Summer holidays in South Africa has always been about the road trip. Pack up the bags – and the kids – throw them in the back (boot and back seat respectively) and head out on an epic voyage of discovery.
Taking a trip from Gqeberha to the Mother City? Make the most of it with this four-day road trip jammed in along the way.
📍STOP 1: Plettenberg Bay
Just over two hours or just under three? Doesn’t matter, because your first stop is just quick jaunt from Gqeberha. Get an early start and you can roll in mid-morning and spend some time enjoying this iconic coastal town.
WAKE UP with FaceAdrenaline
Take a leap of faith and let it all out as you take on the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee jump. Based at Bloukrans River Bridge on the border between the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, this is definitely going to wake you up after the drive.
Take a sneak peak on TikTok
BRUNCH at The Lookout
Forego the padkos (and why would you eat before the bungee?) and hit one of Plett’s best spots with an empty stomach. Smash the breakfast if you arrive in time or choose from any one of the seafood dishes or the grill. The food here is top notch and so is the view, which looks out onto, you guessed it: Lookout Beach. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try one of their desserts… you’re going to need to some energy for the rest of the day.
EXPLORE Robberg Peninsula
Walk off that meal while enjoying striking views over Plett. Cliffs covered in fynbos disappear into the ocean, with wide sandy beaches and seal colony finishing it all off. Trail lengths vary from 2 to 9-kilometres.
STAY at Emily Moon Boutique
Built on the banks of the Bitou River, Emily Moon River Lodge is as distinct as it is luxurious. It’s quirky, African décor and eclectic layout make it a visual dynamo and luxury all round. Choose from one of six superior luxury suites, eight luxury suites and two family suites, all featuring rare artefacts collected from the owner’s travels through Africa an beyond; relax by the pool or enjoy a session at the spa, maybe even try out the game-room, all before settling in for a world class dinner at Emily Moon restaurant.
📍STOP 2: Knysna-Wilderness
REFUEL at Trinity Coffee in Knysna
Whether you've enjoyed a breakfast at Emily Moon, or decided to hold out for for later in the day, on these roadtrips, coffee is a to you is like fuel to your car. Make sure to get a top up en-route. Trinity Coffee in an artisan roastery nestled away in a coastal town of Knysna. Their new shop in The Foundation also has a collective of local shops with hand-crafted and beautiful items to browse, as well as a yoga studio (if someone in the car needs to decompress...).
MISSION to Wilderness
After the quick pitstop, make your way to one of the most beautiful towns on the Garden Route – if not the whole of the Western Cape. Wilderness has kept its small-town charm, while building up a treasure trove of experiences to enjoy.
FLY OVER Wilderness
Experience a bird’s eye view of Wilderness in all its glory! Launching from the Map of Africa, flying over Dolphin Point, the tandem-paraglide is as exhilarating as it is safe, and you may even get to do some aerial whale-watching if you time it right. For those that would be more comfortable, Fly-Time also has qualified female pilots.
STAY at AfriCamps at Oakhurst
Spend the rest of your day holed up at the AfriCamps site at Oakhurst, one of the last remaining working farms on the Garden Route, spanning a massive 640 hectares, 200 of which is pristine fynbos and indigenous forest.
This is glamping at its finest, with the eight tents overlooking beautiful green fields, with the Outeniqua Mountains providing the backdrop. There is plenty of outdoor activities to keep you and the family occupied, with everything from fishing to mountain biking on the cards.
📍STOP 3: Barrydale-Swellendam
Detour through Barrydale. Yes, it’s quite the detour, but no road trip is complete without a few wrong turns and if you planned it, is it a wrong turn? We promise you, it’s worth it. Route 62 is one of the most iconic in South Africa, and your pit stop for the day one of the books.
REFUEL at Diesel and Crème
Diesel and Crème is almost as iconic as the route its found on. Based in Barrydale, it is a feast for the eyes, with an eclectic look and feel to it, but more importantly it is a feast for the taste buds with its gourmet milkshakes reaching near-legendary status amongst road-trippers. The burgers here are also great, but you may struggle to finish both at one sitting! May we recommend you go with a shake on the way up, and a burger on the way down?
Here's a taste of the infamous milkshakes on TikTok
DRIVE to Swellendam
After the feast, it’s time to make your way down to Swellendam in the Cape Overberg. One of the oldest towns in SA, it’s the perfect place to unwind after some time on the road.
EXPLORE Marloth Mountain Nature Reserve
One of the most unspoilt reserves in the country, Marloth Mountain Nature Reserve, is also arguably one of the most unheralded. Hidden away in the imposing Swellendam Mountains, Marloth is a gem of a reserve with some of the best hikes in the country, including the six-day Swellendam Trail, which is a must for serious hikers. Spend your afternoon exploring this magical reserve before heading off to your accommodation for the night.
STAY at A Log Home
Nothing says Swellendam quite like A Log Home. This self-catering log cabin is perfect for families, with plenty of room to spare. Take advantage of the large, open area at the back, fire up the pit and enjoy a drink and a braai, soaking in the majesty of the surrounding area.
📍STOP 4: Hermanus
One last stop on your road trip and where better than the heart of the Cape Whale Coast, Hermanus?
TASTE with Hermanus Wine Hoppers
Yes, Hermanus is famed for its land-based whale watching, but it also boasts an incredible wine route. Hop-on Hop-off safari-style and discover the boutique wineries of the beautiful Hemel & Aarde Valley in a truly unforgettable way. This often underrated route is home to the likes of Bouchard Finlayson, Sumaridge, Creation, Newton Johnson, and Hamilton Russell, all of which offer something totally unique and inspiring.
LUNCH at Fick’s Pinchos and Wine
One of the most popular spots in town, Fick’s Restaurant boasts an enviable location at the historic Fick’s Pool at Gearing’s Point. Get stuck into their range of Pinchos, small plates inspired by a Northern Spain cuisine. Order a variety of plates and enjoy it with a glass of wine or a cocktail on the deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in all its splendour.
STAY at One Marine Drive Boutique
This stylish boutique hotel is not far from Fick’s Pool – meaning you can enjoy your time at the latter before making your way back for the evening – and is also just a leisurely stroll from the town centre, which itself is jam-packed with some great spots for a light bite should you still need something to nibble on or a night cap (or two).
📍STOP 5: Cape Town
Enjoy a slow start to the day at this perfectly located hotel, ease into breakfast, and walk it off along the famed cliffside walks of Hermanus before packing up and heading off towards Cape Town and the rest of your stay in the Western Cape. And remember, you’ll never get to see it all in one trip, so make sure to keep an eye out for more suggestions for your next visit.
EXPLORE the Mother City
There is so much to see, do and taste in Cape Town.
- Breath of fresh air:
For those that plan to enjoy the summer days on the beach, be sure to try Cape Town's blue-flag beaches, and must-try surf spots. To explore the greener side of the city, visit the various parks and gardens, as well as the nature reserves. Or take a hike and climb one of these 7 spectacular day trails, or get your steps in by walking the promenade or meandering in Muizenberg.
- Get the heart-racing:
For the adrenaline junkies, try some of the inner-city adventures, including activities like Signal Hill's tandem-paragliding, amongst many others!
- Craving culture?
Our academics can learn about the history with guided tours of Cape Town, its lighthouses, and even its shipwrecks. For the culture and art enthusiasts, if you've missed the infamous First Thursdays, be sure to explore the local art world or you can get crafty in the cape too!
- Working remotely?
For those that need a spot to WFH but out the house, visit these coffee shops.