Two Week South African Road Trip Itinerary

South Africa is made for road trips. From weekend getaways to extended holidays, there is so much to explore across the country. We’re lucky enough to have good roads traveling to most parts of the country, making for fantastic road trips.

There are literally hundreds of different road trip routes. One of the popular routes starts in Johannesburg and heads down to the Western Cape along the Garden Route. This route also lends itself to including a few stops along the way.

Another option is to take a detour before heading to the coast, and stopping off somewhere in the Drakensberg, followed by a stop along the Wild Coast and a quick stop in Hogsback before heading to the Garden Route and the Western Cape. Here is a two-week road trip itinerary doing just that.

Two nights in Underberg

Starting off in Johannesburg, the drive to Underberg is just over six hours. While here, book a cabin at Mkomazana Mountain Cottages. This small resort is located at the base of the Sani Pass and the cottages are cosy with everything that you need for a self-catering stay, including a small lounge with fireplace and a kitchenette. The grounds here are beautiful, with the farm featuring a small lake and stream, ancient trees, and stunning mountain views. The property used to be a trading post dating back to the 1800s, when the Sani Pass first started being used.


While here make sure to take a trip up the Sani Pass into Lesotho. If you don’t have a 4×4 to drive up yourself, then book a tour. The managers at Mkomazana are able to organise a tour with Sani Pass Tours. The trip will cost R790 per person and includes a quick tour to a nearby Basotho village at the top, and a lunch stopover at the Highest Pub in Africa. The tour takes most of the day; you leave at about 9am and are back at around 4pm.

There are also nearby hiking and walking trails to keep you busy and a few restaurants in nearby Himeville.

Three nights in Coffee Bay

Next up, join the N2 and start heading towards the Wild Coast. Here is where you can completely chill out and enjoy the laid-back beach vibes. Accommodation is basic. For a truly great experience, book a rondavel at Coffee Shack Backpackers.

While in Coffee Bay make sure to do the day hike to Hole in the Wall. It’s about an 11km hike one-way along the rolling hills along the coastline. The hike is fairly tough, with a total of about six hills to trek up and down. The green hills are scattered with the occasional colourful rondavel, there’s free-roaming cows along the beaches and the dramatic cliff drops are a special sight to see.

There are other hiking routes to explore in the area that have great surfing conditions.

Two nights in Hogsback

After completely relaxing on the Wild Coast, it’s time to join the fairies for a bit. Get back on the N2 and later the R63 for a six-hour drive to Hogsback. A favourite accommodation choice in this magical forest town is Away with the Fairies. It’s a backpackers but has two private chalets (book ahead to get these rooms). Hogsback is all about hiking through the forests, with highlights being the Big Tree, the Madonna and Child Falls, 39 Steps Falls and the Arboretum. Later, end your day with a quick “bath with a view” at Away with the Fairies, followed by a delicious pizza from their bar.

DID YOU KNOW that Hogsback is said to be the inspiration behind JRR Tolkien’s magical fantasy land in The Lord of the Rings?

One night in Jeffrey’s Bay

Finally, time to start heading towards the beautiful Garden Route. To break up the journey a bit, make a quick stop at Jeffrey’s Bay (a four-hour drive from Hogsback). It’s a relaxed coastal town, renowned as a surfing hotspot. You’ll also find several factory shops here, so stock up on some beach and swimming wear for the rest of the trip.

Book accommodation at one of the apartments along the Supertubes beach to get quick access for a sunrise surf, swim or beach walk.

Three nights in Plettenberg Bay

Plett is always an enjoyable stay along the Garden Route. It has beautiful beaches, top-class restaurants, boutique shopping, and some great accommodation options. The Robberg Nature Reserve is also the perfect spot to enjoy sundowners or perhaps a full day hike. It is centrally located to enjoy the other areas along the Garden Route, including Storms River, Bloukrans and Tsitsikamma National Park. The drive from Jeffrey’s Bay to Plettenberg Bay is about two-and-a-half hours.

Two nights in Knysna

Just a 30-minute drive from Plett is the quaint and classy town of Knysna. Knysna is another great stop for its restaurants and scenic views. Take a drive up to see the Knysna Heads, venture into the Knysna Forest, cruise along the estuary or stroll around The Waterfront Knysna Quays.

The Turbine Hotel and Spa is a great choice of accommodation, located on Thesen Island. It offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy life on the canals, including kayaking and sunset cruises.

One night in Graaf-Reinet

Sadly, it’s time to head back to Johannesburg. To break up the long drive, spend a night in Graaf-Reinet on the way back. It’s just a four-hour drive from Knysna, allowing you enough time to explore the area on the same day. The main reason for stopping here is to visit the beautiful Valley of Desolation. Spend the night at Roode Bloem Farmhouse, an old farmhouse 10km outside of Graaf-Reinet.

After a good night’s sleep head out early to start the eight-hour drive back to Johannesburg.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Bridget Langer
Bridget Langer
Freelance travel writer, blogger and business owner (Sparrow Digital).

Related stories

Covid-19 causes Acsa to dust off its begging bowl

The SOE has asked the government for R3.5-billion in extra support over the next three years to offset losses incurred because of the pandemic

Domestic travel is key to saving the tourism sector

Staying ahead of the digital curve, including local communities in tourism offerings and promoting domestic tourism can help the ailing tourism sector survive and thrive

Level one loading: Almost back to normal

President Cyril Ramaphosa announces South Africa will move to level one of lockdown on September 20 after nearly six months of restrictions on movement, trade, learning and socialising

Domestic tourism to the rescue

The South African tourism sector’s recovery is up to us, because local travel can save the sector

Bus tour operators plead for help

The tourism transport sector was hammered during Covid-19 levels four and five and is asking the government for financial assistance

UK economy loses £22bn as virus ravages tourism: study

Britain's economy will lose about £22-billion this year on the coronavirus-induced collapse of global travel, which could imperil three million jobs
Advertising

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

Sudan’s government gambles over fuel-subsidy cuts — and people pay...

Economists question the manner in which the transitional government partially cut fuel subsidies

Traditional healers need new spaces

Proper facilities supported by well-researched cultural principles will go a long way to improving the image and perception of the practice of traditional medicine

Limpopo big-game farmer accused of constant harassment

A family’s struggle against alleged intimidation and failure to act by the authorities mirrors the daily challenges farm dwellers face

Did Botswana execute ‘poachers’ ?

The Botswana Defence Force’s anti-poaching unit has long been accused of a ‘shoot to kill’ policy. Over 20 years the unit has killed 30 Namibians and 22 Zimbabweans
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…