This is a customisable itinerary to provide you with a start point and suggestions for your travel plans. We’ll work closely with you and our travel partner to design your ideal trip, paying close attention to your interests, your travel style and your budget. Our partner’s specialists know the country inside out and can lead you to experiences you won’t find in a guidebook.
Day 1 International outbound flight
Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Cape Town.
Day 2 Cape Town
Upon your arrival at Cape Town International Airport, you will be met by your driver for the half hour private transfer to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, you may wish to start exploring the city. We recommend paying a visit to the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens during your stay, where you can stroll through the region's varied native flora, from fynbos heather to proteas, the country's national flower.
Day 3 Cape Town
Spend today exploring Cape Town, starting with a private guided hike up Table Mountain for some excellent views over the city and the ocean beyond. There are several routes up the mountain of varying difficulty, and your guide will be able to choose the one best-suited to you. In the afternoon, enjoy a private tour exploring the historic heart of the city on foot and learning about South Africa’s dramatic apartheid history.
Day 4 Cape Town
Your fully insured hire car is dropped at your hotel this morning as you embark on a full-day drive around the Cape Peninsula. The route down to Cape Point takes in the Chapman's Peak drive, pretty coastal villages and several untouched beaches. A stop at Boulders Beach is highly recommended to see the colony of African, or jackass, penguins; watching them glide effortlessly through the surf is a sight to behold. We also recommend visiting the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, which makes up much of the Cape Floral Kingdom with its varied vegetation. Look out for antelope, baboons and African black oystercatchers on the shoreline.
Day 5 Franschhoek
Leave Cape Town and drive for an hour to the pretty town of Franschhoek in the Winelands. After checking in to your hotel, you can explore the town and its countryside surroundings on foot or by bicycle. In the heart of the town are numerous upmarket shops, restaurants and cafés — we suggest leaving your car and strolling the streets, browsing the shops and stopping for something to eat.
Day 6 Franschhoek
You have the whole day to explore the Winelands. Start in Stellenbosch with a half day guided walking tour of the town and a chance to taste a range of local produce. As well as snacks and wine, you will enjoy a filling lunch which includes Bobotie — a traditional South African dish. Afterwards you can visit a number of local farms and vineyards in the area. One of our favourites is Babylonstoren where you can spend an hour or two strolling in the gardens. Alternatively, we can arrange for a private guide to help you find wines and wineries to your taste.
Day 7 Swellendam
The two and a half hour drive to Swellendam passes through craggy, mountainous scenery along traffic-free roads. The town itself is halfway between Cape Town and the Garden Route and sits in the shadow of the Overberg Mountains. The historic area of Swellendam contains some fine examples of Cape Dutch architecture along with art shops and restaurants, making it a pleasant place to explore. We also suggest visiting De Hoop Nature Reserve and Marine Protected Area, which is home to a wide range of wildlife and marine life, including dolphins, seals, whales (seasonal), zebra, eland and many bird species.
Day 8 Plettenberg Bay
Plettenberg Bay is around a four-hour drive along the scenic Route 62, at the eastern end of the Garden Route. The drive has many places to stop en route. We suggest calling into Oudtshoorn to visit an ostrich farm or try an ostrich steak for lunch. You arrive in Plett in the late afternoon. Ideally placed for access to the Garden Route's many activities and attractions, the town's known for its beautiful white-sand coastline, and a relaxing stroll on the beach is a lovely way to wind down after a busy day of driving or sightseeing.
Day 9 Plettenberg Bay
Today we recommend that you visit the Tsitsikamma Forest, a 45-minute drive from Plettenberg Bay. En route, you'll cross several precipitous canyons, with ocean-bound rivers far below — if you've a head for heights you'll be able to get some spectacular photographs. At Tsitsikamma Forest there are a number of walking trails to follow among the trees, which contrast with the crashing waves. The best-known lookout point is the suspension bridge where the Storms River meets the ocean.
Day 10 Plettenberg Bay
Your morning adventure leaves Plettenberg Bay with an exciting beach launch and heads east past the bird sanctuary. Here you might encounter dolphins, as well as sharks. During whale watching season (June-November) there is a chance to see a variety of whale species. Cruising back along the inside of Robberg Peninsula, you can observe the noisy Cape Fur Seal Colony before heading back toward Plettenberg Bay.
Day 11 Addo Elephant National Park
From staying by the ocean, in under four hours' drive you can be on safari in the game reserves of the Eastern Cape. Your accommodation is close to the Addo Elephant National Park, where you can either embark on a self-drive safari or join a guided game drive with an experienced ranger. Your ranger can help point out the park's wildlife, which includes the Big Five (elephant, lion, buffalo, black rhino and leopard) as well as hippo, warthogs, eland, kudu and bushbuck.
Day 12 Addo Elephant National Park
Spend the day on safari in the park, either self-driving or on a guided trip. Look out for elephant frolicking in the waterholes and lion lazing in the shade. If you're with a ranger, you can gain pointers on the best spots to find wildlife and have your hands free for taking photographs. However, self-driving gives you more flexibility in how long you spend in each area, how often you stop and which species you concentrate on.
Day 13 Addo Elephant National Park
You have the chance to explore the park further today, and with an early start you can get to some of the more remote sections of the park, such as the rocky Zuurberg range and the Darlington Dam. You can try ticking off the smaller species on your list or search for any of the Big Five you've yet to see.
Day 14 International return flight
Drive the hour and a half to Port Elizabeth to catch your onward flight to Johannesburg and then your international flights to make your way back home.
Day 15 International return flight
Arrive home today to complete your journey.
Highlights of South Africa self-drive tour
- Hike up to the summit of Table Mountain for sweeping views over the city and ocean.
- Learn about Cape Town’s chequered history on a private guided walking tour.
- Indulge in wine tasting at some of the award-winning estates in the Winelands region and go on a walking tour of the historical town of Stellenbosch.
- Take relaxing strolls along Plettenberg Bay’s golden sands and enjoy whale and dolphin spotting.
- Spot the Big Five and other wildlife species on safari in Addo Elephant National Park.