Driving from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth

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Oct 12th, 2004, 12:34 PM
  #1
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Driving from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth

Can a person drive from CT to PE and back, allowing time to enjoy whatever there is to see there (what IS there to see there?) If it's not feasible or ir it's too rushed to try to do this in one day, what about driving there, spending the night and returning the next day?
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Oct 12th, 2004, 01:44 PM
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Hello DejaDeb,

The distance from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth is 760 km (470 miles).

My family members, who routinely travel between PE and CT, do it in a day in one direction. It's considered to be a hard day's drive. The distance in miles doesn't tell the full story. Part of the route (the section in the Tsitsikama Forest comes immediately to mind) is quite winding. I do not know anyone who has done the round trip in two consecutive days. And I certainly don't know a first time visitor who has done CT - PE in a single day.

The section of the coast from Mossel Bay through George, Wilderness, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay to the Storms River Bridge and the Tsitsikama Forest is pretty, and is known as the Garden Route.

In addition to the attractive coastline itself, there are a couple of attractive and/or interesting sights a little way inland from the coast, and many travellers consider these inland spots to be worth a detour.

The best of the inland detours is the Swartberg Pass between Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert.

Oudtshoorn is a tourist destination for a couple of reasons -- the nearby Cango Caves and the ostrich farms. Many people consider these two things to be too "touristy." I guess it depends on one's own taste. I personally think the Cango Caves are awesome.

Here is a previous discussion thread in which Selwyn Davidowitz provided an excellent itinerary for Cape Town, the nearby winelands, and the Garden Route:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34477003

I would not drive the Garden Route in both directions. I would drive one way, and then fly out.

Although Selwyn provided an itinerary for CT - PE, it is not his preferred direction. He says Cape Town is more impressive than the Garden Route so, if possible, a traveller should do the Garden Route first and THEN see Cape Town. Well, even allowing for the fact that Selwyn isn't exactly unbiased about Cape Town , I think he does have a point. If all other factors are equal, I think there is some merit in travelling PE - CT rather than the other way.

Another possibility to consider if one is flying to the Garden Route from a more northerly point in South Africa (say the Kruger Park area) is to fly to George.

Anyway, I would say that, if one cannot devote at least 2 days to driving the Garden Route in one direction, it is not worth doing it at all. One would need an absolute minimum of 2 days to do the drive in one direction if one was not going to go inland at all, and 3 days if one was going to go inland.

In my estimation the priorities in the southern part of South Africa are:

(1) Cape Town and environs (3 full days required)

(2) Winelands around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek (1 - 2 days)

(3) Garden Route (I really wouldn't recommend this in under 3 days, but 5 days would be nice)

Hope that helps.
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Oct 13th, 2004, 04:18 AM
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DejaDeb,

In my opinio9n you could get no better advice than the great advice that Judy has given you in her mail. Whatever you do dont attempt to do the ride from PE to Cape >Town in one day.

Btw Judy I am unashamaedly biased towards Cape Town after all it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Right now I am sitting in Ljubilanca while travelling through Slovenia and Croatia and even though this country is a wonderful scenic part of the world Cape Town a still reigns supreme.

Enjoy SA when you visit us DejaDeb
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Oct 13th, 2004, 08:22 AM
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Good to hear from you, Selwyn. Glad you're enjoying Slovenia's and Croatia's scenery. Look forward to hearing more about it when you get back. Go well.
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Oct 13th, 2004, 09:13 AM
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We made this drive and the roads are difficult particulary from Plettenberg to Port Elizabeth. Recommend longer trip with an overnite stop in Hermanus and one in Plettenberg. I think both these areas are unique.
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Oct 14th, 2004, 04:41 AM
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And I am sitting in Bordeaux in the language school here...

Selwyn, I look forward ro hearing more about your trip on your return.

I would agree that one should not estimate drivnig time by distance alone... some of the routes are indeed very windy and one must take care no the mountain passes in particular.
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