Spend 13 days in South Africa enjoying the highlights of Cape Town, plus a jaunt through wine country and down to the Cape of Good Hope. You'll then embark on an epic road trip along the Garden Route, one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world. Stop in national parks, visit charming towns, hit the waves in surf towns—you'll even have time to search for the "Big Five" on multiple safari game drives.

Highlights

  • Experience the best of Cape Town, from wine tastings to shark-cage tours
  • Travel to the Cape of Good Hope and enjoy traditional African cuisine
  • Hit the road along Route 62 and the stunning Garden Route
  • Go on safari game drives in national parks to see African elephants in the wild

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, Dinner on the V&A Waterfront Cape Town
Day 2 Cape Peninsula Day Trip Cape Town
Day 3 Cape Town Guided City Tour, Traditional African Dinner Cape Town
Day 4 Winelands Tour & Tasting Cape Town
Day 5 Drive to Hermanus, Shark Cage Diving Hermanus
Day 6 Drive Route 62 to Oudtshoorn, Boplaas Wine Tasting, Visit Cango Caves Oudtshoorn
Day 7 Buffelsdrift Bush Drive, Ostrich Farm Tour Oudtshoorn
Day 8 Drive to Sedgefield: Monkeyland, Birds of Eden, & Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary Sedgefield
Day 9 Drive to Jeffreys Bay via Tsitsikamma National Park Jeffreys Bay
Day 10 Free Day in Jeffreys Bay Jeffreys Bay
Day 11 Drive to Addo, Half-Day Addo Elephant National Park Safari Addo
Day 12 Full-Day Addo Elephant National Park Safari Addo
Day 13 Drive to Port Elizabeth & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town, Dinner on the V&A Waterfront

Enjoy the views from atop Table Mountain
Enjoy the views from atop Table Mountain
Welcome to South Africa! Upon arrival at the airport in Cape Town, a driver will transfer you to your hotel. If you have the energy after settling in, head out to get your bearings in the city. You could start with a visit to the colorful neighborhood of Bo-Kaap or catch the 40-minute ferry to Robben Island to tour the infamous prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years behind bars. For the best vantage point around, hop on the aerial cableway to the summit of Table Mountain to marvel at breathtaking views of the city 3,563 feet (1,086 m) below.

In the evening, you'll head over to the V&A Waterfront. This scenic harbor is a gastronomic and commercial wonderland filled with world-class restaurants, food markets, bars, boutiques, shopping malls, and even day spas. Enjoy dinner here with options ranging from traditional South African cuisine and Asian fusion to sushi and fine dining. 

Day 2: Cape Peninsula Day Trip

Views across the Cape of Good Hope

Set out this morning on the ultimate day trip from Cape Town. After picking you up at your hotel, you and your guide will head south through the historic wine region of Constantia and over the Ou Kaapse Weg mountain pass to the coastal suburb of Noordhoek. This is a great place to stop for coffee and snap photos of the long coastline and wide beaches.

Continue south to the Cape Point Nature Reserve, where you'll stop at the Cape of Good Hope. Here, you can hike up to the iconic lighthouse and enjoy views over the headland to both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Then, visit the fishing village of Simon's Town, which is home to a colony of African penguins. Stroll alongside these flightless birds before enjoying lunch at a local seafood restaurant.
 
Afterward, you'll begin the journey back, following the scenic Cape Town Riviera coastal route along the mountains of Chapman's Peak. As you drive, you'll pass Blue Flag beaches such as Llandudno and Camps Bay, with one final stop at rocky Maiden's Cove before arriving back in Cape Town.

Day 3: Cape Town Guided City Tour, Traditional African Dinner

 Cape Town's Castle of Good Hope
See more of Cape Town today with a half-day guided tour of the city. Explore its historic landmarks as you learn about South Africa's history and the people who shaped it. Stops along the way include Company's Garden, the Houses of Parliament, the 17th-century Castle of Good Hope, and the Iziko Slave Lodge. You'll also visit historic Green Market Square, which once served as a slave market but these days hosts a popular flea market.

Later, sit down for a traditional African dining experience in which you'll enjoy a 14-dish tasting menu that spans the continent. But the food is only part of the experience. Each night on the restaurant's stage, African musicians and dancers perform for the guests. This is particularly fun for children—in addition to learning how to perform basic beats on a djembe (a type of traditional drum), they can hop on stage and dance along with the performers. They'll even get to enjoy traditional Mali puppetry. 

