South Africa is a huge country with so many beauties to visit. If you want to discover wildlife during a safari in Kruger Park or Hluhluwe, lose hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains, or discover the beautiful landscapes of Kwazulu Natal or the Western Cape, I give you several recommendations of itineraries to visit South Africa in 2 weeks or three weeks. This first article gives you a first itinerary including all the great classics of South Africa.
To allow you to find yourself there, I will offer you 3 different routes with the must-see, but also my favorites off the beaten track.
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Plan de l'article
- Rent a car in South Africa: a must have!
- 1st route: 15 days to discover the basics of South Africa
- Day 1: Johannesburg
- Day 2 — 3: Blyde River Canyon
- Days 4 — 5 — 6: Kruger Park Tour
- Day 7: Nelspruit/Cape Town
- Day 8 — 9: Cape Town
- Day 11 — 12 — 13: Stellenbosch the region of vineyards
- Day 14 — 15: Cape Town — end of stay
Rent a car in South Africa: a must have!
Before we start, suppose that a car will be indispensable (the international permit is preferable but I have never had problems during road checks with the “normal” permit). The easiest way is to take it when you arrive at if you decide to leave from Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban (which will be the 3 starting points I propose for each of the routes).
Prices are more affordable only for a rental in France. Count around 150 euros for a week’s rental for a city car or a Toyota Corolla. If you want to switch to the higher range of vehicles, necessarily the rates are not the same. An SUV or a Jeep is clearly not essential, even to visit one of the national parks alone!
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I tried that these 3 routes to visit South Africa are different so you can then make your own choice. Remember that distances are important and that the purpose of a trip is not to think about your time in your car 😉
1st route: 15 days to discover the basics of South Africa
The first itinerary is the one I had the opportunity to make during my first trip to South Africa in 2014. I tell you the itinerary day after day:
Here is a few previous articles about my first trip to South Africa:
- Boutique Hotel: The 52 of Wet in Capetown
- Dream Pool Hotels in South Africa
- Wildlife in South Africa
- To live happily, live hidden in Camps Bay Retreat (Capetown)
Day 1: Johannesburg
If you choose to arrive in Johannesburg, after a long trip from France, you can’t wait to reach your hotel to rest. We will not lie: Johannesburg is a dangerous city (in some neighborhoods it is better to avoid traffic) where there are few “tourist” activities. Of course, the district of Soweto is worth stopping here for the historical side, but the interest remains weak.
The ideal is therefore to quickly leave the main city and the economic heart of South Africa to escape the nature.
Day 2 — 3: Blyde River Canyon
Nature lovers, your stay really starts here. On the road (count almost 500km from Johannesburg anyway — and yes South Africa is about twice as large as France — not much to report, I still advise you here not necessarily waste time stopping.
For those who prefer, you can take a first domestic flight to Hoedspruit Airport. Personally, I recommend you prefer the car, you immediately dive into South Africa, its landscapes, its inhabitants by the roadside.
The Blyde River Canyonis only a few kilometers from the small town of Dullstrom where you can find cheap accommodation or Graskop (about 40 minutes). On the road, I also advise you to stop to visit the nests from Bourke’s hen.Bourke’s potholes form an amazing and colorful geological curiosity. Cliffs range from orange to yellow and gray and fall into turquoise water — depending on the weather and season —. You can observe these large “pots” from the top thanks to the aisles.
To visit the Blyde River canyon, I recommend the following hiking route: theLeopard Trail . Take a 4h walk in the park with the wonderful scenery and swim in the waterfalls. Think of hiking shoes rather than simple sneakers and the minimum supply of water and food.
Days 4 — 5 — 6: Kruger Park Tour
On the roads of Kruger Park in South Africa It takes at least 2 nights to enjoy the visit of Kruger Park. If your budget allows you, I advise you to prefer private reserves and visit a ranger.
You will learn a lot about animals, enjoy awakening at dawn (4h30) to see animals and nature at sunrise, as well as a second round of play in the evening. A formula with two nights in a private reserve allows you to make 4 sets of readers of 3 or 4 hours each and really have time to see all the animals.
My choice for Kruger Park was the Kapama Game Reserve. If you want to visit the huge Kruger Park on your own, I suggest you prefer accommodation inside the park, which will allow you to feel nature and wildlife as close as possible. Many forums or blogs will direct you to the routes to follow or the best accommodations.
