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Cape Town to Johannesburg a 3, 4-week travel guide through South Africa

South Africa contains multitudes of people, landscapes, wildlife, and cultures. With three weeks to explore, you'll travel through the highlights of contemporary Cape Town, beach towns of the Wild Coast, and animal attractions in Addo Elephant National Park and Kruger National Park, if you have more time I really recommend taking a trip to the Drakensberg to and travel more slowly, as 3 weeks, will never be enough to see all the beauty of this country.

Chapmans peak drive

Breathtaking Cape Town to Johannesburg Road Trip Itinerary

South Africa is overwhelming. It may have earned its “Rainbow Nation” nickname for the variety of tribes, cultures, and races who call it home, but it applies just as well to the country’s unbelievable diversity of landscapes, plants, animals, food, and drink. There’s just so much, too much, to see and experience. And there’s no better way to experience it than with a road trip.

Quite a few well-touristed routes, like the Garden Route, the Panorama Route, Route 62, the Midlands Meander, and the Cape Flower Route, exist but each limits you to a certain region, maybe one or two colors of the Rainbow, so to speak. We take you on a road trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg that will take you through mountains, deserts, oceans, wineries, forests, and everything in between.


  • Day 1 to 5 Stay at least 5 days in Capetown

  • Day 5 to 13 Drive the Garden Route

  • Day 5 to 7 Cape Town to Hermanus

  • Day 7 to 9 Hermanus to De Hoop Nature reserve

  • Day 9 to 11 De Hoop to Knysna

  • Day 11 to 13 Knysna to Addo

  • Day 13 Port Elizabeth fly to Durban

  • Day 13 to 15 St Lucia

  • Day 15 to 18 Safari Kruger

  • Day 18 to 20 Panorama route

  • Day 20 Drive to the airport

  • Day 21 Fly Back Home

Lisbon Falls Panorama route

Day 1 to 5 Stay at least 5 days in Capetown

I kind of feel like Cape Town has it all: beaches, mountains, colorful neighborhoods, and vineyards, all blended together to make one beautiful city. Having traveled all around the world, it is without hesitation that I still say that Cape Town is the world’s most naturally beautiful city. The contrast between the mountains, ocean, and beach is unlike anything else I’ve seen. There are so many stunning things to see and activities to do in and around Cape Town, it’s no wonder Nelson Mandela said “The Cape is South Africa’s gift to the world”. More Capetown

The Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront


The Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront is a beautiful seaside hotel. From this hotel, you will see striking ocean views. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle bus to and from the Cape Town Waterfront. Treat yourself to both local and international dishes at the on-site Tobago’s Restaurant, where you can enjoy your meal with a stunning ocean view. Alternatively, you can relax next to the heated rim-flow pool while having a cocktail at Tobago’s Bar & Terrace. You may spot dolphins swimming past while you are eating! Rooms are around 300 a night depending on the season

Located in Cape Town’s trendy suburb of Green Point, Dysart is a 5-star Boutique Hotel offering luxurious and stylish accommodations. The small Hotel has 10 rooms and is just minutes from the V&A Waterfront and De Waterkant. Rooms are around 120 Euro a night depending on the season.

Flanked by South Africa’s iconic Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles mountain range, the stunning Twelve Apostles hotel is on the scenic route just outside of “central” Cape Town. Built around a Dutch-style hunting lodge dating back to 1929, it’s made up of three low-rise, white-washed buildings, connected by skylit walkways with a stay at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town (Oudekraal), you'll be within a 5-minute drive of Table Mountain National Park and Camps Bay Beach. Rooms are around 300 Eur a night depending on the season

This little slice of heaven is a premier location, offering luxury accommodation surrounded by natural Fynbos and a private pathway to the Beach. With uninterrupted views of Table Mountain, Table Bay, Robben Island, and the Atlantic Ocean as far as the eye can see

Situated 20 minutes from central Cape Town, so you aren’t too far from the hustle and bustle of the city but are far enough to get a little breathing room and enjoy the peace and quiet of Sunset Beach. Rooms are around 120 a night depending on the season

