From bustling Cape Town to secluded St Lucia, you'll see the best that South Africa's Atlantic and Indian coasts have to offer on this 10-day self-drive itinerary. Experience golden beaches in Durban, take in stunning views from atop Table Mountain, and come face to face with hippos and crocodiles in iSimangaliso Wetland Park as you create lasting memories on this South African adventure.


  • Take a cable car ride to the top of the iconic Table Mountain
  • Walk alongside African penguins at Boulders Beach
  • Drive past miles of mountains and vineyards on Route 62
  • Snorkel among mangrove trees in the clear waters of Kosi Bay

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, Explore Table Mountain, Dinner on the V&A Waterfront Cape Town
Day 2 Walk With Penguins at Boulders Beach, GOLD Restaurant Show Cape Town
Day 3 Robben Island & Cape Town Tours, Dinner on Kloof Street Cape Town
Day 4 Drive to Mossel Bay via Route 62 Mossel Bay
Day 5 Visit Botlierskop Game Reserve Mossel Bay
Day 6 Drive to Durban, Afternoon at the Beach Durban
Day 7 Durban City Tour Durban
Day 8 Drive to St Lucia, Hippo & Crocodile Boat Cruise St Lucia
Day 9 Explore Kosi Bay St Lucia
Day 10 Transfer to Durban & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

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

Cable car to Table Mountain
Catch a cable car to Table Mountain

Welcome to South Africa! Your self-drive tour begins in Cape Town, a port city in the southwest corner of the country that serves as its legislative capital. Once you arrive at the airport, you'll pick up your rental car and head to your hotel in town.

Get settled in, then take a trip to the top of Cape Town's iconic Table Mountain via cable car to get a bird's eye view of the city. From 3,500 feet (1,067 m) up, you can take in the cityscape and the Atlantic Ocean beyond, stop at the buffet for a snack, or enjoy your own picnic lunch. Table Mountain is home to the unique ecosystem of fynbos, a type of shrubland unique to the Cape region of South Africa that supports around 8,500 species of plants as well as animals like rock hyrax, lizards, and eagles.

This evening, experience some of the culinary offerings of the V&A Waterfront, one of Cape Town's most popular districts for locals and visitors alike. Established in 1860 on orders by England's Prince Alfred, whose mother was Queen Victoria (hence the "V" and "A"), today the harbor on Cape Town's Atlantic coast is a gastronomic and commercial wonderland filled with world-class restaurants, food markets, bars, boutiques, shopping malls, and even day spas.

Day 2: Walk With Penguins at Boulders Beach, GOLD Restaurant Show

Penguins at Boulders Beach
Penguins at Boulders Beach

Today, take the 40-minute drive to Simon's Town, home to Boulders Beach—perhaps the most famous beach in this part of South Africa. After all, it is one of few places in the world where you can walk with African penguins, an endangered species that only lives on the coasts of South Africa and Namibia. A colony of these penguins lives in the inlets, guarded by granite boulders, and a network of boardwalks brings curious onlookers right up next to the birds.

Later, head back toward the V&A Waterfront for dinner and a show at GOLD Restaurant. Share a 14-dish tasting menu featuring rotating samples of North African, Sub-Saharan, and Southern African dishes. In the meantime, performers showcase a number of authentic pan-African songs and dances, including praise singing, Mali puppetry, marimba percussion, and djembe drumming. 

Day 3: Robben Island & Cape Town Tours, Dinner on Kloof Street

Aerial view of Cape Town during the day, with the stadium in the foreground and Table Mountain visible in the background
Aerial view of Cape Town with Table Mountain in the distance

Tour Robben Island today and learn about the 500-year-old history of the island and its maximum security prison which notably held political prisoner Nelson Mandela for 18 years. You'll see the lime quarry where prisoners worked and the house where political prisoner Robert Sobukwe lived in solitary confinement. Go even farther back in time as you tour old military bunkers, and the cemetery used to bury patients when the island was used as a leper colony in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Later on, take a guided tour of the city, starting near Cape Town Stadium. Head toward Bo-Kaap, once used to house enslaved people, now home to vibrantly painted houses and a thriving Cape Malay culture. Visit Company's Garden, the oldest garden in the country and home to the Iziko Slave Lodge, a museum focused on South African slavery. As you head from Green Market Square to the 17th-century Castle of Good Hope, stop to take in memorials and monuments like the District Six Museum.

Tonight, take your pick of trendy bars and eateries along Kloof Street for dinner. Heading uphill from Long Street toward Higgovale, you'll find no shortage of options along the street, like Bombay Bicycle Club, a cozy restaurant full of quirky decor. Other options include Black Sheep Restaurant, known for its rotating menu and views of Table Mountain, The Dark Horse, with its sustainable, locally-sourced options, or any other place that catches your eye.

