I’ve always felt drawn to South Africa. I want to go on a safari, I need to cage dive with great white sharks, I crave the adrenaline rush of a bungee jump, I love to climb mountains, and I live for a beautiful coastline. It seems like the south coast of South Africa can tick all of those boxes and more, making it the ultimate destination for me and my wandering heart.
I’ll be visiting in July, South Africa’s winter, but that means pleasant enough weather (compared to the UK), fewer crowds and off-season prices. As public transport isn’t the most reliable I’ve decided that renting my own car is the way forward. Road trip!
Around About Cars is a rental company located in Cape Town who have quoted me R2626 (£155) for a 10 day rental with standard insurance, from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. It’s reasonably priced (especially split between two people) and gives me the freedom I need.
Here’s the route I have planned:
Hiking the iconic Table Mountain has always been a dream of mine, with many options for hikers of all ability. I’d like to do the Lion’s Head walk, a 2km climb to the top that takes around an hour, and I wouldn’t say no to a trip in the Table Mountain cable car which costs R255 (£15) return.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is a must-see, a breathtakingly beautiful spot surrounded by mountains, entrance is only R60 (£3.50) and they offer free guided walks.
I absolutely need to visit the beaches around Cape Town while I’m there, particularly Camp’s Bay and Hout Bay. White sand and turquoise surf surrounded by mountains is my idea of paradise.
This entire peninsula looks too good to be true with its jagged coastline and amazing wildlife. It’s only a 70km drive from Cape Town to Cape Point, where you can admire the Cape of Good Hope Lighthouse.
I can’t wait to visit Boulders Penguin Colony! For only R70 (£4) you can explore sandy coves home to over 2000 African penguins, it will be amazing to see these little cuties in the wild.
From Simon’s Town, you can take another boat tour to Seal island, R450 (£26), home to a colony of 75,000 Cape Fur Seals with a chance at seeing dolphins, whales and sharks.
The small town of Hermanus is one of the best whale-watching spots in the world. The 12km Cliff Path offers amazing viewpoints where southern right whales can be seen playing as close as 5 meters offshore.
Gansbaai is where you go to cage dive with great white sharks. YASS! This is going to be incredible. It’s R1750 (£103) with Great White Shark Tours which seems 100% worth it for a few hours with the ocean’s deadliest predator.
This is a lovely little town nestled at the foot of the mountains and it seems like a great place to relax. From here it’s a short drive northeast to the Warmwaterberg Spa, where you pay only R50 (£3) to soak in the boiling water from the natural hot springs and enjoy the mountain view.
This town is known for its ostrich farms but the highlight seems to be an incredibly scenic drive along the Swartberg Pass, a must-do with my own rental car!
I’d have to visit the Cango Wildlife Ranch purely for the fact that I could do a crocodile cage dive for only R210 (£12). I missed out on this chance in Australia so I’m lucky I have another opportunity! For the same price, you can even cuddle a cheetah!
It would also be worth a stop at one of the ostrich farms that the town is famous for. It’s R100 (£6) for a guided tour with the opportunity to ride an ostrich… although I’m not sure if that’s something I would do again…
The Knysna Elephant Park will be my first chance to meet an African elephant and I couldn’t be more excited! It seems to take elephant welfare seriously and allows you to walk among them and even ride them bareback for R975 (£58).
To the east is the beautiful Plettenberg Bay, another amazing spot for dolphin, shark and whale watching.
You can have lunch in an American style 50’s diner, Segway through the Tsitsikamma forest or throw yourself off the world’s highest bungee bridge, Bloukrans Bridge, which stands 216m above the valley floor. Jumps are only R950 (£56) so count me in!
This would be my final destination after a visit to Addo Elephant National Park, another chance to see these amazing creatures. Park fees are R248 (£15) per person, per day with the option of staying in the park overnight. You can take a guided tour or self-drive among these gentle giants.
I don’t know about you, but planning a road trip makes me about 16582374% more excited about going, and I know this would be one of the best. Beautiful coastline and some incredible wildlife encounter with sharks, crocodiles, elephants and more. Watch this space!