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The Perfect South Africa Itinerary

Pack your bags and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime as we take you on a whirlwind tour through the breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cities, and awe-inspiring wildlife of South Africa! For 4 weeks, we have been driving through South Africa from one beautiful places to another, exploring the most interesting places of this country. With this perfect South Africa itinerary, we hope to get you on your way to plan your own unforgettable journey through this versatile country. ​


General Information

South Africa has an area of 1.220.000 km². It will therefore not surprise you that there are endless beautiful places in this country. As you drive from one side of the country to the other, you will be amazed by how the landscape changes. This route takes you along the most beautiful places and you will be amazed by the diversity of this country. From fascinating wildlife to gigantic mountains, you will find literally everything here! 


Fly with Air Belgium

Did you know you can fly directly from Brussels to Johannesburg or Cape Town with Air Belgium? Not only did we enjoy the fact that we had a direct flight, we were also super satisfied with the service on board: super friendly staff, very tasty food and great comfort during the flight! We highly recommend Air Belgium if you fly from Brussels.

Outside of South Africa, they offer many other great destinations in Africa. So be sure to check out their website!

About the itinerary

This itinerary offers a good variety between beautiful nature, safaris, relaxation and fun activities. We have covered this route in 4 weeks, but it is certainly possible to cover most of this route in 3 weeks. We have added our tips for completing this trip in 3 weeks.

It is a rough route with mainly the highlights, with plenty of room to add or replace things yourself according to your own preferences. We drove this route from Cape Town to Johannesburg, but you can just as well plan this itinerary in the other direction. 

So in which direction should you do the route? This depends on where you want to spend the end of your trip: in the nice and cozy Cape Town, where there is a lot to see and do, or in Kruger National Park to see as much wildlife as possible.

Feel free to contact us with your questions about the various options and we will do our utmost to help you further.


We have decided to not visit Johannesburg, due to safety reasons, and therefore we have not put it in this route. There are certainly safe areas in Johannesburg so it is perfectly possible to visit the city if you want to, but you will have to do some research in advance for your own safety.

The best time for visiting South Africa

You can drive this route year round, but each season has its advantages and disadvantages. So it mainly depends on your personal preferences what the ideal time is for this route.

It’s important to note that South Africa is located in the Southern Hemisphere, so the seasons are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere.

The overall best time to visit South Africa is from May to October. During these winter months you can expect more pleasant temperatures and less rain as this period is dry season. It is also the best time for seeing wildlife as there’s less vegetation, resulting in better visibility.  

Remember that South Africa is a very large country, so there can be a big difference in the weather on both sides of the country. So be prepared for all kinds of weather!

Renting a car in South Africa

We highly recommend renting a car for this itinerary. There are plenty of rental car companies where you can rent a car. On, you can compare multiple cars and companies and find the right rental car for you. 

There are a few things you should pay attention to when you rent a car:

  • You should always check whether it is possible to return your rental car at a different place than where you picked it up and how much you have to pay for this.
  • If you plan on visiting Eswatini and/or Lesotho, you should check if you are allowed to cross the border with your rental car. This differs from rental company to rental company. With some rental companies you have to request this in advance and they will probably charge an extra fee. 

Rent your car in South Africa here

via RentalCars

Driving in South Africa

First of all, it is important to note that in South Africa, they drive on the LEFT side of the road. 
We quickly got used to driving on the left and found it pleasant to drive in South Africa.
Traffic rules are generally well respected and the main roads are mostly in good conditions. The closer to Cape Town, the better the roads. The further from Cape Town, the more potholes you will have to avoid. So always pay attention to potholes!
At some intersections, everyone has a stop sign. Here applies: first come first serve. In other cases, sometimes you have to enforce it a bit.

If someone is driving slow, they will in most cases drive on the side of the road, so that you can easily pass. Please note: sometimes they overtake in the opposite direction in your lane and assume that you will get out of the way. Always pay attention to this!

Find the perfect flights to south africa here

via Air Belgium

Cape town

The bar was immediately set high by our visit to Cape Town as the first stop of ourww itinerary. We are not city dwellers, but this city has really stolen our hearts. It is a super beautiful city with a nice atmosphere, beautiful views and countless fun things to do. You can hike the Lion’s head trail at sunset, climb the Table Mountain, visit cozy markets or let yourself go in gigantic shopping centers. Not to mention the numerous tasty and cozy restaurants and bars. Also in the wider area of the city, you can do many unique things such as visiting the penguins at Boulders beach and driving along a stunning oceanview road!
In short: you will certainly not be bored in Cape Town and you can certainly stay here for a few days.