Day 4: Drive to Mossel Bay via Route 62

A sign on the left side of the road depicting a jumping antelope with mountains in the background
A sign warning drivers about animal crossings along Route 62
Plan your trip to South Africa
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
It's time to leave the city behind and head down South Africa's famous Route 62 toward Mossel Bay. While your final destination is the harbor town with gorgeous bay views, the journey is just as important. From the road signs warning of antelope crossings to the charming little towns like Barrydale, you can find plenty of reasons to stop along this scenic route.
Enjoy the wide vistas of endless mountain ranges and fertile Karoo plains home to great swaths of grapevines and fruit orchards. The area is gorgeous year-round, with the fruit trees blossoming in spring, fall colors in autumn, and the harvest beginning in January. In fact, the route is claimed to be the longest wine route in the world, with hundreds of miles of fertile land and wine-growing regions, like Worcester, Robertson, and Calitzdorp

Day 5: Visit Botlierskop Game Reserve

Two young female lions hanging out in Botlierskop Game Reserve. One is resting its head on the other's side, while the other grooms her friend
Two young lions in Botlierskop Game Reserve

Switch gears today as you head into Botlierskop Game Reserve, home to over 26 different species of animals and over 200 resident bird species. For a true safari experience, opt for a guided game drive and enjoy close encounters with rhinos, lions, elephants, buffalo, giraffes, rare black impalas, golden wildebeest, mountain zebras, hippos, and more! You can also try your hand at fishing with an experienced guide or take time off on your own and ask your guide to arrange a fishing rod and tackle. Fish species you are likely to catch include blue carp, largemouth bass, and freshwater eels. 

If your idea of relaxation is fresh air and exercise, you can get in a game of tennis at the Botlierskop tennis court, located below Botlierskop Main Lodge. Guests can rent the tennis court for an hour or more, day or night, and rackets and balls are provided. Birdwatchers shouldn't miss a visit to Moordkuil River Dam, where you can take a paddle up Moodkuil River for views of the nearby mountains and a remarkable array of birdlife. Later, you'll drive back to your hotel in Mossel Bay for the evening.

Day 6: Drive to Durban, Afternoon at the Beach

A view of Durban Beach from the water with a wave rolling past the viewer
Durban's cityscape from the water

This morning, drive from Mossel Bay to nearby George Airport, drop off your car, and hop on a flight to the city of Durban. Located on the coast of eastern South Africa, Durban is known for its amazing beaches and Afro-Indian culture. Upon arrival, you'll grab your rental car and get checked in at your hotel, after which the rest of your day is free.

Head to the Golden Mile for several sandy beaches and a newly restored promenade. Take a dip in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, take a long walk in the sun, or stop in one of the many sidewalk cafés to have a drink and watch passersby and surfers.

Day 7: Durban City Tour

Durban City Tour
Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium,
Take a deeper dive into Durban's multicultural history on a city tour. Starting at the Golden Mile, you'll visit the gorgeous Durban Botanic Gardens, the Moses Mabhida Stadium, one of the host stadiums of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and uShaka Marine World. Along the way, learn about the Indigenous Zulu people, Indian immigrant community, and colonizers who shaped the history and culture of this city, the third most populous in South Africa.

Day 8: Drive to St Lucia, Hippo & Crocodile Boat Cruise

Aerial view of cape hippopotamus family resting on a shore of St Lucia Estuary within iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa
A cape hippopotamus family rests on the shore of the estuary

Get back on the road today and make the two-hour drive up the coast to St Lucia, located in the UNESCO-listed iSimangaliso Wetland Park. On your first day at the park's 136 miles (220 km) of coastline and beaches, take a guided tour through the St Lucia Estuary. Aboard a double-decker ferry, you will learn about the park's extraordinary ecosystem and the animals that call it home, including hippos and crocodiles that you may see from on deck.

Afterward, you can see more of what the park has to offer, with a self-driving safari along the park's western shores for views of more wildlife such as elephants and zebras, or visit to Ingwe Beach, where you can walk for miles along the peaceful shoreline. 

Day 9: Explore Kosi Bay

Clear water at the shore of the mouth of Kosi Bay with a green island in the background
Clear water laps the shores of Kosi Bay
This morning's adventure in iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a full-day cruise across Kosi Bay, a quiet area of the park made up of four interlocking lakes. Spend some time snorkeling in the crystal clear water that earned the Kosi River Mouth the nickname "the aquarium," keeping an eye out for fish among the mangrove roots. Enjoy lunch along the shore and observe hippos, traditional Tsonga fish traps, and wild birds. 

Day 10: Drive to Durban & Depart

Durban golden mile beach with white sand and skyline KZN South Africa at sunset
A beach in Durban set against an orange sky

After several days of exploring the coast of South Africa, it's time to say goodbye. Drive in your rental car from St Lucia to the Durban International Airport. From here, you can connect to your international departure flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Self-Drive Tour of South Africa's Coast: Cape Town, Mossel Bay, Durban & St Lucia - 10 Days
Map of Self-Drive Tour of South Africa's Coast: Cape Town, Mossel Bay, Durban & St Lucia - 10 Days