The most convenient way to travel the 1033 miles (1662 km) between Kruger National Park and the Garden Route is by plane. There is also the option to travel by car although this trip requires two to three days of driving.
Travelers who fly will book a ticket from either Phalaborwa or Skukuza Airport, depending on which is closest, to Johannesburg. You will then get a connecting flight to George which is situated in the Garden Route. Those who drive can expect 17 hours of travel time without stops from both Phalaborwa and Skukuza. A recommended overnight stop, for those driving over two days, is Bloemfontein. Travelers who split the trip over three days can spend one night in Johannesburg and a second night in Graaff-Reinet.
This diverse 14-day itinerary outlines some of the best places to visit in the country including the Garden Route, Kruger National Park, the Drakensberg, and much more.
By Plane and Car
Duration: 4 hours
Travelers will fly to George Airport which is situated on the Garden Route. While there are no direct flights between Skukuza Airport and Phalaborwa Airport, traveling by plane is still the quickest and most convenient option.
You will fly from either Skukuza or Phalaborwa, depending on which airport is closest to you, to Johannesburg. After arriving in Johannesburg, you will catch a second flight to the airport in George. Travelers may have to book flights with different airlines to prevent long layovers in Johannesburg.
After arriving in George, those hoping to explore the Garden Route can either opt for a private transfer or a rental car. This itinerary offers useful tips for travelers visiting the Garden Route by car.
By Private Transfer or Rental Car
Duration: 2-3 days
Traveling by private transfer or rental car will take approximately 17 hours without stops. You will need to split the trip over at least two days although three days might be more ideal.
Aside from getting onto the N4 highway, the route option is fairly similar most of the way from both Phalaborwa and Skukuza. Those leaving via Skukuza will leave on the R536 and drive along the R40 until getting onto the N4 after Nelspruit. You will then travel along the N4, N12, N9, R341, and R62 until arriving at South Cape DC in the Garden Route. Those leaving from the Phalaborwa Gate will travel on the R40, R530, R36, and the R540 before getting onto the N4 after the town Belfast. You will then also travel along the N4, N12, N9, and R62 for the rest of the way.
Depending on where you will be staying, which includes options like Wilderness, George, Sedgefield, Knysna, and more—you may need to factor in some extra time to reach these destinations. For those splitting the journey up over two days, a good overnight stop is in Bloemfontein. Travelers who decide to drive over three days can spend one night in Johannesburg and a second night in Graaff-Reinet.
There is an alternative, more scenic route option, which takes an extra six hours. Instead of driving through Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, travelers can drive through Swaziland and along the coast in KwaZulu-Natal. Good places to visit include Hluhluwe, Saint Lucia, and Port Shepstone. After Port Shepstone, travelers will drive inland along the N6 and N9 highway for the rest of the way.