South Africa and Garden Route Guide: From Johannesburg to Cape Town via Drakensberg and Addo Elephant National Park

South Africa and Garden Route Guide: From Johannesburg to Cape Town via Drakensberg and Addo Elephant National Park

South Africa is an experience and it‘s a perfect road trip destination. The following guide and tips match adventurous travelers, with or without children.

This itinerary includes family travel tips, but can also be used by any traveler who enjoys exploring a country by themselves by car.

 

To rent a car in South Africa

I was first thinking of getting a medium sized car with a bit of space and with a trunk where you could hide your luggage -- something not too fancy that wouldn't get us too many looks while driving and parking in South Africa. But we then decided to go for a slightly higher class vehicle and rented a small SUV. In our case we got the Ford Eco Sport. It’s not a 4x4, which is OK, as you really don’t need that for South Africa’s roads. But it was good to have a bit of extra clearance, bringing far more fun on the offroad tracks, which you otherwise couldn't go on.

The Ford Eco Sport was not Eco, as it seemed to eat 8 liters per 100 km. It wasn’t Sport either, as the one we had was very slow in accelerating. That’s not too good if you want to overtake trucks when on hillsides. Seriously, I even had to change down to the third gear to win the race against trucks on some hills. Hahaha :) But apart from that the car was a good fit for our trip and I would definitely go with a car with a bit of extra clearance again. We got it from Around About Cars for three weeks and rented it in Johannesburg and could drop it off in Cape Town for an extra R1,000 (€70).

We also decided to get their recommended additional car insurance. Definitely go for that as well. We had lunch in Port Alfred and when we backed out of our parking spot another car bumped into ours. I was already in first gear and about to drive when it happened. The other car was a small truck with a proper metal gear bumper and even though it only hit us a tiny bit, our rear bumper and light got enough scratches. Let’s wait and see how the insurance will handle this. I will update you as soon I have more information.

 

Extra tip: What to do when you have a car accident with a rental car in South Africa.

I hope that nothing serious happens and nobody gets injured. In our case all was good and nobody was hurt. In this case the police will not come to you. You have to drive to the next police station and report the accident. Just in case, take a photo of the accident scene, including the other car (with number plate) and the destroyed parts. At the police station, an officer will fill in a form and you will get a file/report number. Keep this! You will have to fill in an extra form when you return the car and that number is then very important! The car insurance will then repair your car and will charge your credit card with the amount, which you provided when you rented the car. They will send you an invoice which you will have to forward to the insurance company. The insurance company will also want a report from you.

 

The Garden Route Guide:

We traveled for 21 days and that was a good length of time. We managed to see a lot and still had a lot of time in each of the different destinations to fully enjoy them. I would recommend to everyone to also go for a 3 week trip, though it would also be possible to skip one or two of the places or to stay fewer number of days. 

The following guide and tips should help you plan your South Africa holiday.

Johannesburg – 0-3 nights

We arrived in Johannesburg in the late afternoon. We decided not to stay in Johannesburg and headed straight South towards Drakensberg. The reason for this was that I’ve been to Johannesburg twice before and I’ve visited the highlights like the Apartheid Museum, Mandela’s home and also his hiding place. If you are interested in South Africa’s history, then you should plan to stay 2 nights in Johannesburg. I would recommend that you do a bicycle tour through Maboneng and visit the market on Fox Street.

 

Places to Stay in Johannesburg:

For this trip, we chose Ecotel Premier Lodge & Conference Centre, as it’s in a quiet and safe neighborhood and very close to the airport. We rented our car with Around About Cars and picked up our car at their partner rental station (FirstCarRental/Sixt) and it took us only 15-20 minutes to our first accommodation. From there we were also perfectly situated to head South the next morning. The Ecotel Premier Lodge has a really good price at around €55 for a family room. Close by are several malls where you can go out to have some dinner. There is a pool and the staff are friendly and helpful. You can also park your car for free and save on their grounds. Breakfast costs a bit extra, but definitely worth ordering it.

If you would like to explore Johannesburg for a few extra days, you might want to stay closer to the city. Here I would recommend taking a look at CurioCity Backpackers and if you want something more upscale, check out Fire & Ice Boutique Hotel in Melrose Arch.

