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Joburg to Cape Town Road Trip

Bern, Switzerland
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Joburg to Cape Town Road Trip

Hi!

I'm about to sketch a road trip for two heading from Joburg to Cape Town. The idea was to hire a car and then spend 2-3 weeks on the road. Probably in late July to mid August.

We are very interested in wildlife and hiking. Cities are also nice, but not for too long.

Since this will be the first time for me in Africa and I, yet, don't know too much about SA, I'm asking for your comments, tips, hints and other helpful ideas.

Here is what I already have in my mind:

- Johannesburg

- Panorama Route

- Kruger NP

- Ngwenya Glass workshop

- Swaziland

- Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary (Swaziland)

- Isimangaliso Wetland Park

- Kwazulu Natal coast

- Drakensberg Mountains

- Lesotho

- Addo Elephant NP

- Tsitsikamma NP

- Garden Route

- Cango Caves

- Oudtshoorn

- Route 62

- Cape Agulhas

- Table Mountain NP

- Cape of Good Hope

- Cape Town

Some of the questions I have:

- What would you add/drop and why?

- What kind of car would be needed?

- Which (scenic) routes should we take?

- Camping or B&B?

- If B&B will you have to book or can you just show up?

- What will be the climate along the way in July/August?

- Durban isn't in the list, would you say we need to add it?

- Can you add in ideas for Swaziland and Lesotho?

- Something I would have to know about road trippin in SA?

- Will 2-3 weeks be fine?

Cheers!

Ontario, CAN
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1. Re: Joburg to Cape Town Road Trip

Hi...

We are just nicely home so haven't begun to think of a trip report just yet, however we did the drive from Cape Town to Joburg - in about 30 days or so - during our first trip to SA as well. We spent about 3 weeks in Cape Town and surrounds first. We had a bit more time than you, but enjoyed every bit of it. We did the Cango Caves/Oudtshoorn - out route 62, then dropped down to the coast to George and drove along the Garden Route and to Durban (where we stayed for 4 days) and then up the coast to Mtubatuba/st Lucia, through Swaziland (no stops - frankly this is where we found the roads in the poorest condition), into Kruger through Croc Bridge - stayed for 5 nights at 3 different camps, out the Phalaborwa gate and down the Panorama Route and into Joburg. We were in a VW Polo, auto trans, and had no problems with it at all. So I believe we did all the destinations, except for Addo and Milwane. We did this in Feb and we did not have any reservations - we booked either a day ahead or after we arrived in town. This did not present any problems and is our preferred travel style. We did not have a GPS, but purchased a good road map and that was suffice for us. We are not avid hikers so can't comment on this. I would have to say that the "stand outs" for us were......route 62 scenery, Wilderness and Brenton-on-Sea for beautiful beaches along the Garden Route, as well as our time in Durban and Mtubatuba/St Lucia. Oh...and of course the highlight was Kruger for obvious reasons! Happy to answer any specific questions if I can, although am not a destination expert by any means!!

Cape Town Central...
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2. Re: Joburg to Cape Town Road Trip

Try to be in CT in Aug. Great Whale awatching and the spring flowers. july is good for game viewing as it is dry and the game congregate along the river courses. If you need any further advice lease let me know. I cn send you some great ideas. Paul

Johannesburg, South...
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3. Re: Joburg to Cape Town Road Trip

You will need a 4x4 for the Lesotho portion of the trip.

The most scenic trip into Lesotho is the Sani Pass and you need a 4x4 to do this. In fact you need a 4x4 for most of Lesotho and you need to be comfortable with offroad driving to do Sani Pass or large portions of driving in lesotho. If you are uncomfortable with this, then I would either skip Lesotho or get a tour company to do a day trip up the Sani Pass for you.

Also renting a 4x4 and paying for petrol will make this more expensive.

I would also skip Milwane in Swaziland rather spend more time in KNP or in Umfolozi game reserve or in Durban. There are also some wonderful sights to see in the KZN midlands (Drakensberg area) that you shouldn't miss. And you might want to include the Hogsback area of the Eastern Cape.

Camping will be much cheaper but more of a hassle. If you got BnB then I would book. You will have to book for Kruger and for CPT!

Most roads in SA are decent. We do get a lot opf potholes but provided you drive carefully it shouldn't be a huge issue.

Never keep your valuable visible in the car. Don't leave camera's, handbags, cell phones, money etc lying on a seat. Smash and grabs do happen be responsible.

Harare, Zimbabwe
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4. Re: Joburg to Cape Town Road Trip

I work in Lesotho, and live in SA. It really depends what you plan to do in Lesotho. There are really good tar roads running through the country, that you can quite happily use with a normal car - no 4 x 4 required. Let me know what your plans are through Lesotho and I will try and assist you. Driving can be quite slow as the road winds around the mountains and you really cant move at great speed.

Mlilwane in Swaziland, when last I was there had terrible roads. You need a 4 x 4 for that, but maybe some can update you on the conditions of the roads. Maybe post in the Swaziland forum. In addition, in my opinion, if you have spent time in Kruger and Addo, you can skip Mlilwane.

You are winding through Southern Africa, quite a bit. I think that you are not leaving enough time. The distances are vast, and if you are driving for most of the day you are not allowing much time for hikes, and stopovers.

