Garden Route Itinerary: Best of South Africa in 12 days

Discover the perfect Garden Route Itinerary for a 12 day trip to South Africa.

It’s tough to sum up a South Africa road trip in 12 days! South Africa offers pretty much everything from mountains to grasslands, lagoons to hiking, wildlife safaris to ostrich farms, good wine and food. There is so much to be done and to be seen! We suggest you pick and choose what interests you the most, in the amount of time that you have.

This sample itinerary covers a road trip to Garden route, Cape Town & Wineries.

alawyersvoyage Garden rOUTE


The country is divided into nine different provinces. The Western Cape is the most popular province where you will find Cape Town, the Garden Route and good wineries.

The Garden route is South Africa’s best-known road trip route and it does not fail to impress its visitors. It comprises the best picturesque 300 km stretch of the N2 highway between Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and the Storms River Mouth on the Western fringes of the Eastern Cape.


Port Elizabeth/George (1 day) – Kynsna (3 days) – Oudtshoorn (2 days) – Swellendum (1 day) – Hermanus (1 day) – Cape Town (4 days).

It doesn’t really matter if your garden Route starts from east to west or west to east. Few Itineraries will have you spend few days in Cape Town and set off for a drive and few, vice-versa. You can choose your fly-in fly out stops according to your budget and choose the route. 🙂   


Unlike Asia and Europe, there isn’t much public transportation in South Africa. Self-driving in South Africa is inexpensive and the best way to explore the country. You can compare the Car rentals here.


Day 1: Port Elizabeth (Eastern cape) or George Airport or Johannesburg:

Depending upon the time in hand and your interest, arrive at one of the above Airports.

If you are a wildlife enthusiast, spare a day or two and take a trip to The Addo National Park (if arriving at Port Elizabeth) or Kruger National Park (if arriving at Johannesburg). There is nothing more surreal than an African safari. However, if you have already done Kenyan safari, you may want to skip these ones.

Day 2-4 : Knysna

At a distance of about 261 Kms (3 Hours) from Port Elizabeth, we suggest you to travel through the Tsitsikamma Forest and along the coastal route of Knysna.

A Boat cruise at Knysna Lagoon is recommended. Take excursions to Plattenberg Bay and bunjee jump from the famous Bloukarn’s bridge or simply walk the bridge!

Read our blog on 12 Highest Bungee Jumping locations in the world.

Day 5-6: Oudtshoorn

alawyersvoyage ostrich farm South Africa

Ostrich Farm

At a distance of 119 Kms (2 hours), arrive in Oudtshoorn, South Africa’s Ostrich farming industry. However, if you are looking for riding ostriches for pictures, please note that many farms have scrapped the these rides due to sensitive reasons and to abide by the rules and regulations as laid down by the authority. The good news is that visitors  now get on to a trailer with seats, drawn by a tractor/train. The tractor/train drives very close to the ostriches and visitors can enjoy this close-up of the birds.

Tour the famous Cango Caves, the natural wonder located in the limestone cliffs, just outside Oudtshoorn.

If beaches and hiking interests you, visit Mossel Bay. This town is exactly between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. You will find multiple hiking trails with gorgeous views and historical sites.

Day 7: Swellendam

alawyersvoyage Swellendam South Africa


Swellendam, the most beautiful town of South Africa, is at a distance of about 221Kms (3 Hours) and is a great stopover place. This town has lovely hotels and apartments. We strongly recommend to stay at Gaikou Lodge. You can also opt for a wine tour. Check the Information.

Day 8: Hermanus

alawyersvoyage Whale watching Hermanus

Hermanus- Whale watching

At a distance of about 141 Kms (2 Hours), Hermanus is known to be the Whale capital! The best time to spot Whales is between July to September. Hermanus has lots to offer for adventurous souls! People usually take a day trip to this spot. Depending upon your itinerary, you may either choose to spend a night or do a day trip.