 

Drakensberg – 2-3 nights

This mountain range is simply stunning. It’s the perfect place for hiking. Your hosts should be able to provide you with some maps and tips for where to hike, but there are also arranged hiking tours. Our child was not up for a long day hike so we decided to go for the Drakensberg family option. We drove to Castleburn, which is a beautiful little resort in the Drakensberg, close to Underberg (20-minute drive). It has a little lake and restaurant. You should plan to eat here (or stay), as you can then also use their paddle boats or kayaks and paddle a bit on the lake. There is a good playground and lots of space so that your kids can have fun, while you can enjoy some good food for a good price.

 

Where to Stay in the Drakensberg:

We chose the Sani Lodge. It’s a 10-minute drive from Underberg and lies on the way to the Sani Pass. The Sani Lodge has the option to stay in little huts with self-catering as well as dorm rooms. We chose a family hut with one living room, small kitchenette and 2 bedrooms. It was OK, but sadly the owner had decided to paint the roof’s woodwork just before we arrived so that we had that bad smell of it all the time, which is not nice if you have to keep the windows closed because of mosquitoes. But apart from that, it was a good choice, as there is a pool and also a restaurant where you can have breakfast and dinner. The place has its own short trail into the fields and up on the hill. Do it, as it gives you a nice overview. The trail is also good for children, as you pass a little pond with some frogs and a bench. There is also a bench at the top of the hill, which is a nice goal to reach for the children. The hike is really short and well sign posted.

 

Driving to and in the Drakensberg

We came from Johannesburg, driving on the N3. Watch out for your speed. I’m used to driving on Germany’s Autobahn and that got me into speeding. The N3 looks like a road where the cops are checking regularly. ;-)

We were heading towards Underberg, but decided to do a little detour, which I would recommend doing! Right after Harrismith turn right (N5) and shortly afterwards left onto the R74 towards Bergsville. You will pass Sterkfontein Dam and shortly afterwards you will see some stunning scenery, driving down a mountain.

The trip from Johannesburg to Underberg takes around 6.5 hours without breaks and with a child on board, we decided to head towards the N3 again to reach our final location faster. But if you are not tired of driving, you might want to choose to head further South, right after Bergsville. No idea how it is, but I would expect some stunning views, as you would drive closer to the mountains.

We left the N3 in Mooi River again towards Underberg and the views of the valleys and hills we passed were so damn good, that we stopped all the time to take photos. My advice is to add in an extra 30 minutes to your travel time for taking photos. ;-)

 

We also drove through the Sani Pass itself, all the way to the Border Control. That’s where it was good to have the extra clearance with the car. There is no need for a 4x4 until you reach the border to Lesotho, but there were 3-4 spots where the extra height was good to have. Though it seems that some even drive that road with a normal car, as when we arrived, there was a Limousine parked. Maybe it got there on the back of a truck? I would not drive the complete distance with a standard car. Driving through the valley is really beautiful and special and a good Drakensberg experience. If you don't have a car with extra clearance, maybe go for a hiking tour, which will also get you into the valley.

 

Mdumbi – 4-6 nights

Mdumbi is a little village on the Indian Ocean, South of the Drakensberg and between Durban and East London. It’s the place to chill out for a few days, go surfing, read in the hammock, go kayaking or simply do nothing.

It’s a dream!

This accommodation does not provide a lot of luxury from a material perspective, but it’s full of luxury for life.

We stayed in one of their huts, which was equipped with the basics. There is a mattress, a cupboard and light. That’s pretty much it. If you want to go more into details, one of the two light bulbs is run by solar power. :-)

So put your luggage aside and get out of your shoes. Mdumbi Backpackers is a little village in itself, with several huts and two common areas (one inside and one cool shelter style), public kitchen and a reception with attached kitchen where you can order food.

They have several surfboards and bodyboards, so grab one and head down to the beach, which is just down the road (3-5 minute walk). The water temperature is fine between December and April, otherwise, they also have a few wetsuits.

The beach is another dream. It’s wide and there is a river on the other side where you can go kayaking.