Hotel tip!

Cape Town is divided into different regions. We stayed in Camps Bay in POD Camps Bay and we couldn't have wished for a better place to stay.

Top 8 Best Things to Do in Cape Town

Read more


If you like wine, Stellenbosch is definitely the place to be. This town is known for its scenic beauty, rich history, and world-class vineyards. It is the wine capital of South Africa and it ranks among the best wine regions in the world.

But Stellenbosch is not only worth a visit for the wine. It is also South Africa’s second oldest town with many old and beautiful streets. You really shouldn’t miss the old Dorpstraat. This street is home to some of the most impressive old buildings, where you can find some lovely shops, hotels and restaurants.


Swellendam is the perfect stopover to break the trip between Stellenbosch and the Garden Route, the next stop. It is the third-oldest town in South Africa, with a rich historical and architectural heritage, surrounded by natural beauty. The town is known for its charming Cape Dutch architecture, with many well-preserved buildings. Here you can also find a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops where you can sample local cuisine and browse unique handmade products. 


On the way between Cape Town and Swellendam,  you can also make a stopover at Bettysbay, where you can find another penguins colony and Hermanus, where you can spot whales from the shore during whale season. .

Hotel tip!

Looking for a unique place to stay? We stayed at Kwetu Guest Farm. Not only can you see giraffes from your room, you can also meet them up close!

Garden route

The Garden Route is a popular scenic stretch along the southern coast, running from Mossel Bay to Storms River. It is named after the lush vegetation and diverse ecosystems that characterize the region, offering a stunning blend of forests, mountains, rivers, and coastline.

Highlights of the garden route

1. Knysna and Knsyna Elephant Park

Knysna is a picturesque town with a beautiful lagoon, surrounded by lush forests and mountains. One of the most iconic landmarks of the region is the Knysna Heads. These towering sandstone cliffs mark the entrance to the lagoon, where the waters of the Indian Ocean meet the calm lagoon.

For us, the highlight of Knysna was staying at Knysna Elephant Park, where you can sleep next to the bedroom of the elephants. It’s a very unique experience to see how they sleep and hear hear them snoring, trumpeting and yes … even farting at night.
Besides sleeping with the elephants, they also offer different experiences to interact with the elephants (all ethical), which you can also book without staying overnight.

Check availability at Knysna Elephant Park Lodge


2. Plettenberg bay

Plettenberg Bay is a place that you should not miss. Here we have had one of our most unforgettable experiences ever: Snorkeling with seals. The seals are super playful and curious. An activity that you should definitely do during your trip through South Africa.

Book your seal snorkeling tour

via GetYourGuide

3. Bloukrans Bridge

The Bloukrans Bridge is a 216 meter high bridge and an iconic landmark located along the Garden Route. It is known as the site of the world’s highest commercial bungee jump and is a popular attraction for thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts. Even if you are not into bungee jumping, it is definitely worth stopping at the this bridge to enjoy the beautiful view, the impressive bridge and watch other people jumping. 

Book your Bloukrans Bungee Jump

via GetYourGuide

4. Tsitsikamma National Park

From dramatic landscapes to stunning hikes, Tsitsikamma National Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. This national park is full of beautiful hiking trails, stunning views, endless beaches and suspension bridges.

The Mouth Trail is the must-do trail. This hike takes you to the Storms River Mouth, where the Storms River meets the sea. You can explore the area via the suspension bridges and walkways, providing incredible views of the river, the gorge, and the crashing waves. 

You can also explore the Storms river during a kayak tour, allowing you to experience the beauty of the river up close into the breathtaking gorge. 

Addo elephant park

It’s time to go wildlife spotting! Addo elephant Park is the third largest national Park in South Africa. This park is home to 600 elephants and many other animals. If you are lucky, you can even see the Big Five!
These are some of the animals we saw at Addo Elephant Park: Elephant, Buffalo, Dung Beetle, Kudu, Nyala, Spotted Hyena, Zebra (a lot of them), black-backed Jackal, special birds, … .

You can explore this park both on a self drive, or on a game drive. But we recommend doing a self drive in this park. The main road has a distance of 64km, so you can actually do it in one day.

Hotel tip!

One of the most unique places we stayed was at Once Upon a Dome in Port Elizabeth. It is the perfect place to stay on your way to Addo Elephant Park. It is a stargazing dome, with a hot tub, chill net, barbecue... literally everything you could wish for.

