See South Africa in your own way when you take a self-drive vacation through this stunningly beautiful country. Drive a route carefully curated just for you that takes you through South Africa’s cultural riches, to its vineyards and remote villages, to its top dining destinations and state-of-the-art museums, to its plains rich with Big 5 wildlife and its shores populated by penguins. Use this example of the perfect South Africa self-drive getaway as inspiration for your own travels. 

South Africa by Car - The Southern Coast 

The southern coast of South Africa does, truly, almost have it all. There’s cosmopolitan Cape Town with all its cultural melting pot vibe, great dining and entertainment - not to mention the incredible backdrop of Table Mountain. There are the vintages of the Winelands and the scenic vistas of the Garden Route. Wrap it all up in a tidy bow - an epic safari. From penguins to whales, lions to zebras, there’s wildlife at every turn. With incredible natural beauty, rich diversity and the promise of adventure, a South Africa road trip will be one of your most memorable trips. 

Cape Town

Photo by Thomas Bennie on Unsplash   

Start your road trip in Cape Town, spending a few relaxing days here enjoying the splendid food and wine and visiting museums. We can arrange for you to then pick up your rental car at the airport or have it delivered to your hotel. Before leaving town, take the time for a scenic drive through the coastal suburbs of Camps Bay and Clifron and to Cape Peninsula National Park where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. Frolic with the baboons and Cape antelope and glimpse black oystercatchers and Cape cormorant - and, of course, the lively penguins of Boulders Beach.

The Winelands

Photo by Shawn Lochner on Unsplash   

Move on to the Winelands, about 90 minutes away from Cape Town. The lush hills and valleys undulate around you, many draped in vineyards. Spend a couple of nights in the area - we can arrange for wonderful accommodations in luxurious, intimate inns - to fully appreciate the wining and dining options. To get about the vineyards - and for freedom to indulge in tastings - you may use the historic wine tram or use a private driver/guide to get about. 

From the Winelands, there are two ways to get to the Garden Route. The quickest route is along the highway to Swellendam - but you won’t get ocean views. Instead, the R62 to Oudtshoorn, while longer, boasts incredible vistas and mountains. Get a glimpse at rural South African life as you pass through small historic villages - be sure to stop for local coffee and to browse the antiques shops. 

The Garden Route

Photo by Martijn Vermeltfoort on Unsplash   

From Oudtshoorn, drive south to George, where you’ll join up with the Garden Route. Notice the indigenous fynbos flora as you drive (low-lying bushes and heathers) - it grows only in this stretch of coastline between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Springtime is the best time to view it. Build in time around Plettenberg Bay, where you can swim at pristine beaches and, hopefully, see a pod of dolphins. Cozy up to more marine wildlife at Robberg Beach, home to thousands of seals.

Go on Safari

Photo by Susan Tuckey, Penguins2PolarBears - January 2016

Perhaps the best capper on a self-drive South Africa holiday is the iconic safari. Choose Addo Elephant National Park or a private game reserve, such as Kwandwe, Amakhala, Shamwari or Kariega. At Addo, you can drive on your own in search of wildlife. We can also arrange for guided tours into the mountains or to local communities. Another option: a luxury safari lodge in a private game reserve, where you’ll likely see the Big 5. 

When Should I Take a Self-Drive Vacation in South Africa?

This particular example route is pleasant year-round. The weather is at its best from January to March, but the prettiest time to visit may be September (spring in South Africa), when the weather is a little cooler and the flowers are blooming. For whales and other marine life, visit in October and November. For fewer visitors and better deals, consider winter, from June to August. 

What Should I Know About Driving in South Africa?

South Africa seems tailor made for a self-drive vacation. The road network is well developed and high quality. The traffic is relatively light. Four-wheel-drive isn’t necessary unless you prefer it. When we arrange your self-drive itinerary, we’ll include all maps and directions - and a GPS unit if you want it - so you won’t have to worry about how to get there, instead focusing on how much you’re looking forward to it! We can also help navigate any driver’s license requirements, rental car, accommodation, private tours, dining reservations and more - whatever you can dream up, we can make happen. 

Remember, this itinerary is just the beginning and a hint at what is possible for a self-drive vacation in South Africa. The options are endless, so get inspired, then let’s chat so we can create a trip centered around your interests and travel style.  Request a consultation here or sign up for my weekly newsletter below.