Mdumbi Backpackers can introduce you to a local who started to rent kayaks and does guided tours. You should definitely grab a kayak for 2-3 hours and paddle up the river. We decided to take the tour and that was not worth it. The guide was friendly, but not at all into explaining the local nature to us and we didn’t need someone to paddle us along. So it was I who spotted the jellyfishes who live in the river. We then had a short break on a riverbank and there were dozens of little crabs, who had dug themselves into the mud. They came out and fought with each other. There was no info coming from the guide about this and it was me who explained more about it to our son. So it was a bit disappointing when we had paid a third extra to have a guide.

It seems that other guides are no better. Another guest booked a guided coastal tour to some caves and the guide simply didn’t show up and didn’t even inform the guest, who was just waiting for 1-2 hours. The next day the guest gave it another go and the guide didn’t turn up again. Also, our guide didn’t turn up on the first day without informing us.

So it seems that part of the experience was far from being good and I hope that Mdumbi Backpackers does something about it and I’m sure they will. The guides are independent and the accommodation has nothing to do with them, but it still influences their guest’s stay as well.

So my recommendation is that you HAVE TO visit and stay at Mdumbi, if you like to relax and take it easy, just do your own tour right from the beginning. ;-)

The staff of Mdumbi were friendly and helpful. The restrooms were always clean and my favorite were the outdoor showers. You could order to join in with dinner and the food was good and plentiful. It was one meal for all, but it was no problem to order extra vegetarian food.

We also had our breakfast and lunch at Mdumbi. It always took the staff quite long to prepare it, but it definitely did not matter, as you simply have the time when staying at Mdumbi. It’s also a great place to go to as a family. The kids can run around and play. There is even a “pirate” ship where the kids can conquer the world.

The value for money is also really good. As it’s a bit of a drive there, plan to stay at least 4 nights, better more, as you want to unwind, right? ;-)

 

Getting to Mdumbi by car

There are two ways of getting to Mdumbi Backpackers by car. One is using your NavGat or Google Maps, which will take you longer, as most of that road is a dirt road. We drove it and I loved it. The road starts just East of Mthatha. Head on the R61 and then turn South towards Tukela, Matayi and Canzibe. The quicker option is to head West of Mthatha on the N2 and head towards Coffee Bay at Viedgesville. That road is paved until the final 30 minutes. Both roads are windy and take you through beautiful countryside.

From Mdumbi we headed West towards Addo Elephant National Park. As it’s quite a bit of a drive, we decided to have a break in between, though you would be able to drive the whole distance in one day (8-9 hours drive).

 

East London (1 night)

Just on the outskirts, you’ll find Santa Paloma Guest Farm -- it's five-minutes off the N2, in a little quiet valley. The rooms are cozy and it’s a fab spot for families, as the kids can run around freely. There is also a little pool for cooling off. There is a short 1-2 hour hike through the forest with the possibility to spot zebras.

Otherwise, there is an obstacle course made out of tires, which is also fun to do. It’s a bit distant from any shops and restaurants, so have dinner there, which is plentiful and good. Previously, the property was a farm, which was more a ruin when the current owner bought it. They turned the old stables into rooms and the barn now includes the kitchen, TV room and common area. In the common area, you still see the old feeders and also pictures of how the place looked before. In the evening you’ll have dinner with the other guests at one big table.

 

Addo Elephant National Park (3-4 nights)

The Addo Elephant NP is a bit like a big zoo. There is a big fence around the area, so that all of the animals are kept inside, which is different to national parks in other areas of Africa. There are two main entrances, one in the North (main entrance) and one in the South. There is also the option to drive through it (for free) from East to West, which is also a shortcut to Addo city. This road is open 24 hours and you just need to pass a gate.

The park has over 350 elephants and it’s spectacular to see them. It’s a self-drive safari, so you take your own car and drive through the park, though you can also book different kinds of tours. Most people take their own car and drive the paved and dirt roads. The cars are part of the park's daily life and because of that, the animals are used to them and are very easy going. The elephants eat their way through the bushes and you see their tracks and leftovers everywhere. Drive slowly and you will spot them and as well zebras, buffaloes, leopards, eagles, turtles, plenty of dung beetles and many other animals.

