or bypass it all together. She said this itinerary is too tiring, and further, staying in SanParks lodging as first-timers is ridiculous.

We would be taking this itinerary after coming off a 5 day safari with an overnight in JoBurg. Would it be better to skip the Garden Route altogether, and instead, stay in the northern part of South Africa (meaning, Marakele National Park and Pilgrim's Rest area) after our safari, and then return our rental car to JoBurg, where we would re take the Le Premiere train directly to Cape Town? After arriving in Cape Town we would spend 3 nights before proceeding to Upington.

We had been under the misperception that Cape Town city center was a very walkable area and we wouldn't need a car, we could be out and about at all hours, sightseeing as we have done in Paris and Istanbul. We have since learned that after dark one needs a taxi to get around Cape Town, and at our ages, we are wondering exactly what we would be doing at night that would justify a weeks' visit to the City??????

Thank you for any advice.

Cape Xtreme
Private Tours, Safaris, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Adrenaline & Extreme Tours, Cultural Tours
Springbok Atlas Tours & Safaris
Nature & Wildlife Tours, City Tours, Safaris, Private Tours, Sightseeing Tours
Cape Town, South...
Level Contributor
902 posts
1 review
Save Reply
1. Re: Cape Town and/or Garden Route possible in 7 days drive?

This could have worked if you were not driving. I can figure that PERHAPS you would handle the driving BUT not your husband.

I know that may people advocate for self drives but if you're touring I don't see the sense in that except that everyone keeps harping on cost. They're referring to the cost of paying for a driver-guide not about the cost of what you miss by doing your self-drive.

I recently did a tour a wonderful couple from the US who are also in the touring business. As I was the one driving they were relaxing in the back of my vehicle and were spotting so may interesting things and made so many more stops that every night we arrived at the hotel after dark.

I think of the many stops I made where there was no parking but I could drop them and either join them later or pick them up later.

Of course I didn't mind at all because that's what it's about.

Ultimately the choice is yours because I cannot be sure whether you intend travelling or touring.

Edited: 29 July 2014, 08:22
Cape Town Central...
Level Contributor
3,116 posts
78 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Cape Town and/or Garden Route possible in 7 days drive?

Your plans is not to much ambitious at all. Loads of travelling yes, but with proper planning it can be done. Getting the train from Joburg to PE is good. Then getting your car at the Airport is going to be the problem, because with the trains arrival time, you can not be to sure what time they arrive. Sometimes on time and some times not.

Ok, so if the train arrives on time, you then get your car at the Airport and drive towards Knysna, I would say skip the overnight stay in the Tsitsikamma and head down straight to Knysna and stay at least 2nights. Then continue the drive on the 3rd day to Oudtshoorn and stay only for 1night and explore the town.

For the rest head to Cape Town and spend the rest in the city, with day trips to the Wine Lands and also Cape of Good Hope and also the City Center. The best way to get to know the city is via the Hop on Hop off Bus, www.citysightseeing.co.za . This way you would not have to spend so much time unpacking and packing again. With staying in the city, you will have at least a very restful couple of days when heading out to Namibia.

All the best

Hank - Owner - Ulungele Tours

Florida
Level Contributor
424 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Cape Town and/or Garden Route possible in 7 days drive?

Thanks, both. Yes, I would much rather have a driver/guide but unfortunately that is beyond our budget. We could go in a small tour group but we have to find one that meets our precise schedule, departing PE on October 20 and lasting 7 or 8 days at which it arrives in Cape Town.

Hank you are spot on with the biggest problem, which would be obtaining the rental car in PE when the train arrives. Your idea of skipping Tsitsikamma and heading straight to Knysna (and staying 2 nights) makes more sense. A question I have about that: we are coming from coastal Florida, where we have 2 boats and one of the top beaches in the world, Siesta Key Beach. This is a resort area with miles and miles of beach cottages, low-rise condos, restaurants, bars, and watersports for miles and miles....we don't need any of that. I had been under the impression that was the extent of Knysna--am I mistaken?

