Durban to Cape Town 1 week road trip
Updated: May 6, 2020
What better way to begin our new life abroad than a week long road trip starting in Durban and driving all the way to Cape Town! We were both still unemployed so it seemed like a good time to get an extra mini holiday in (on a budget of course!) and see a bit more of South Africa. We drove through Kwazulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape, covering a total of almost 2000 km. We hiked mountains and through forests, swam in rivers and in the sea, found some great places to stay and beautiful beaches to relax on.
All of this was with our 4 massive suitcases and life belongings squashing into our little hire car! It wouldn't be fun if we made it simple for ourselves!
This place was INCREDIBLE. The scenery. The sunsets. The wonderful hiking routes. The peacefulness. WOW! I really can’t wait to take another trip here, there is so much more that we would like to see and explore.
We stayed for 2 nights at Bushman’s Nek, which was a 3 1/2 hour drive from Durban airport. The last hour was pretty bumpy, but we were fine in our two wheel drive, low ground clearance, hire car (just a bit jiggled around)! The accommodation was perfect, surrounded by mountains and close to the start of a range of hiking trails. There are so many trails to choose from, varying in length and difficulty, with lots of waterfalls, rivers and caves to explore along the way.
We did one long day hike (~8 hours), took a picnic with us, lots of water and sun cream and enjoyed a day of magnificent views and cooling river swims when we got too hot.
Our favourite place to relax was the outdoor pool and restaurant area and every morning and evening we would watch the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The colours over the mountains were stunning.
We left the Drakensberg early in the morning and had a long hot day on the road. It was a pretty drive with rolling roads and the hills were dotted with small villages and mud huts painted in bright colours. I quickly got used to dodging cows, goats and pot holes!! It was interesting and a lovely part of the country to see, however, some of the traffic was terrible- we would get stuck behind queues of big lorries and it would be very difficult to overtake on the one lane, windy roads. After being in the the car for 8 hours, with just one petrol stop, and covering almost 500 km, we were very happy to arrive at this peaceful spot just outside of East London.
We stayed in the Aloe Guest House for one night, the owners made us feel very much at home, and we left feeling recharged and relaxed the following morning. We had a view overlooking the river from our own private deck where we enjoyed watching warthogs, birds and a pretty sunset! The beach was only a short walk away and we had a lovely stroll and a quick swim the morning before we left. We even got to borrow their dog for the morning, who showed us the way down the footpath to the beach!
Six house after leaving Glengariff we arrived in Nature's Valley. This was our only stop along the 'garden route' and the scenery had become much lusher. We had been here before and were really looking forward to spending a couple of nights at Wild Spirit Backpackers, hidden away in the forest. Our stay here was fantastic- simplistic, great views overt the valley and felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. It was lovely to start the day with an outdoor shower and breakfast on the deck.
We did a wonderful hike through the indigenous forest and along the dramatic coastline of the Tsitsikamma National Park. I loved the views and was very excited when I spotted whales in the distance and seals playing in the surf!
It was a last minute decision to stop here, rather than driving straight to Cape Town, and I'm very glad we did it. For the drive alone it was worth it! We stopped at The Lookout Deck in Plett for some brunch and then took Route 339 (turning just before Knysna) and then onto Route 62. The mountain passes were amazing and the roads were so quite. We didn't see another car for hours!
We stayed in the The Barn Swallows Nest for one night and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the Klein Karoo.
During our final day, which was a 4 1/2 hour drive, from Calitzdorp to Cape Town, we stopped off at a few cool places that I would recommend if you're in the area!
Ronnie's Sex Shop (Just before Barrydale, and no its nothing to do with sex!)- A fun pub that has become a popular stop along the R62. It was the result of friendly prank! The owners annoyance soon disappeared when he realised the change in name was helping bring customers to his farm stool. So sex really does sell!
Diesel and Creme (Barrydale)- a vintage diner with a cool American vibe. They do the best milkshakes!
All in all...
That wraps up our awesome Durban to Cape Town 1 week road trip and we have fallen in love with South Africa and can’t wait to explore more of it! We have definitely only scratched the surface of this fantastic country, but we managed to tick off a few places that have been on our travel list for a while. A great road trip which has given us lots of wonderful memories to start our new life here. I would recommend giving yourself a week as the minimum time for this road trip. It would just feel too rushed otherwise because there is a lot of distance to cover.
Comment bellow or send me a message if you have any questions or would like some advice about a similar trip you might be planning!