Perfectly located pet-friendly lifestyle Suites slap bang in between the bustle of Sea Point’s social hub – with top eateries, Sea Point promenade, V&A Waterfront, and all the buzz of Cape Town’s CBD right here on your doorstep, it’s the hippest place to hang. Rooms are around 120 a night depending on the season

View over Camps Bay Cape Town

Day 5 to 13 Drive the Garden Route

The Garden Route runs parallel to a coastline featuring lakes, mountains, tall indigenous forests, amber-colored rivers, and golden beaches. Meandering trails are followed by hikers, the forests invite long, leisurely drives, and the lakes and rivers lend themselves to swimming boating, and fishing. A wide range of leisure options, spectacular scenery, and a mild climate guarantee an unforgettable holiday experience when visiting the Garden Route in South Africa. The coastal drive links a series of charming towns interspersed with natural beauty.

View over Knysna

Day 5 to 7 Cape Town to Hermanus

Travel through multiple nature reserves and mountain ranges, before coming out to the coastal area of Hermanus, Don't forget to stop at Kogelbay.

Hermanus this town is known as the Whale Capital, as it is a great place to do some whale watching, spotting these gentle beasts is greater during the winter and spring seasons. An alternative to whale watching is the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, a beautiful area with plenty of flora, fauna, and walking trails with a stunning view of Walker Bay.


Stay: Mosaic Lagoon Lodge

Nestled between the ocean and the mountains, in the heart of Stanford, you will find this gem called Mosaic Lagoon Lodge. It is filled with unique birds and plants. Here you will eat, sleep, relax, get active, spend time at the spa, eat more and relax some more. I don’t know how else to describe it, because it is just that. Mosaic Lagoon Lodge is a great stop if you do the garden route or whale coast, it's some of the most beautiful roads in the world. The intimate 5-star lagoon lodge only has 5 suites, which really makes it unique and exclusive.

Mosaic Lagoon Lodge

On arrival, you are greeted by the lushes greenery and offered a welcome drink by the friendly staff. Each room is fitted with a rain shower and bathtub with lovely Kalahari products to freshen up which is really great after a day filled with lots of activities. Eating at Mosaic is a special occasion. The chef creates each plate with fresh ingredients and you have a few options to choose from when it comes to dinner. I really loved the Salmon for my main course. Breakfast is special, as it comes with a beautiful view. Fresh fruits and yogurt fill your plate as the hot breakfast is being prepared for your taste buds. Stay at least 2,3 nights as there are a lot of activities around the property

Mosaic Lagoon Lodge

Located in the heart of Hermanus, Perla is a secured complex of five exclusive self-catering apartments. Each luxurious apartment sleeps a maximum of four people, with the complex catering for a maximum of 20 guests. Ideal for a romantic getaway, a holiday with a group of friends, a family get-together, or even for the lone traveler. Perla Hermanus truly is the perfect accommodation in Hermanus.

Day 7 to 9 Hermanus to De Hoop Nature reserve

Drive to Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa. Here you can visit the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, the third oldest in South Africa and the second oldest still in use today. You can go to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy some excellent views of the sea and the surrounding coastal area. From here, drive to De Hoop Nature reserve for a few days at the beautiful ocean

De Hoop Nature reserve

De Hoop is one of the largest natural areas managed by Cape Nature. This beautiful reserve is a favorite for hikers, cyclists, and bird and whale watchers. The reserve, which is 34 000 hectares, is just three hours from Cape Town, in the Overberg The neighboring marine reserve, which extends 5km out to sea, is one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa. It conserves a vast and fascinating variety of marine life. The reserve is a World Heritage Site.

Lekkerwater beach lodge


De Hoop Collection These beautiful thatched 2-bedroomed cottages have a living area with a well-equipped kitchen and cozy fireplace, and a bathroom serviced with linen and towels. Catered and self-catered options are available. The cottages are private and have partial views of the Vlei.

The Opstal Vlei Cottages form part of the Opstal area, which offers the largest amount of accommodation in the De Hoop Collection and is close to the hub of central offices, restaurants, bars,s and curio shops. It is a short drive, hike, or cycle to many of the interesting locations in the reserve. There is a tennis court, swimming pool and boules courtyard.