What we don't have here is mountains, craggy peaks, cold weather, waterfalls, desert, farmhouses and vineyards. Might I find that near Knysna?

Table View, South...
Level Contributor
1,091 posts
95 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Cape Town and/or Garden Route possible in 7 days drive?

Knysna is nothing like that. It sits in the middle of a forest. Lots of mountains around. Here is a link to some TA pictures for knysna that should give you an idea. tripadvisor.co.za/LocationPhotos-g312664-Kny…

Cape Town Central...
Level Contributor
3,116 posts
78 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Cape Town and/or Garden Route possible in 7 days drive?

Knysna is nothing compared to what you have shared. Covered by hills, lakes, forests and with very good scenery of small coastal beaches and very good situated. Plenty to keep you busy for 2days and with towns only about 40mins drive away, like Plettenberg Bay and also the Tsitsikamma Forests.

It is highly unlikely that you will get a tour company that will start on the exact date as your arrival in PE. Have a look at some of the companies here on the activity link on TA and send some emails out to see just in case you might get interested to book with someone. You can book your accommodation and schedule yourself and just request for driver/guide with own vehicle. He/she then includes his fuel, vehicle, accommodation and time for the duration of the trip. You also then have the option for them to include accommodation for you on the trip and then compare the 2 with each other.

All the best

Hank - Owner - Ulungele Tours

Leigh-on Sea...
Level Contributor
4,131 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Cape Town and/or Garden Route possible in 7 days drive?

Too much travelling to do in my opinion.

dont' miss out Cape Town, it is one of the gems of SA, but not particularly ' African' , if that is what you are looking for.

if your first safari is in Kruger you could fly direct from Nelspruit airport to Cape Town. There is so much to do and see in and around Cape Town, so you could miss out the Garden Route on this trip , it will be more of a holiday than an endurance test.

Forget your experiences of walking around cosmopolitan Istanbul or Paris day and night. Cape Town city centre is a bit seedy and run down in my opinion and you would need to take the advice from your accommodation which places to avoid at night. The beauty of CT is in the surrounding areas not the town centre . However, you can spend a good day in CT centre ,checking out the sights.

I have spent 2 weeks in CT and Garden Route and last time spent the whole 15 days venturing no further than 2 hours outside of CT.

My trip reports are at the top of the forum , items 15/16 under Post Your Trip Report Here'. Hopefully they will help you make up your mind.

Florida
Level Contributor
424 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Cape Town and/or Garden Route possible in 7 days drive?

Based upon everything mentioned thus far, would it be better to stay OUTSIDE of Cape Town and keep our rental car to drive around the environs? Other than spending a day on the HoHo bus and seeing the city centre sights, is it preferable to stay in the suburbs, and if so, which are most convenient and centrally located? Would Stellenbosch be a good choice?

Edited: 02 August 2014, 02:11
Florida
Level Contributor
424 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Cape Town and/or Garden Route possible in 7 days drive?

Sorry, I must add another question: if there is little African culture in Cape Town, is there much of any African culture outside of Cape Town? I will continue reading the trip reports--which seem, thus far, predominately about the (mountainous) coastline including sea life, the natural parks and gardens, and the vineyards. I don't seem to be finding much information about native African culture and foods--am I not looking in the right area? Originally I had planned on spending a few days in Lesotho to see the Basotho peoples, and spend a few days in Namibia or the !Xaus / San lodge of the Kalahari because my husband is really excited to learn more of the Bushman culture; we see quite a bit of it on the TV documentaries here. But I changed our itinerary because others had been saying Cape Town is a great city to visit....I think I need to do a bit more research.

Edited: 02 August 2014, 02:23
9. Re: Cape Town and/or Garden Route possible in 7 days drive?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 03 August 2015, 05:16