Our choice to go travelling South Africa was to knock it off both of our bucket lists. Sometimes when travelling as a couple, both of your dream destinations line up. This was the case with South Africa. Natalie and I both had always wanted to visit the country, experience the culture, and indulge in safaris.
When planning a 13 day journey through the country, it is quickly understood that you wont get to see all of the major attractions that it has to offer. Number one on our list was to visit Cape Town for at least a few days. The next was to embark on a wicked safari adventure. Unfortunately, South Africa’s number one rated National Park for safaris, Kruger National Park, happens to be on the other side of the country.
Could we get from Cape Town to Kruger National Park during our road trip? We could cut through the middle of the country and visit Johannesburg on the way up to the park. But, we would be missing so much the country had to offer us on the eastern coast. After some more research and discussing it over with friends who had visited South Africa (turns out Johannesburg is not the safest city to travel in), we decided that the best way to make the most of our time would be to travel up the east coast.
Thus began the planning portion of the trip.
Travelling South Africa and Planning Our Itinerary
How many hours can you drive in a day? That is where I started. Simple Google searches to find towns within three or four hours of one another that had some exciting things to do while we were there.
Day 1, 2, and 3: Cape Town
We made a list of things to do including hiking Table Mountain, visit a winery, travel to Cape Point, see the penguins at Boulder’s Beach, enjoy the night life, and view the waterfront.
What was the next town we could think to visit that would be a three to four hour drive?
Day 4: Outdshoorn
This city is known for the Ostrich Farms. Therefore, it only made sense we visit one while we were there, as well as maybe a cave viewing and the Cango Wildlife Ranch just in case we missed any animals during our safaris.
Our ambitious ideas of seeing all three things in Outdshoorn on day four were destroyed when we arrived slightly after dinner. That was all right though! We pushed them off until day five morning!
Day 5 and 6: Port Elizabeth
As long as we made it there before night, we could check in and relax until our safari the next day at Addo Elephant Park. We just made it.
Following our time in Port Elizabeth, we were left with a decision. Do we risk a long drive (twice the usual amount) or stop somewhere along the way for the night, despite there being nothing in that particular town that struck us as something we wanted to do. It was an easy decision given our short time period in the country and wanting to make the most out of every day.
Day 7, 8, and 9: Bulungula Lodge near Coffee Bay
Definitely our most ambitious driving day, a nine hour drive from Port Elizabeth to Bulungula Lodge where we enjoyed living with the local village for three days.
Leaving Bulungula Lodge, we embarked on yet another long drive for the final stint of our trip through South Africa.
Day 10: Drive to Durban
Eight hours after leaving Bulungula, we arrived in Durban just before nightfall. With nothing on our list for Durban, we knew we wanted to continue up the coast the following day.
Where to next after Durban? Well we were nearing the end of a long road trip, so some relaxing beaches were really calling us.
Day 11 and 12: Richard’s Bay
We arrived in this city to a beautiful Airbnb and relaxed during the day. The following day, we went out on a whim to see the hippos at St. Lucia.
Day 13: Leaving Day
Our thirteen day road trip came to an abrupt end. That afternoon we made our way back to Durban and onto a plane to our next destination.
Travelling South Africa is a joy to your senses. The beauty of the landscape, wildlife, and people was overwhelming at times. Our road trip went along near perfectly in our small Volkswagen. There is no other way I would travel the country than at my own speed, doing my own speed, on the roads of South Africa.
We hope this summary of our itinerary we shared helps find you well when planning your journey through South Africa. There are so many variations you could include when given a couple weeks in this country. We just found the cities and places that worked well with our travel styles and added it to our itinerary.
We used the To the Nations Worldwide travel map to plan our journey through the country. Be sure to do the same by creating an account with us. You then have all of the tools available to you to book, create an itinerary, and plan your next trip! Following the trip, add in your photos and videos and share it with friends and family.
Have a comment or something to add to this article? Leave a comment below or send us a response by contacting us.
Free Online Resources to Start Your Digital Nomad Lives