Day 9 to 11 De Hoop to Knysna

What to do in Knysna?

Knysna has an abundance of amazing things to do with so many opportunities to explore the natural surroundings. Here are some of the best things to do during your stay.

Knysna Heads

Visit the Knysna Heads

The Knysna Lagoon is Knysna’s crowning glory and the best place to view it is from the top of the Knsyna Heads. The Knysna Heads are two hills that act as the gate entrance from the ocean to the Knysna Lagoon. The West Head is private property and so pretty much impossible to access (you can, however, drive up to Margret’s viewpoint and get a view from the West side of the lagoon). The East Head is where the action is really at. You can type ‘Knysna Heads viewport parking’ or ‘East Head View Point’ into Google maps and it’ll take you to the top of the hill. From the parking, you just walk a few meters and you’ll see the sign indicating the viewing spots. There are about four different viewing points which each gives you a different perspective and views over the lagoon, the West Head, and the Indian Ocean.


Knysna Waterfront

The waterfront is a lively area chock-full of Knysna’s best restaurants and an array of shops selling everything from clothes to jewelry to souvenirs. It’s a lovely place to do some retail therapy, take a relaxing stroll, eat the freshest seafood imaginable, and of course, admire all the lavish yachts in the marina.

Knoetsie beach

Castles of Noetzie

Knysna is probably the last place you’ll expect to see castles. But just on the outskirts of town, you’ll find Noetzie – a charming cove home to a beautiful beach and several cool-looking castles.

Noetzie is a unique place to visit in Knysna and quite a hidden gem. With the castles and thick forest of the Sinclair Nature Reserve behind you and the sandy beach and blue waters of the Indian Ocean in front of you, the setting here is absolutely breathtaking.

There are only a handful of castles along the pristine beach, creating a really romantic atmosphere. Unfortunately, the castles are actual residences, so you won’t be able to have a peek inside. Nonetheless, it’s still a great place to have a wonderfully unique experience and see the castles for yourself. Although the beach is not very big, it’s perfect for basking in the sun, enjoying a picnic, or cooling off in the water. Just a heads up, don’t go in too deep as the currents are very unpredictable here!

Pezula Nature Hotel & Spa


Located on the Eastern Head of Knysna, surrounded by a lush paradise of indigenous forests, mountains, lakes, and pristine beaches, the hotel offers unsurpassed luxury on South Africa’s iconic Garden Route. With a Championship Golf Course on your doorstep, luxurious suites, a Wellness Quarter, and a restaurant focused on locally sourced dining to enjoy, it’s easy to see why Pezula Nature Hotel & Spa should be your Knysna luxury hotel of choice.

Pezula Nature Hotel & Spa

Day 11 to 13 Knysna to Addo

Addo Elephant Park is one of the most visited game parks in South Africa. But does it live up to the hype? What to expect plus tips for your visit. Located an hour from the city of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Addo Elephant Park should not be missed on a Safari In South Africa. As the third largest park in the country, it’s well known for, you guessed it, the 700 elephants who reside in the park. More about our trip to Addo

Addo Elephant park


We stayed at Addowildlife as it's just a few minutes drive to the gate of Addo Elephant Park.

Situated about 40 minutes from Port Elizabeth, Addo Wildlife is the perfect place for a getaway. Experience a sense of tranquility whether it’s pristine accommodation or a meal at Tangelo Restaurant. Take a glimpse into the rich diversity of life in the wildlife center or enjoy a close encounter with many local animal species on a game drive. Whether it’s just the two of you or a family, be entertained by the surroundings of Addo.


We would suggest you should at least spend 2 days here in Addo if your time allows so that you don’t have to rush on things & to understand the diversity of this beautiful park which is packed with Safari and game drive thrills and adventures.

Addo Wildlife

Garden route trip facts

Start/End Location: Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth, or vice versa.

Distance:300 kilometers length

Time: Recommended self-drive tours start at 3 days and range up to 14 days. It all depends on how much time you have and how many stops you want to make.