3 or 4 weeks alternatives

The next part of the route depends on how much time you have.
You can either take a domestic flight between Port Elizabeth to Durban to save time and continue this route in St Lucia. Alternatively, you can drive and add some stops like Lesotho, Sani Pass and/or Drakensberg.

As we had 4 weeks, we have chosen to drive and make a stopover in Drakensberg.

Extra: drakensberg

The Drakensberg, also known as the Dragon Mountains, is a majestic mountain range of approximately 1,000 kilometers, located in both South Africa and Lesotho. It forms a natural border between the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

It offers a wide range of outdoor activities and hiking trails. The most famous places for hiking in the Drakensberg are Cathedral Peak and the Drakensberg Amphitheater.

At the Drakensberg Amphitheater you can hike to the Tugela Falls, which with its 948 meters is the highest in the world. It is a beautiful, but exciting walk, as you have to climb 2 chain ladders of 20 and 40 meters.

You can read more about this hike in our blogpost about the Tugela Falls hike (coming soon).

St lucia

One of our most favorite places in South Africa is St Lucia. It is a quiet and cozy village with only one access road, making it one of the safest villages in the country. The only danger in this village are the hippos that roam the streets at night and come to graze in the gardens.

Some of the highlights in and around St Lucia are:

1. Croc & Hippo Boat tour – This is a guided tour on the river where you will see some hippos and crocodiles!
2. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi National Park – A national park with the big five
3. St Lucia Estuary – You can see some crocodiles here!
4. iSimangaliso Wetland Park – A wildlife park with four of the big five, they only don’t have lions.

You can find more detailed info about all activities in and around St Lucia in our St Lucia Blogpost (coming soon).

Hotel tip!

If you are looking for the most unique stay in St Lucia and you love glamping, we can highly recommend Urban Glamping. You literally feel in the middle of nature in the middle of the village.


Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is a small country neighboring South Africa. It can be perfectly combined with your trip through South Africa.

This country has a rich cultural heritage and is known for its traditional Swazi customs and ceremonies. The Swazi people take pride in their cultural traditions, including vibrant dances, music, beadwork, and handicrafts. It is also home to various cultural villages where you can experience the original Swazi culture. These villages provide opportunities to learn about traditional practices, sample local cuisine, witness cultural performances, and interact with Swazi people in a traditional setting. A must-do if you ask us!

Hotel tip!

We can highly recommend staying at Mantenga Lodge. It is located in the Eswatini Valley, in the middle of nature. It is the perfect base to visit the Mantenga Nature Reserve, Culture Village and the Mantenga falls.


Make sure to check in advance if you are allowed to cross the border with your rental car to avoid any fines.

Kruger national park

The biggest and definitely the most famous National Park in South Africa, is Kruger National park. It is home to all Big Five animals: elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffalos. Additionally, you can find over 500 bird species, numerous antelope species, giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, hyenas, and many other wildlife species in this park.

The park is divided into two major parts: the Great Kruger and the private game reserves.  You can either explore the Great Kruger on your own, during a self drive. Or you can stay at one of the private lodges and explore the private game reserves during private game drives.

You can find more detailed information about Kruger National park in our Kruger National Park blogpost (coming soon).

Hotel tip!

Our favorite private lodge was definitely Rukiya Safari Camp. Here you stay in comfortable safari tents in a peaceful and stunning environment, with lovely staff, wonderful service and delicious (that's even an understatement) food!

If you are looking for a very unique place to stay around Kruger National Park, you can stay in one of the treehouses of Pezulu Treehouse Lodge. If you're lucky, a curious giraffe will come and say hello while you're taking a shower in your outdoor bathroom.

The Panorama Route: The 7 Most Beautiful Stops

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Panorama Route

The Panorama Route is one of the most beautiful roads in South Africa. This scenic route takes you through some breathtaking landscapes along many interesting stops, such as waterfalls and viewpoints. The perfect base to explore the Panorama Route is Graskop.

Some of the highlights on the Panorama route are

  1. Lone Creek Falls
  2. Mac Mac falls
  3. God’s window & Rainforest
  4. Lisbon falls
  5. Berlin Falls
  6. Bourke’s Luck Potholes
  7. Three Rondavels

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However, you still pay the same and therefore have no extra costs! So a win-win for everyone. This way, we can continue to add even more travel inspiration and tips to this blog for your next adventure. Thanks a lot!

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