There are also several water holes which get filled up with water, also in the dry season. That’s where you will definitely spot the elephants. When you see an elephant family arriving, watch the path they will follow and park your car 2-3 meters next to it and wait. The elephants will pass you VERY closely. You can even turn off the engine to enjoy the moment to the fullest. That’s something you wouldn't normally do in other national parks, as you'll want to be able to move quickly incase an elephant decides to charge for you. But if it’s the elephant approaching you, instead of the other way round and you give them the freedom to move along, then this is a unique experience. That’s where the “zoo” experience helps, as the animals are so used to visitors. I had about 40 elephants in 2-3 meter proximity to me over the three days and it’s an unbelievable experience. And still, be aware that this is not a petting zoo and that you do the above at your own risk. ;-)

There are far more animals to spot and you should always drive slowly, and have your binoculars and cameras ready.

Family travel tip: Animal spotting and counting. When entering the park you will get a map, which also includes a list of animals you could see. Keep checking off the animals you spot, that keeps the children entertained.

You can also join a full-day tour to Addo Elephant Park from Port Elizabeth, if you're coming from that side.

 

Where to stay in Addo

We chose to stay at the River Front Estate. They don’t have their own website, so just send them an email or call them (+27 72 488 1468) to enquire. They only have a couple of rooms, so make sure you reserve one in time. The property is only 16 kilometers away from the main entrance in the North and it’s well positioned, with regard to other activities and restaurants.

Lisa, the owner, really takes care of her guests. The rooms were well equipped and also includes a kitchenette, so that you can cook your own meals. There's a supermarket just around the corner where you'll be able to buy everything that you'll need. There's also a vegan restaurant on the property, which was unfortunately closed during our stay, but from what I heard it's worth checking out.

What surprised me was that the cleaning ladies really took care of everything while we were out. When we got back, everything in the sink was washed and even our clothes were folded and moved into the cupboards or bags again. The price for a room per night was €45 and totally worth it. It was one of our favorite places.

 

Where to eat in Addo

Wherever you decide to go, the prices are good and similar across the board. We liked the Addo Wildlife & Lifestyle Centre as it had some good food. It’s a bit fancier and you can sit inside or outside on the terrace. There is a playground and you can also visit the wildlife center for a small fee. The guys running the wildlife center are very happy to show you around and tell you a bit more about the different animals. It also includes a small petting zoo for children.

Lenmore Restaurant & Farmstall provides a bakery, little shop and good restaurant where you can get some tasty pizzas right out of the wood fired oven. And it’s another good place for families, as there is a big garden and also a playground where your children can have fun until the meals get served.

Do you feel like sushi? Then head to the Africanos Country Estate, they've got great sushi as well as many other food choices. It’s one of the better places to stay at when in Addo, but the restaurant prices are damn good, just like elsewhere. This makes it a popular place to dine, so make sure you reserve a table. There is also a playground outside and if it should rain, there is even a tiny kid’s room with two playstations. So if the dad’s don’t come back after checking on the kids, you know why. ;-)

Cattle Baron Grill & Bistro is the restaurant in the national park itself. It has a very touristy atmosphere, which is obvious with its location, but it’s the spot where we had the best steak of our trip. At lunch or dinner times it can get very busy, so come early or reserve a table upfront. The waiters are OK, but really just after the money. We gave a wrong (too little) tip, though not on purpose, but we quickly found out, as the waiter completely ignored us from that moment on. Apart from that the service was OK, but also not special as it’s a busy place where people come and go quickly. So if you like meat and want a really good steak, go here.

 

Things to do around Addo

In Colchester, South of Addo Elephant NP, you’ll find the Pearson Park Resort, which provides you access to the beach for around €5. Go for it, as it’s worth it, especially if you like dunes and long beaches. A tiny road will take you along the river and already on the other side you’ll see the dunes which end right at the water.

Drive all the way to the end, where you’ll find a parking area for day visitors (it’s also possible to camp at their property). Now head for the dunes and climb them and you’ll find another area of the Addo Elephant NP -- and if you're lucky you can even spot some whales.