Best time to go: Summer (November – March) has the warmest weather and is the most popular time to visit. To beat the Christmas holiday crowds, we recommend visiting in late summer/early fall, between February and April. Spring September to October on the other hand offers fantastic opportunities for whale watching.

Day 13 Port Elizabeth fly to Durban

Safair and British Airways offer direct flights from Port Elizabeth to Durban. Flights are typically scheduled for late afternoons or evenings.

From Durban, you can go to the Drakensberg if you have time or a few days, St Lucia we did both as we had time for 6 weeks. As most people choose to go to St Lucia we will focus on that

Drakensberg hike

Day 13 to 15 St Lucia

The small town of St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa is a beautiful and serene holiday destination with great weather and a variety of activities, a well-equipped village in the heart of Zululand. Despite its popularity, it has retained a quaint atmosphere over the years.

Hippo in St Lucia South Africa

St Lucia’s abundant wildlife and natural beauty made it South Africa’s very first World Heritage Site, listed by UNESCO in 1999. The small town sits on the southern end of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa, and makes for a great base to explore this wildlife haven. Just 2.5 hours from Durban, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal. It offers a warm tropical climate year-round with the warm Indian Ocean and golden beaches just on the edge of town. More about our trip to St Lucia

Sundowner during safari

Day 15 till 18 Safari Kruger

Sidenote you still can do Safaris on a budget, I really recommend a stay at Africamps as its the best budget option South African safari lodges are some of the most exquisite and luxurious in all of Africa – when it comes to the quality of the décor, food, and guides South Africa’s safari lodges have been way ahead for quite some time. We love traveling there since you have some of the most dramatic and best game viewing in the world, and also have access to some of the world’s most exclusive and luxurious safari properties. There are many to choose from but here we outline some of our favorite safari lodges South Africa has to offer. More about the luxury Safari stays we did

Blyde River Canyon Panorama route

Day 18 till 20 Panorama route

The Panorama Route is undoubtedly one of the most stunning drives in South Africa. The route traverses the Mpumalanga Region in the northeastern section of the Drakensberg Mountains along the R532, with breathtaking views of mountain scenery, picturesque waterfalls, and a huge canyon. All these natural wonders make the Panorama Route an epic drive to undertake. More about the panorama route



AfriCamps at Mackers, Nestled in the Lowveld between Hazyview and Sabie is the perfect place to relax and explore the beautiful Mpumalanga bush, the breathtaking Panorama Route, and the untamed Kruger National Park area. The camp is perfect for families, couples, or close friends who want to break away from the busy city, looking for peace and tranquility without breaking the bank!

AfriCamps at Mackers

Day 20 Drive to the airport

From the panorama route its about 4 hour's drive to the airport

Stay at Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg as it is just 2 minutes from the airport and they have a secure free parking

Day 21 Fly Back home

As you can see 21 days is very tight but you're able to see a lot of the country, but I always recommend taking more time if you have the chance. And maybe consider visite the Drakensberg region as it's very beautiful for hiking, during summer it's like you walking in the Scottish highlands. Have a good flight home

Here are some resources to help you get your trip going:

Flights: WayAway to start looking for cheap flights and great deals from your home country.

Accommodation: Hostelworld,, and are the ultimate go-to platforms to search for amazing hostels and hotels at affordable prices.

Car Rental: is a great and reliable platform to find rental cars all over the world.

Internet: Airalo is the best way to get a sim card and has reliable internet access for your trip. All you need is an Esim-compatible smartphone, install it on your phone prior to your trip, and you are all set.

Day Trips & Tours: Viator, and GetYourGuide, are great platforms to search for activities to do

Tickets & Deals: Tiqets is always my go-to website when I want to find cheaper deals for entrance tickets to tourist attractions

Klook to find the best deals for trips in Asia, somehow they are 30% cheaper than when you buy them at a local agency

Train, buses, and ferries 12Go to find your travel route for local buses, and ferries, we use them all the time as you can easily see the reviews, and the vouchers are everywhere accepted. tickets are sold for more than 5,000 destinations in 100+ countries worldwide.


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