Day 9-12: Cape Town

alawyersvoyage cape-town

Cape Town

Cape Town, “The Mother City”, is located on the shores of Table Bay with gorgeous Table Mountain, creating a stunning backdrop for the city.

The top things to do in Cape Town will be – taking a helicopter ride, hiking a mountain, visiting Robben Island, driving Chapman’s peak, enjoying meal at Boulders beach with Penguins, watching sunset from Signal Hill, walking around the most photographed area- Bo-Kaap, exploring Cape of Good Hope, exploring V&A waterfront, Going wine tasting in Constantia.

You can spare a day to visit some wine regions being Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, the perfect little towns with its stunning mountain landscapes and sprawling vineyards.

Day 13: Depart from Cape Town

Board your flight back home from Cape Town airport, with some unforgettable memories!

Typical Costs

A two weeks road trip requires fair bit of a planning, knowing the diversity of South Africa. The good news is that it’s easy to find something to suit all budgets.  The Conversion: 1 ZAR = INR 5 (approximately).

The approximate cost breakdown is as follows:


We prefer having a combination stay involving self-catering apartments and hotels. Mid-range accommodations will cost around approximately INR 3500-4000 per day. Hostels accommodations will cost cheaper, around INR 800-1000. If you aren’t big fans of hostels, try Airbnb.


Eating out is not very pricey. INR 1000-1500 per person, per meal. However, if you want to save some cost, going to supermarkets and buying pre-made meals is a good option.




Car Rental & Fuel

Car Rental: Major renting companies like Budget, Hertz, Avis, Bidavest and Europcar is available. Depending upon the car and the rental company, INR 2000+ per day (approximately) including Insurance and one-way drop off fee.

Fuel cost (petrol): INR 72 per litre (as on Dec 2018).


Sightseeing & Activities

Depending upon the season, sightseeing places, will cost (in aggregate) around INR 15000-20,000. Extreme activities like Shark cage diving, paragliding and skydiving will cost around INR 8000-10,000 per person.


Best time to go

There’s no bad time to go to South Africa but certainly some months are better! Depending upon type of holiday you are looking for, Cape town is fantastic to visit between ‘January to April’ (Summer). The period between ‘October to December’ is pleasant and good for a beach holiday.

South Africa is a year-round destination due to its varying regional climates. Garden Route and Eastern Cape expect rains during anytime of the year.

Essential Information & Tips

1. ATM & Credit Cards: ATMs are widely found in this country and Credit Cards are widely accepted except some small establishments.

2. Electrical Adapters: South Africa uses 3 round pin plug.

3. Food: The major supermarkets are Segwagwa Cash & Carry, 7 Eleven and Spar.

4. Water: The quality of tap water in South Africa is inconsistent and depends on the location. We wouldn’t recommend to drink tap water.

5. Tipping: Tipping in restaurants is customarily followed and is about 10% of the total bill. Many restaurants will add 10% of service charge to the bill if number of guests exceeds six.

6. Vaccinations & Yellow Fever: There are no compulsory vaccinations as such that are required for a trip to South Africa. There is no risk of Yellow fever in South Africa. The government of South Africa requires proof of yellow fever only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. Check countries with risk of yellow fever.  In case you are going for a safari (depending upon the location), consult with your doctor as regards the shots that will have to be taken. South Africa has mosquito borne disease (Dengue fever and Chikangunya).

7. Water shortage: Cape Town has severe water problem and there are water shortages in many parts of South Africa. Most of the hotels/establishments will have little water in their bathrooms.

8. Extreme Activities: Many of the same activities offered in Cape Town is are available in further east coast for a cheaper price. For example, paragliding cost in Cape Town is almost twice the amount what it costs in Mossel Bay. Do your research well before heading for any activities.

9. Parking: Parking availability is a problem in major cities. Parking garages with some fee is a option that you will have to choose.

There you go with our suggested South Africa Itinerary that will impress you with its breathtaking scenery, mountains, exhilarating wildlife, adrenaline activities and some of the best wines. Are you planning a trip too? We can help you personalise it. Let us connect!