Itinerary 3 week trip incl Drakensberg

Old May 21st, 2022, 12:37 PM
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Itinerary 3 week trip incl Drakensberg

I am planning a 3 week trip to South-Africa together with my boyfriend in October (flights booked). This is what I have in mind so far:

D1 Flight to Johannesburg (arrival 21.30h)

D2 Johannesburg -> Graskop

D3 Graskop -> Panoramaroute -> Hazyview

D4 Krugerpark (staying in Hazyview)

D5 Krugerpark (still figuring out whether to stay in Hazyview or inside the park for the night)

D6 Kruger/Hazyview -> eSwatini

D7 eSwatini -> St Lucia

D8 St Lucia

D9 St Lucia

D10 St Lucia -> Drakensberg (Champagne Valley)

D11 Drakensberg

D12 Drakensberg -> Durban (flight at 14h) -> Pt Elizabeth -> Addo

D13 Addo

D14 Addo -> Plettenbergbaai

D15 Plettenbergbaai

D16 Plettenbergbaai

D17 Plettenbergbaai -> Swellendam

D18 Swellendam -> Capetown

D19 Capetown (Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape of Good Hope)

D20 Capetown -> Stellenbosch

D21 Stellenbosch -> Capetown (after breakfast, so still have some time in Capetown for Table Mountain)

D22 Flight from Capetown at 00:35h

Is this all realistic?

In the beginning I did not include a visit to Drakensberg, but more days in Capetown. However, as my partner has previously lived in Capetown for 6 months but has not been to Drakensberg (which he would really like) I tried to fit this in. I heard from St Lucia to Drakensberg is quite a drive though. That’s why I am wondering if this is worth it. Or is there any other place you’d suggest to stay for a shorter amount of time? Any tips are welcome Thank you!

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Old May 22nd, 2022, 07:45 AM
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This is somewhat similar to a driving route we took some years ago, except we circumvented Eswatini (Swaziland at the time) due to some question about insurance coverage on the car. Here's a map of our general route, accomplished over around 2 weeks in September:

I can only give you our opinions on stops along the way. Regarding the Kruger area, we had previously visited the area a couple of times, so didn't feel the need to visit the national park per se; we spent a couple of nights in the Sabi Sand reserve, which was (as ever) spectacular. We drove to the Phinda reserve and spent a day exploring the St. Lucia wetlands/estuary. To be brutally honest, this was the least satisfying part of the drive - interesting but in retrospect I wish we'd spent more time elsewhere (more on this later.)

The drive from the St. Lucia to Cathedral Peak took a long day, and the drive from Cathedral Peak to the Addo area also was a very long day on the road. I had wanted initially to follow the N2 along the Wild Coast between Durban and Port Elizabeth, but the shortage of hotel accommodations, as well as a reputation for poor road conditions and limited services, ultimately dissuaded us.

We enjoyed Addo very much, and also enjoyed the Garden Route; highlights were watching the surfers at Jeffreys Bay and the view from our B & B in Plett. We'd toured the winelands before, but in your case I might suggest visiting Stellenbosch (and Franschhoek) en route to Cape Town, rather than doubling back later.

As for the Drakensberg, views from Cathedral Peak were lovely, but the hotel gave us a creepy Apartheid-era vibe which we didn't much like. Hopefully your experience will be different. However the drive up to the hotel was spectacular. "People of the sky" indeed.

I guess if it was me I'd probably pass on the whole St. Lucia element, and reallocate those days so we had more time along the Panorama Route, and probably more around Addo.

However in a subsequent trip we spent a couple of days on the Atlantic coast north of Cape Town, where, in late August we caught the beginning of the wildflower season at West Coast National Park and around picturesque Paternoster and St. Helena Bay. Depending on when in October you're visiting (and this might not be possible given you already have plane reservations) I'd think about including a visit to Namaqualand in the Northern Cape, where the spring flower season is legendary. No idea if the timing would work for you as the flower season is obviously temporary, but I thought I'd mention it.

Hope this isn't confusing or counter-productive. Happy travels!
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Old May 28th, 2022, 01:38 AM
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Just before the pandemic we spent a couple of months on a SA road trip from Durban to Cape Town which covered many of those places you mentioned. Loved both Durban and Cape Town though they were very different. We enjoyed St Lucia, especially the trip to Cape Vidal via Isimangaliso which I would definitely try to include. We also enjoyed driving the length of the Drakensberg all the way to Clarens but Champagne Valley was our least favourite place. A highlight though was a drive up the Sani Pass into Lesotho from the somewhat uninspiring town of Underberg.

Saw lots of game in Addo, probably more than anywhere else. Rather than stay at the main camp we opted for Nyathi Rest camp - another Sanparks camp but a smaller camp within Addo with its own gates and only about 15 units in a magnificent location overlooking a water hole.

Loved Stellenbosch and Plettenburg - make sure to do the RobbergPpeninsula walk - it is stunning!

A few photos and detail on our blog @ sadly, I have not got around to posting about most of the places we visited . Cant thank where that lockdown time went!

crellston is offline  
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