Cape Town can be the perfect holiday destination all on its own, but something worth considering if you’re visiting for long enough is the beautiful array of road-trip routes and scenic drives ready to be explored in the region. Going on a road-trip can be one of the best ways to see all that a country has to offer, and they don’t have to be too long or require too much effort either with the right car hire Cape Town agency! In just a quick 7-minute read, learn more about the best road-trip routes South Africa has to offer (long or short), the best cars for different road-trip needs and a few extra tips, specifically for foreigners, about driving in South Africa.
The Greater Cape: 5 Days or More on the Road
If you have some time on your hands and are looking for adventure or to be immersed in the natural beauty of South Africa during your car hire Cape Town experience, then look no further. We’ve compiled a list of the best ‘lengthier’ road-trip routes that will take you to parts of the country you would probably never otherwise explore. Below you can find a list of the finest tried-and-true road-trip routes and a few accompanying lodging options courtesy of our accommodation partners who want to give AroundAboutCars customers the best and most affordable excursion experiences:
− The Western Cape Garden Route: Probably South Africa’s most famous road-trip route – but for good reason. Spanning 200km through stunning and picturesque landscapes, starting at Mossel Bay in the Western Cape and ending in Storm-River’s Mouth on the Western fringe of the Eastern Cape, this is one route you don’t want to miss out on. Aptly named for its variation of vegetation and greenery in combination with magnificent beaches, lagoons and lakes, there’s something for everyone. This route is perfect for drivers of all experience levels and even suitable for avid campers and adventure-seekers! There is an abundance of outdoor activities available for travellers of all skill-levels as well as numerous calm getaway spots for those looking to relax and unwind.
If camping isn’t really your style, our accommodation partners have got you covered! Here are just a few affordable options for overnight-lodging on your Garden Route road-trip:
- Fish eagle Lodge – Knysna: Beautifully situated with a view of the lagoon and mountains!
- Hilltop Country Lodge – The Heart of the Garden Route: Situated between Victoria Bay and Wilderness, a self-catering paradise!
- Huijs Te Marquette – Mossel Bay: Situated near the Khoi San Cave at one of the most scenic vantage point in Mossel Bay!
− The Eastern Cape Wild Coast: This ruggedly beautiful route runs some 350km, the longest route on this list! Taking about seven days from start to finish, the route begins in the coastal city of East London in the Eastern Cape and spans all the way to the border of Kwazulu-Natal. This region is known for its rich history and as being the birthplace of South African history icons Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko. Driving along the roads through rolling hills and jagged coastlines, one feels reconnected with nature being in an area that feels untouched by human civilisation. This route is was made popular for its breath-taking and unspoiled coastline and its rich cultural history, if you’re looking for a scenic trip and to learn more about South Africa’s past, this is the route for you!
There is no shortage of accommodation and hospitality on the Wild Coast route, but below are a few of the best-rated, budget-friendly booking and lodging options you should check out when planning your journey:
- SA-Venues.com: Its affordable, there are no extra booking fees and they have stunning accommodation options nation-wide.
- Hitgeheim Country Lodge: An eco-reserve at the heart of the Sundays River Valley Addo area in the Eastern Cape.
- Riverbend Lodge: Also situated in the surrounding of the Addo Elephant National Park, this place comes highly recommended!
− The Cape Karoo: This route offers a vast array of possibilities for exploration, you can choose to start up north and drive down towards the east coast, or start in the Mother City and drive up into the Northern Cape, either way there will be lots to see and to do. The route taken you on a journey through local pastures, windmills, canola fields and fascinating road-side attraction like Victorian railway towns and other sleepy-towns. The Karoo offers and endless plane of wilderness and ethereal sunsets. This is the perfect route for travellers seeking small adventures off the beaten track or quirky towns with intriguing histories, like Nieu-Bethesda!
Bed-and-Breakfasts are arguably the best lodging-options for a trip like this as you may encounter some interesting characters in the various quaint towns situated along this route. Below you can find your perfect matches on one of the best online accommodation booking options to design your Cape Karoo road-trip around:
- BedandBreakfast.co.za: Just say when and where and they’ll find you the best-rated and most affordable options with a few oddballs in the mix.
Car Hire Cape Town: 3 Days or Less on the Road
If you don’t have a week to spare for a cross-country or inter-provincial road-trip, do not despair! There are plenty of stunning, shorter road-trips in the greater Western Cape area that may tickle your fancy. We’ve compiled the top 2 quickest, yet most enjoyable road-trip routes to elevate your car hire Cape Town experience to the next level:
− Route 62: Aptly named after the R62 road which runs through the Cape Winelands and over awesome mountain passes straight into the heart of the little Karoo, this is the perfect choice if you want all the quaint-and-quirkiness of a full Karoo-experience but just on a smaller scale. Being less popular than its coastal counterpart: The Garden Route, this course offers considerably less traffic and more flexibility with accommodation. The charming rural town of Montagu can’t be missed for its stunning hot springs and the Breede River Valley is the perfect oasis for a family camping and kayaking excursion.