 

Driving from Addo towards the West, there are several popular spots. We didn't stop at them, but I’m sure it’s worth doing so, at least at one. For example, there's the Tsitsikamma National Park & Stormsriver which looks like a great spot for hiking, as there are some really good looking gorges which end in the sea. Then there is the famous Bloukrans Bridge, which is known for it’s loooong bungee jump (200 meter!). Nature’s Valley is another spot which looks good for outdoor activities.

We passed through Knysna, which is close to the above spots. Knysna is located around a beautiful bay and that’s where I would look for accommodation if I was going to add one of those spots to my itinerary. Though we drove on and stayed in the next town, which is...

 

Sedgefield (1-3 nights)

Sedgefield is smaller than Knysna and it’s really laid back. It's actually known as the “Slow Town”. I’m sure you have heard of slow food and Sedgefield is the Slow Town. You’ll find Wild Oats, the oldest farmers market of South Africa in Sedgefield, which is always every Saturday.

The town decided to go totally local, so you won’t find one fast food chain, but only locally owned restaurants and bistros. The area is green and hilly and has a wonderful long beach. The water already has a bigger influence from the cold Atlantic, so it's likely too cold for swimming without wetsuits -- there are some good spots for surfing though. So grab your board or rent one and make sure to hit the waves.

 

Where to stay in Sedgefield

We stayed at the Afrovibe Beach House and it’s definitely a place I would recommend. You don’t have a sea view, which is strange for a house positioned in the second row from the beach, but it has all you need. The hosts also run the Afrovibe Backpackers down the road and they will make sure that you have a good stay. The rooms are cozy and nicely decorated. You’ll find a pool in the garden behind the house, where you can also park your car safely. The breakfast is homely and includes all you need.

 

Where to eat in Sedgefield

A short 10-minute drive from Sedgefield you’ll find Benguela Brasserie & Restaurant. It’s located right at the lake and offers a beautiful view and place to relax in the garden. The restaurant is modern inside and has a bit of a cold atmosphere, but the service was good. The food is upper class and delicious. We had a 5 course meal and though it was more expensive than elsewhere, it was worth it. They have a playground outside at the river, so that it’s also a place for families during the day.

The Beach Restaurant & Cabanas is another place I'd recommend. It’s right at the beach and has a hip atmosphere where you sit outside on the sand behind the dune. They serve some good pizzas and kids love their smoothies.

 

Mossel Bay

You'll be passing Mossel Bay on the N2 and you should definitely plan a stop at the Blue Shed Coffee Roastry. Here you’ll get a really good coffee and some delicious cheese cakes (& others). The shed is close to the harbor and you would normally not expect a funky shed like this in that position. It’s not just called a shed, but is really an old storage hall. Apart from the good coffee and cakes, it’s worth a stop here just because of its atmosphere. All the decorations are mixed up and fits together nicely. Kids will love to play outside, as they also have a small proper boat, which is now the sandbox.

 

AfriCamps Pat Busch

Camping in luxury is called glamping. AfriCamps call their luxury tents Boutique Camping and both descriptions fit perfectly. Their newest camping spots are in Pat Busch, close to Robertson and not too far away from Cape Town. They have 5 tents at the end of the valley and face a mountain range and the Witbosrivier Nature Reserve.

Each tent provides all that you will need or not need… like a heated bed. Yes, it shouldn’t get cold while sleeping. The beds themselves are super comfortable and you won’t feel like you're sleeping on an air mattress, as it’s not. It’s a proper bed, surrounded by tent walls. The bathroom also has all you need, like a proper shower, toilet & wash basin.

There is even a good kitchenette so that you can take care of your own meals. The only thing missing would be a dishwasher, but we are still talking about camping, right? So no need for that.

So with all the luxury, you might wonder if there is still a camping atmosphere and yes there is. The tents are on a wooden deck and when you sit or sleep in them, you hear and feel the surroundings. You’ll hear the birds early in the morning and the chirps at night.

Depending on the season it could get colder in the evening. For those times you’ll have a little oven, which should warm up the tent quickly. In the summer months it could get quite warm and for those periods the tents are equipped with an air-conditioning. Yeah… all well thought through and that’s why it’s called Boutique Camping.