Day 4: Winelands Tour & Tasting

Cape Winelands
Vineyards of the Cape Winelands
Embark on one of the most popular experiences in the region today with a tasting tour through the Cape Winelands. This part of the Western Cape of South Africa is home to more than 500 wineries, and today you'll get to visit several of the best. A bonus is that Cape Town's wine country is incredibly beautiful, so the drives between each estate will be scenic and unforgettable experiences in their own right. 

The guide will pick you up in the morning, and then it will be up to you which of the six viticulture regions of Cape Winelands you'd like to visit (of course, there will be recommendations according to your specific tastes). At each estate, you'll taste incredible cabernets, syrahs, and other varietals and pair them with delicious tidbits like homemade goat cheese and artisanal chocolates. You'll return to Cape Town in the late afternoon. 

Day 5: Drive to Hermanus, Shark Cage Diving

Make new friends on today's shark diving adventure
After enjoying a leisurely morning in Cape Town, check out of your hotel, pick up your rental car, and drive a couple of hours southeast to the tranquil seaside town of Hermanus. After checking in to your new accommodation, embark on a half-day wildlife adventure that is not for the faint of heart. It involves entering the natural habitat of one of the ocean's most famous apex predators: the great white shark.
 
Start by meeting the other tour members at the Great White House in the southern coastal settlement of Kleinbaai, where you'll receive your wetsuit and a safety briefing. Then, board the boat that will take you out to Dyer Island, where great-white sharks congregate, and the cage dive takes place. Here, you'll anchor for two hours, during which time you'll take turns in the cage for an experience of being eye to eye with one of the ocean's most fearsome animals. 

Day 6: Drive Route 62 to Oudtshoorn, Boplaas Wine Tasting, Visit Cango Caves

Route 62
Set off down South Africa's famous Route 62
South Africa's most famous country road—Route 62—offers surprises around every bend. Today, you'll embark on a journey down this scenic highway to the town of Oudtshoorn, located in the valley of Klein Karoo. As you drive, enjoy the expansive vistas of broad mountain ranges and fertile plains, home to grapevines and fruit orchards. 
 
Your first official stop is at Boplaas, a family-run winery founded in 1880. On a tour and tasting, you'll learn about the production process as you sample bottles of hand-crafted, award-winning wines and Cape Ruby port. Try the Cape Tawny Vinter's Port, the Boplaas Postill Reserve 12-Year Brandy, and Boplaas Heritage White Muscatel. These picked up gold medals at South Africa's famous Veritas Awards wine competition.

The last scheduled stop you'll make is at the Cango Caves, a natural landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you'll enter a magical limestone labyrinth stretching around 2.5 miles (4 km). These underground systems are also a cultural landmark, as ancient cave art indicates habitation during the early Stone Age. More recently, the caves were used by the Khoikhoi Indigenous people, and samples of their early paintings can still be seen on the walls today.  

Day 7: Buffelsdrift Bush Drive, Ostrich Farm Tour

Ostriches with the Swartberg Mountains in the distance
This morning, you'll meet your guide and head out on a two-hour 4WD safari through Bufflesdrift, a game reserve in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. Though you won't find much in the way of big cats here, you'll still spot a remarkable variety of wildlife, like elephants, zebras, giraffes, hippos, and possibly even a rhino. 

After the bush drive, enjoy an even more unique wildlife experience when you embark on the only tractor safari on an ostrich farm in South Africa. This tour takes place on a working farm that is the sole place to see Zimbabwean, Kenyan, and South African ostriches in one place. Your expert guides will explain the natural breeding cycle of these animals, and a major highlight is a visit to the incubator room to see ostrich hatchlings.

Day 8: Drive to Sedgefield: Monkeyland, Birds of Eden, & Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary

See rescued big cats at Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary
See rescued big cats at Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary
Leave Oudtshoorn this morning and drive 1.5 hours south to the charming seaside village of Sedgefield. This marks your entry to the Garden Route, the famous 186-mile (300 km) stretch of South African coastline that runs from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape region and abounds in natural beauty. On this route, you'll pass through coastal mountains, native rainforests, lagoons, beaches, coves, and much more.