− The West Coast: Picture coastal-town hopping and eating fish and slap-chips to your heart’s content! It you are an avid surfer or just love exploring sleepy-seaside towns, this is the ideal getaway plan for you. Blouberg, Melkbos and Langebaan are some of the bigger towns picketing a vast array of exquisite ‘padstals’ selling some of the best home-made goods money can buy as well as the breath-taking nature-reserves littered with a sea of flowers in spring-time. A route that isn’t more than two or three hours away from the city, but far enough to escape the hustle-and-bustle of urban life.
Car Hire Cape Town: Finding the Perfect Car for Your Trip
When selecting the right car for your car hire Cape Town road-trip, there are a few factors that need to be taken into consideration. AroundAboutCars offers a vast array of options with our extensive fleet and so the choice can often be overwhelming. That is why it is important to first identify exactly what your needs as a traveller are in order to find a car which covers all those requirements.
Ask yourself the following questions to determine exactly what it is you are looking for:
- What kind of distances will you be travelling?
- In the case of a road-trip, you will certainly be travelling long distances, so finding a car hire Cape Town agency like AroundAboutCars which promotes unlimited kilometers at no additional cost is ideal.
- How much luggage/storage space do you need?
- This all depends on the number of passengers, how long you will be on holiday or what kind of kit you need to transport.
- What kind of holiday are you needing a rental car for?
- City breaks, adventure holidays, family holidays, multi-locations trips – they all require different kinds of vehicles.
- City Breaks: with 3 or fewer passengers, smaller cars that take up little space are ideal for finding parking in urban areas.
- Adventure Holidays: Chances are you will need more storage space for additional kit as well as a car suited for adventure activities. An SUV or 4×4 would be the best choices for driving off-road.
- Family Holidays: Firstly, you’ll be looking for a car that is not only safe, but which has ample storage capacity and is spacious. If you are an exploratory family looking for camping facilities, then opting for a campervan or 4×4 rentals kitted with self-catering kit is the way to go. AroundAboutCars offers great, affordable options catering to this specifically.
- Multi-Location Trips: For long-distance road-trips, you’ll need a car that is comfortable for spending several hours behind the wheel but which also boasts a great fuel economy, not to mention also having ample luggage-space as you end up often living out of your trunk. Luxury sedans or SUVs are among the top choices for these kinds of trips.
Driving in South Africa: Tips for Foreigners
The prospect of driving in South Africa can often seem tumultuous to foreigners due to the reputation of our rowdy taxis or road-crime. We promise, it is not as scary as it seems! Below you will find a list of a few essential tips and tricks for foreigners driving in South Africa for the first time. Driving in a new country does not have to be a daunting experience, here are some pointers to reassure you:
- Driving is on the left-hand side in South Africa
- South African drivers are generally quite courteous on the road when over-taking or changing lanes, they will flash their hazards one or twice to say thank you – not to alarm you!
- South African drivers may generally also warn you of oncoming accidents, speed-o-meters or police check-points by flashing headlights.
- Honking horns is not common practice in South Africa, it is usually only used in emergency situations, not as an expression of road-rage.
- Lots of stop signs! South Africa boasts a higher density of stop signs than many other places in Europe or America, make sure to come to a complete stop at these intersections and to always give way to cars on the main road.
- Watch out for pedestrians. Cape town and the surrounding area is notorious for jay-walkers and an abundance of pedestrians, they can often be unpredictable but if you stay alert you should have no issues. At night-time, it may be especially difficult to spot pedestrians in rural areas as they do not wear reflective gear and there may not always be working streetlights.
- Driving alone at night is absolutely safe if you stick to highways or highly condensed areas. Women are recommended to not drive alone at night or linger at stop-streets or robots for too long. If you keep pepper-spray on hand and are aware of your surroundings, you should not have any issues.
- Keep an eye on your speed! Police presence is apparent on most of the road-trip routes we listed earlier as well as in the most unexpected of places. Don’t take chances and you will have nothing to worry about!
Car Hire Cape Town Road-Trips: Why AroundAboutCars Should Be Your Go-To
The convenience of choosing AroundAboutCars as your go-to car hire Cape Town company is that we have branches situated nation-wide. You can quite literally start and end your chosen road-trip wherever you like and chances are you will find yourself close enough to an AroundAboutCars branch to pick up or drop of your rental car. With rental options ranging from small city cars, to large campervans and 4x4s, we offer services to meet all your road-trip needs.
A quick browse of our extensive fleet will show a wide range of options for you to choose from according to your needs. Our One-Way Drop-Off policy at no additional cost also makes planning your trip to the Mother City, and any possible road-trip you may want to take from there, a breeze – there is no excuse for missing out on exploring the natural beauty South Africa has to offer in your AroundAboutCars rental!