You can order a breakfast basket, which will be delivered in the morning. It has all you need for you to have a good start to the day.

And there is enough to do during the day. On the property is a swimming pool with lots of space around, perfect for some relaxing time or to play some ball. You can rent bicycles to explore the valley or you can head to the small water reservoir and get on one of the kayaks or paddle boats.

There are two hikes of around 4 hours each. One goes steep up onto the bigger hill, over the top and back down through the valley. It’s quite a climb, so we rather decided to go for the other hike.

Also the other hike starts with climbing 5 hills, one straight after the other, with no decline in between. Upfront, it’s worth it! On top you have a beautiful view of the valley and the path takes you straight to the bottom of the mountain range. There you will head back down into a valley and along a little stream and many cool rocks. For the first part you’ll be in the sun, so be prepared for that. The part with the stream is beneath the trees and it’s a fun walk. The whole path is well sign posted so that you shouldn’t get lost. Just take enough water and a snack along and you should be fine.

 

Where to Eat in Robertson

There is no restaurant at AfriCamps Pat Busch itself, though close by there are a few restaurants. We tried our luck but couldn’t reserve tables at short notice as they were closed (Monday night) or had no free tables. A friend recommended us to go to MO & Rose at Soekershof. Go for it and let us know in the comments how you liked it.

We drove to Robertson and had dinner at the Four Cousins Restaurant & Wine Tasting. That was a delicious meal with a chic atmosphere. The prices were good and there was a nice playground for the kids outside.

On the second night we cooked our own meal at the tent, which is what I would recommend. AfriCamps also offers to get you some wood so that you could bbq and enjoy your glamping.

 

Tintswalo Atlantic in Hout Bay, Cape Town

Have you been to Cape Town before or are you looking for unique and special accommodation outside of the city? Then the Tintswalo Atlantic Hotel is your spot. It starts with its address: Chapmans Peak Drive! It seriously lies right beneath one of the most beautiful and stunning roads in the world.

You’ll park your car at the top and a shuttle will bring you down, on a windy and narrow road, to the ocean and your luxury accommodation.

Tintswalo Atlantic Hotel is a cozy and small boutique hotel with 11 rooms. Right from the beginning you feel welcomed and relaxed. The lobby is a spacious living room with big comfortable couches, where you can then sign in on the terrace while drinking a delicious fruit cocktail. The terrace, just like everywhere else, is directly facing the seafront. You might want to stay seated right there, facing Hout Bay and its iconic Sentinel, a rock on the other side of the bay. Don’t! Get up and go check out your room, as it gets better.

All rooms are facing the seafront and are very tastefully designed with high quality and love for the finer details. The bathroom has a big window with a bathtub right in front of it, so that you can look over the bay while taking a bath or shower. On colder nights the staff come in and light the fire, giving the room an even warmer atmosphere. Each room has a different design, based on popular islands around the world.

The way the rooms are positioned give you a great deal of privacy.  A few years ago the whole place burned down and when it got rebuilt the owner was only allowed to do so in a way that fitted into the scenery of the national park which it is situated in. So if you stop at one of the viewpoints on Chapmans Peak Drive and try to spot the Tintswalo Atlantic, you'll really have to know where to look as it's really hard to spot this little oasis.

There is a nice little balcony in front of each room, making the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while listening to the waves. It’s also possible to get a massage in the room. Or if you'd like a quick dip in the pool, it’s heated. Depending on the season, that’s good to have.

The breakfast was really special. It was served in 3 courses, starting with fruit and cereal/muesli, followed by croissants, bread and a good choice of different cheeses. And if you still haven’t had enough, you could have scrambled eggs with bacon or an eggs benedict or another hot breakfast. The juices were freshly pressed and altogether you can expect a high quality in the food and service.

The dinner hit the same high standards and left no wishes open. It’s an open kitchen so that you can directly see how the chefs prepare your meals, and special orders can be made directly with the chefs. The restaurant is also open to the public. Just make sure to reserve a table a few days upfront, as tables are limited to keep a homely and exclusive atmosphere.