Day 7: Nelspruit/Cape Town
For a first glimpse of South Africa, and for this first route, you can travel to Nelspruit for a domestic flight to the Western Cape and Cape Town. If you have rented your car in Johannesburg, you will have a small surcharge (about 50 euros) in case you are traveling from another airport. However, this solution remains the fastest and will save you from having to travel 500 km to return to Johannesburg.
Day 8 — 9: Cape Town
As soon as you arrive in Cape Town by plane, the different landscapes we admire through the porthole plunge us into a very different atmosphere. The mountain and the ocean mix in beautiful light as long as you arrive at the end of the day. Cape Town is not only a popular city for nature lovers, surfing and other sliding sports; it is also one of the Favorite cities of photographers and other advertisers, Cape Town enjoys one of the most beautiful natural lights in the world.
For your second part of your stay, you are spoilt for choice. In this first itinerary, I recommend staying at least 2 nights in Cape Town to enjoy the charm of the city and its colorful neighborhoods like Bo-Kaap .
At the accommodation level, it would be a shame not to enjoy a magnificent view of the ocean. Like other cities, Cape Town is full of hotels and impersonal rooms. Choosing hotels or villas in Camps Bay or Bantry Bay, the chic and rich neighbourhoods of the city or Green Point, you will have a complete and enjoyable experience outside the city centre. Don’t worry about not booking in advance, Cape Town offers plenty of accommodation and apartments for rent. Booking at the last minute often allows you to benefit from exclusive offers! A 100m apartment with stunning ocean views less than 100 euros is widely found, depending on the season you go to Cape Town!
Hiking to the Table Moutain or the Head of Lion
For hiking enthusiasts, between Signal Hill, Lon’s Heador Table Mountain , there are plenty of hikes. The most beautiful but also the most difficult is undoubtedly hiking through the gorges of Platteklip. If you are told on the Internet at least 3 hours of hiking, rather, count 2 hours actually if you are healthy and sporty enough. You will then have the leisure, arriving at the Table Mountain, to enjoy a magnificent panorama of the city and the ocean, discover the flora and maybe meet monkeys. To descend, the cable car that offers a short descent will offer you a well-deserved rest.
Don’t miss paragliding flights that depart from Signal Hill and landing lower in the city at Green Point.
View of Cape Town from Signal Hill At the city level, you can of course walk through the main streets of the city centre, but it will be above all by the sea that you can enjoy the city’s charms to the fullest. You can stroll along the coast, such as Mouille Point and head to Bantry Bay.
The Port District (Victoria and Alfred Waterfront) is another must-have for shopping, a few bars and a wonderful view of Table Moutain. The historic visit to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela has been imprisoned for more than 20 years is undoubtedly another must-see visit that I don’t have made personally.
Visit to the Cape of Good Hope
You can also plan a day to discover the tip of the continent: the Cape of Good Hope. To get there, don’t miss the beautiful Chapman’s Peak Road, stop seeing the penguins at Boulder’s Beach before arriving at the Cape of Good Hope.
South Africa’s landscapes: choose the right itinerary! Personally, I was disappointed by the Cap of Good Hope since you will see many more beautiful landscapes during your stay and the cost of entering the park (more than 20 euros per person of memory) is important.
Boulder’s Beach idem: the best photos you will see have undoubtedly been taken and the large influx of tourists on the aisles to watch penguins is not one of the experiences that I love on vacation.
Day 11 — 12 — 13: Stellenbosch the region of vineyards
About 60 kilometres from Cape Town, you will discover South Africa’s main wine region: Stellensbosch. Stay amidst the vineyards, wine tasting, golf courses or other hikes can enamel your program. I recommend stopping in the small town of Franschhoek and there enjoy its gastronomy and hiking in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve Park.
Depending on your accommodation, you can also enjoy mountain bike rides among the vineyards or gourmet restaurants that are also the reputation of the region.
Day 14 — 15: Cape Town — end of stay
To return to Cape Town, be sure to go through one of the most beautiful roads of the country by following the following route from Franschhoek
An itinerary to visit South Africa that will take you through beautiful landscapes
- Take the R45 road south
- At the lake level, cross the bridge following the R321
- Continue to Grabouw then Strand
- Follow the coastal road and enjoy the views of the deserted white sand beaches
- Continue the road to the charming cities of Muizenberg and Saint James
- To return to Cape Town, take the mythical M6 road that will take you through Chapman’s Peak Road, undoubtedly the most beautiful road in the country
The second recommended route, which will give the Kwazulu Natal and the Drakensberg Mountains, arrives very quickly!