…in the World far, far away there is a land of reach and poor, of sky scrapers and poor townships, of great waters and dense forests…
And the name of this place is South Africa. Far on the southern part of Africa continent lays country which is pretty much different from the rest of the countries on the continent. Being the richest country in Africa it at the same time attract a lot of criminal to the area. But everything is not that bad as you may think or what rumours say.
The itinerary below covers the most interesting parts of South Africa and neighbours countries in two weeks. It includes famous Garden Route along southern shore of South Africa, Drakensberg mountains and a little bit of Lesotho and Swaziland.
There are plenty of stuff South Africa can offer to the traveller — surfing, diving with sharks, whale watching, hiking and “regular” sightseeing :) But before that you need to figure out how to get from point A to point B. And here comes two main options. First is to simply rent a car and go wherever you want. Second option is so-called shared buses for tourists, one of them is BazBus which I used on my trip.
Let’s see… a rental car gives you all the flexibility of going wherever you want and whenever you want. The only thing is that you’ll have to get used to driving on the left side of the road. The option with shared bus doesn’t require you to worry about driving in unfamiliar conditions, at the same time you are limited to the routes and time schedule of these buses. Personally, after doing this trip with a shared bus, I would say that rental car if far better choice…
As for the route itself, to get most of South Africa it is best to start in Cape Town and go all the way to Johannesburg. Or vice-versa. This allows you to cover the Garden Route, which starts from Cape Town, go further to Port Elizabeth and Durban with optional trip to Lesotho, continue to Drakensberg mountains to get a feeling of hiking in South Africa and then finish the trip in Johannesburg with optional trips to Swaziland and Kruger National Park.
Provided itinerary lacks Drakensberg mountains which were dropped out due to bad weather conditions. You can easily add stop there on the way from Durban to Joburg or just make a trip directly from Joburg. It adds extra 3-4 days to the trip time. Take a close look at the hike to Tugela Falls, this one is the most spectacular there.
Another place which was out of my itinerary but might worth a few days is Kruger National Park. If you love animals or haven’t been on any safari trip it definitely makes sense to go.
As for the optional trips — check your visa requirements for Lesotho as you may need a visa to get into the country. At the same time Swaziland is much more relaxed in this sense. There isn’t much to see and do in any of these countries, but while being in South Africa it is very short trip to both of them.
For the areas around Durban (like Drakensberg, Lesotho, shark diving) I can recommend Rudi Botha as an excellent guide with great experience. The guy helped me with a trip to Lesotho and got everything well organized.
The full itinerary is provided below. It can give you an idea of timing and logistics, at the same time it can be altered up to your preference :)
The area is known for its brightly coloured homes and cobble stoned streets. Nice for photos.
Simple trekking via Circular Route. Great opportunities for photos at sunset.
Accessible via tour or own car. Main spots are Hout Bay, Chapman's Peak Drive, Cape of Good Hope, Boulders Beach.
Via BazBus or rental car
If time allows check Dolphin’s Point or Map of Africa viewpoint
Great spot for sunrise. Check the cave just beyond the tunnel before the bridge.
Wilderness National Park offers a number of hiking trails, all around 3-6 hours along the river
Highest bridge-based bungee in the world at 216 meters — one of the most amazing experience of the whole trip!
Many hiking opportunities, rent of bike is also a great choice
Good sunrise photopoint near to the lighthouse at the southern part of the park
Beachfront is nice with lots of local life
Full-day trip to Lesotho via famous Sani Pass
Nice place for a relatively short hike around the park and up to the waterfall, around 2-3 hours
Rent a bike and ride around the park, great place to spot wildlife — zebras, antilopas and others
Just stroll around the city to get a feeling and if you have some time before the return bus
Tour around Hillbrow and Berea with guys from Dlala Nje
Bicycle tour around Alexandra Township
Great quarter of local arts and foods, held only on Sundays
More about South Africa…
- Cape Town, the relax capital of South Africa
- Kingdom in the Sky, Lesotho
- Swaziland, a peaceful gem in Africa
- Travel Garden Route