I’ve stayed at many different accommodations among all budgets and the Tintswalo Atlantic is definitely one of my favorite ones, even in the luxury segment. Its location plays a key role, followed by a very cozy atmosphere with high standard of products, design and service. The only issue is that smaller kids are not really welcomed, which was a bit sad to see. There is no area where they can play and it sometimes happens that you have to have your dinner in the room or in a separate area in the restaurant. Both are actually not bad options either, but I would recommend to leave the kids at home and rather make it a partner’s only stay to better enjoy your stay.

 

Things to do around Hout Bay, Cape Town

You should definitely take the Chapmans Peak Drive. This road is simply stunning. I recommend driving it approaching from the East, going towards Cape Town. That way you are on the side of the ocean, where it's easier to stop at all of the viewpoints and parking areas. The drive costs a small fee and it’s absolutely worth it. We drove it several times during our stay in Cape Town and I never got tired of it.

On the other side of Hout Bay you’ll find False Bay with its penguin colony in Simon’s Town. I doubt you’ll find many other places in the world where penguins call a beach with boulders their home. There is an entrance fee of around €5 and two pathways which both bring you towards the beach. Most people seem to only choose the straight path, but I recommend to see both as they give you different perspectives of the beach and penguins. Also, on the way you will already see the penguins and their nests. Bring your camera as that’s definitely the spot to shoot photos for your computer’s desktop background.

Have you been to the end of the world? There are actually several places around the world called something similar to that and one of them is the Cape of Good Hope. This is where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meets. And no, it’s not the most Southern point of Africa, that would be Cape Agulhas a bit further East. But let’s ignore that official part and head to the Cape Peninsula National Park. There are two spots you absolutely have to stop at, one is the Cape of Good Hope itself and the other is Cape Point Lower Funicular with its two lighthouses.

Go surfing at Noordhoek or Muizenberg beach. Both beaches are super long and simply beautiful. But they are also cold, so it’s best to wear a wetsuit.

 

Where to eat in or around Hout Bay, Cape Town

We had dinner at the Food Barn, which is part of the Noordhoek Farm Village in Noordhoek. It has some really good meals and the staff were very friendly in a natural way. They are also very kid-friendly and do not mind if some children get a bit louder. And they also have a nice playground just outside. It’s a popular place, so do make a reservation upfront.

What about some fish & chips? Then you should stop in Hout Bay’s harbor at Fish on the Rocks. It’s a popular snack bar close to the Bay Harbor Market, on the opposite side of the beach.

And then there is also the Fisherman’s Restaurant in Kommetjie. It's a good spot on the way back from the Peninsula Cape as it’s pretty much on the way back, just do that extra short detour via Kommetjie. The drive there alone is worth it when coming from the South. It’s a great place to go for lunch or early evening and to sit outside in their garden. It has more of a beer garden atmosphere and if you are lucky, there will be some live music too. The fish is excellent and there are enough options on the menu. The prices are also really good.

 

Stellenbosch (2-4 nights)

Just an hour drive from Cape Town and you are in Africa’s top wine destination. The climate is perfect to harvest some excellent wines and it’s up to you to try them all. There are so many places to recommend in Stellenbosch that I would recommend reading more about it here.

 

Cape Town (3-5 nights)

This city with its well-known Table Mountain is simply awesome. Its location is so unique that only a few other big cities in the world can offer similar stunning scenery. The city has so much to offer, starting with the Waterfront with the Two Oceans Aquarium, many restaurants and shops, Bo-Kaap with its colorful houses, its popular beaches in Camps Bay and Clifton or its scenery landscape with the Table Mountain, Signal Hill and Lion’s Head. Find all the travel tips about Cape Town here.

 

We didn't stay in the center of Cape Town as we've been here a few times before. That's why we decided to stay in the surrounding area. First we stayed in Hout Bay and then headed to Stellenbosch. Both are good spots to experience the Western Cape.

Our trip was super and I would plan it exactly the same way again. All our accommodation was good to fabulous. The stops we chose were also really good, though there are soooo many more which are also worth seeing. Find out more about South Africa here and share your own travel tips. Simply register for free.

 

Travel tip shared by Melvin for Travel Dudes.