Today, though, you'll be focusing on the wildlife in the area. First, you'll visit Monkeyland, a multi-species primate sanctuary. After spending time with the primate residents, you'll make your way to Birds of Eden. This reserve is home to a 5-acre (2 ha) dome that functions as a free-flight aviary and currently houses over 3,500 birds from over 220 species.

Last on the itinerary is Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary. The mission here is to operate as a sustainable wildlife sanctuary and spread awareness about the plight of big cats in captivity worldwide. Various rescued cats call Jukani home, including lions, leopards, and Bengal tigers.

Day 9: Drive to Jeffreys Bay via Tsitsikamma National Park

Bloukrans Bridge, home to the world's highest bungee jump
Get ready for some outdoor adventure this morning when you hit the road east to the surf town of Jeffreys Bay. The drive takes about 2.5 hours, and you'll be stopping along the way for nature excursions in Tsitsikamma National Park. This stunning protected area on the Garden Route stretches for about 50 miles (80 km) and is famous for its forests, beaches, and rivers. There are all kinds of exciting activities to keep you busy here that are great for the whole family.

For stunning views, head to the Bloukrans Bridge. This incredible concrete archway rises 708 feet (216 m) over the Bloukrans River and offers great views. The bridge is also home to the largest commercial bungee jump in the world, as it covers the full 709-foot (216 m) distance to the river below. If you're brave enough, feel free to give it a try!
 
Another option is a zip line ride over a gushing river gorge in the Tsitsikamma forest. Or you can jog across the 252-foot (77 m) suspension bridge that runs across the mouth of Storms River. When the fun is over, continue driving to Jeffreys Bay. Your arrival here in South Africa's most famous surf town marks the official end of the spectacular Garden Route. After checking in to your hotel, you can head out and enjoy some beach time.

Day 10: Free Day in Jeffreys Bay

Dive into the surf at Jeffreys Bay

Today is yours to enjoy Jeffreys Bay like a local, which means hitting the waves. There's no shortage of boards for rent, and many experts offer lessons for all skill levels. Or, if you want to hang ten but aren't a fan of the ocean, sandboarding might be the activity for you. There are dunes you can carve a mere five minutes from the town center. Another great option is a guided horseback ride that will take you along the beach and around the inland coastal areas.

Day 11: Drive to Addo, Half-Day Addo Elephant National Park Safari

Elephants at a watering hole in Addo National Park
Elephants at a watering hole in Addo National Park
Wake before dawn and transfer to Addo Elephant National Park for a half-day safari game drive. This is the third-largest national park in South Africa and, as the name suggests, one of the best places to see African elephants in the country. The park was founded in 1931 to protect the last 11 elephants in the area. Their numbers have since rebounded, and today hundreds continue to thrive in this protected area. Upon arrival, meet your expert guide, hop in a 4WD vehicle, and begin the safari. 

While animal sightings can never be guaranteed, you'll almost certainly spot some of the hundreds of African elephants in this park. You'll also see plenty of antelope, zebras, warthogs, Cape buffalo, and more. And while spotting big cats here is rare, you might get lucky and catch a glimpse of the elusive rhino or shy leopard. Afterward, head to your accommodation in Addo, where you'll overnight.

Day 12: Full-Day Addo Elephant National Park Safari

Spot other animals like meerkats on today's safari
Head back out on a full-day safari in Addo, where you'll have the chance to glimpse some of the animals you might have missed yesterday. Addo is home to the coveted Big Five of African game (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo,) and you're likely to spot at least one or two of them on today's drive.
 
That said, exploring an ecosystem like Addo is an experience that never gets old, regardless of which species are out and about. From diverse birdlife to mobs of curious meerkats, you'll find a flurry of animal life everywhere you look and will maximize your chances by visiting watering holes where exotic wildlife tends to congregate. 

Day 13: Drive to Port Elizabeth & Depart

Sunset over Port Elizabeth

It's time to say goodbye to South Africa. At the appropriate time, you'll drive to the airport in Port Elizabeth, drop off your rental car, and catch your flight home. Until next time!

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Map

Map of Scenic South Africa Road Trip: Cape Town & Garden Route - 13 Days
Map of Scenic South Africa Road Trip: Cape Town & Garden Route - 13 Days