Bern, Switzerland
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5. Re: Joburg to Cape Town Road Trip

Thanks to all for your feedback!

@ canuck50

What can you recommend to do/see in CT? Is Durban worth a stop if you’re not that much into cities (I mean we still have Jo’Burg and CT)? Did you do Kruger yourself or will we need a guided tour to spot the big 5 and more? So you just passed Swaziland without stops? Why? Time or some other reason?

@ 829PaulC

Can you book whale watching tours from CT directly? Any hints on Table Mountain hike trails since your from CT?

@ Sarah S

Already heard about Sani Pass, yet I don’t have offroad experience. Is it such a harsh drive up there? Which wonderful sights to see in the KZN midlands are you talking about? Very interested to hear more about them! What to expect from the Hogsback area of the Eastern Cape?

@ madaboutwine

Yet I don’t know if and what to do in Lesotho. So I’m very open to your ideas! I google it already, but it’s harder to find info about it than about SA. Anyhow I probably should move this question to the Lesotho Forum ;). Since you mention the time budget, would it be an option to fly from Durban to Port Elizabeth instead? Would we miss much? I saw that flights are about 1200-1600 ZAR each with British Airways/SA Airways. Or would you outline a complete different route instead to allow more time for activities?

Ontario, CAN
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6. Re: Joburg to Cape Town Road Trip

Johnathan....Hope I can answer your questions. We stayed for a week in Sea Point (apartment) and 5 days in Simonstown (apartment) and between all those days, we managed all the major sights. Thought Cape Town was a beautiful city. We used the HOHO bus on 2 days, took a few taxi rides and the last week in Simonstown had our rental car for touring around including the trip to the Cape Point.

Re Durban.....On second thought, you're right. If you are not "into" citylife then Durban may be one too many cities for you. We simply enjoyed the waterfront area - did a lot of walking along here, as well as the Stadium tour and a couple of markets. I guess it exceeded our expectations!

Re Kruger....I should advise that I booked our lodging in Kruger well in advance. We spent 2 nights Lower Sabie, 1 Satara and 2 in Oliphants. We were so excited but also so apprehensive about our self drive!! But it was the highlight.....we purchased supplies in Komatipoort and off we went. We were up early (5 am each morning) and out the gate at opening. It was absolutely the most thrilling thing to spot the game on your own. We gave them lots of space, but were close enough!! The only guided drive we took was a night drive which we enjoyed (saw lions, elephants mating etc.) Our preferred lodging was the tent surprisingly, although we had a lovely location overlooking the river. At the time we were in Kruger the game was concentrated more in the south. Once you purchase your Kruger map it's very easy - there are paved roads but we did so many gravel road loops - taking our breakfast and lunch in the car!! Only one time we had to turn back as we thought the rut in the road might be too deep for our rental car!

Swaziland - We drove up the eastern side of the country from St Lucia so we decided to do it all in one day and spend the night in Komatipoort prior to entering the Park rather than somewhere in Swaziland. It was a good decision for us (we got to stock up for our 5 days in Kruger) and entered the Park early the next day.

Good luck with your planning!!

Cape Town Central...
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7. Re: Joburg to Cape Town Road Trip

Hi Jonathan

Yes you can book whale watching from Simonstown in Cape Town. If you mail me at: paul_coetzee@yahoo.com I can give you some contact details

Harare, Zimbabwe
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8. Re: Joburg to Cape Town Road Trip

Have a look at this link - it might give you some ideas visitlesotho.travel/travel/routemap.aspx

Its also really going to depend on the time of the year you visit. Lesotho get covered in snow, much like Switzerland ( I also lived in Geneva for 3 years and LOVED it) and some of the routes are not passable under any circumstances. It does however offers some spectacular scenery. Katse dam visitlesotho.travel/travel/routemap.aspx is also worth seeing. The drive is spectacular. In my opinion you wont be missing that much if you do not go over Sani Pass.

Flying would be a good option. The road is not great for a stretch and driving can be slow. You have to be on the lookout for animals and people crossing the road at will. You will miss the south coast, but if you plan to travel to St Lucia, in the north, that stretch of coast to my mind is just as beautiful, if not better.

Durban , is worth a quick stop as you have time constraints, one night is enough.

There is not a lot to see or do in Swaziland, but I would not miss it, and drive through as a means to an end destination.

Kruger is and easy destination to do as a self drive. If you feel you want a drive in an open 4 x 4 you can book a drive either at the camps or the main gates. Both am and pm drives are available. If you can't get a booking in Kruger itself there are plenty of options to stay really close by, and go into the park as a day visitor.

The panoramic route is also a must do! Long Tom pass, Blyde River canyon, etc. This link will give you some more info …sa-venues.com/provinces/…

Bern, Switzerland
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9. Re: Joburg to Cape Town Road Trip

Thanks to all! Your input is very much appreciated! Helpful links indeed.

Travel time will be August. As it looks like at the moment, up to 17 days (ca. 1. - 17. Aug).

So I get the feeling that I need to skip some stuff since time is just too short :(

Although it's such a beautiful area and would definitely deserve more time. So I'll now dig into all the information I've got to figure out what are the must and nice-to-have things on my schedule. I'll come back to you when I figured out.

Harare, Zimbabwe
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10. Re: Joburg to Cape Town Road Trip

Good luck with the planning!