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South Africa - Advice needed Port Elizabeth to Cape town

South Africa - Advice needed Port Elizabeth to Cape town

Old Jun 19, 18, 1:29 pm
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South Africa - Advice needed Port Elizabeth to Cape town

I'm finishing up the planning of the family trip to NAB and SA.
We fly into PLZ Sept 16th at night and out of CPT in the late evening on the 22nd. I've done PLZ, CPT, and the region in between, but the parents have not.
I'm trying to gather a driving route with hotels along the way (want to use some Marriott pts, so Protea seems like the best option). they like wine, the country and sea-side. I was also thinking of squeezing in Addo park, but not sure time-wise.

Here is a possible itin:
Sept:
16-17 Overnight Protea Port Elizabeth
17-18 Drive to Addo and overnight in Addo
18-19 Drive to Knysna/George/Mossel Bay and overnight?
19-21 Drive to Hermanus and overnight at the African Pride
21-22 Drive to Stellenbosch and overnight there. wine tasting both 21st and 22nd.
One other option would be to skip Addo and do an etra night in George/Mossel Bay area or do another night in Stellenbosch.

Any suggestions? Thoughts? any places along the route worth an overnight (where hopefully there is a Protea/Marriott hotel)?
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Old Jun 20, 18, 2:17 am
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Wow, that's short and busy! As an 'older person' I would take extra time in S'bosch for food and wine tasting!
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Old Jun 21, 18, 9:04 am
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Even as a not-so-older person, I don't think I would much enjoy driving from Addo to Hermanus in 2 days. If you've done the drive before, you know the highway doesn't really run along the coast, but slightly inland. It is pleasant driving through the forest of Tsitsikamma and the farmland around Swellendam, but you won't really see the 'sights' unless you either take longer or concentrate your time. Personally, I would either:
1) see Addo for 2 days and then fly PLZ to CPT mid-afternoon, booking the overnight around Gordons Bay or the winelands and spend 3 days doing Hermanus, the winelands, and Cape Town and Peninsula attractions if your parents have never done Cape Town. If you stay 3 nights in the winelands area, you can do whale watching and penguins at Bettys Bay via the R43 as one day trip, and a full day of wine tasting and picnicing another. TBH if you can't get 2 full days in Addo, it's going to feel like a lot of travelling and airports for not much sight-seeing.
2) If you are doing a safari in Namibia, concentrate on Tsitsikamma/Knysna, a few mountain passes between George and Oudtshoorn (maybe 2 nights at Mossel Bay), and then the winelands. I really loved the contrast between the R62 and the greenery around George, and the rural feeling between Swellendam and Worcester, but either or those routes might feel like a lot of driving compared with using the highway. Maybe read up on how much of the Garden Route forest was affected by last summer's fires.
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Old Jul 23, 18, 8:34 am
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South Africa - Port Elizabeth/George to Cape Town

If you have done Garden Route trip from Port Elizabeth/George to Cape Town, could you share your itin, how many days did you spend on trip and what would you add/remove from the trip if you'd do it again?

Also, would like to hear about AirBnB alongside the route - the only type of accomodation we consider due to low budget and having no hotel points.
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Old Jul 23, 18, 9:12 am
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Did the route a couple of years ago.

How long have you set aside?

We had 1 night in PE.
2 nights in plettenburg bay
1 night in knysna
2 nights at garden route game lodge (safari)
2 nights in hermanus
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Old Jul 23, 18, 12:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Hawes7701 View Post
Did the route a couple of years ago.

How long have you set aside?

We had 1 night in PE.
2 nights in plettenburg bay
1 night in knysna
2 nights at garden route game lodge (safari)
2 nights in hermanus
7 days, right? We arrive on 19th of Dec afternoon and unless you tell me that I must must stay that night at PE I will be ready to hit the road.

Our flights out is on 1st of Jan from Cape Town. I would want to have 2-3 days there, but as well I would want to stay for 2 days around Franschhoek if possible.

Now, considering that we will be coming from Kruger, do you still recommend to stay at garden route game lodge, or it is safe to skip or replace with better something?

Main interest during the drive are landscapes, hikes, unique things/experiences/sights/food (if any).
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Old Jul 23, 18, 12:38 pm
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Shame ... we nearly had a F'hoek Do there! We are there 13-18, and then off to S'bosch until Christmas Eve.

(See Trip Reports CPT16 and CPT17 in my signature, especially CPT17 for food/wine )
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Old Jul 23, 18, 1:00 pm
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Originally Posted by invisible View Post
7 days, right? We arrive on 19th of Dec afternoon and unless you tell me that I must must stay that night at PE I will be ready to hit the road.

Our flights out is on 1st of Jan from Cape Town. I would want to have 2-3 days there, but as well I would want to stay for 2 days around Franschhoek if possible.

Now, considering that we will be coming from Kruger, do you still recommend to stay at garden route game lodge, or it is safe to skip or replace with better something?

Main interest during the drive are landscapes, hikes, unique things/experiences/sights/food (if any).
hi.

No no need to stay in PE. we had a late flight so stayed for convenience.

Garden route game lodge was great but it would be Kruger on a small scale so again, son real draw - assuming you got what you wanted from Kruger.

Your time and dates seem seem to be about right. Take your time on the drive - itís a great experience and lots to see an hour or so inland off it if you have time.

Enjoy!!!
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Old Jul 23, 18, 1:25 pm
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There are debates going on if inlad route is better than coastal. Anyone could share the experience?
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Old Jul 23, 18, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by invisible View Post
There are debates going on if inlad route is better than coastal. Anyone could share the experience?
afraid not but would be interested in the views of others - or your own if you go with it as Iím back there with family for month in March/April next year.
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Old Jul 23, 18, 1:46 pm
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Several years ago we took 4 days in Cape Town and then 10 days to loop from Cape Town via Hermanus and De Hoop as far as Stormsrivier, then back via Oudtshoorn and the little Karoo and winelands and as far as West Coast NP. It was whale season for us, but won't be for you so whilst Hermanus is a nice town I wouldn't say it is an absolutely must visit. But the Harold Porter gardens, walks in Kogelberg and penguins at Bettys Bay are very good and the R44 is as picturesque as Chapman's Peak Drive imo. Definately try and do a few mountain passes, stunning. We really enjoyed Cango Caves and hot springs on the R62 in a very different landscape to Tsitsikamma / Garden Route. You could easily spend 14 days with walking and slow travel, there are lots of National Parks and Reserves, see CapeNature as well as SANParks. Also consider staying in self catering park accommodation for wilderness, views and stargazing at night. We found Paarl to have cheaper accommodation than Stellenbosch or Franschhoek and is more of a working town but has some very good, less visited vineyards. Definitely visit Cape Point while you have the hire car.
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Old Jul 23, 18, 3:32 pm
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Originally Posted by invisible View Post
There are debates going on if inlad route is better than coastal.?
I'm a great fan of zigzagging, i.e. meandering inland from the coast and then back again and vv along the numerous spectacular mountain passes.

Johan
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Old Jul 24, 18, 1:50 am
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First of all, thanks everyone for replies

Just some additional info - we are four adults, (or three, depends on if one can get visa for SA...), no kids. Plane lands at 1:30PM and driving from there to Plettenberg Bay the same day should not be a problem, correct?

I and my wife have been in South Africa before and spent three days in Cape Town - stayed at Hout Bay and visited Stellenbosch as well - loved it. We would live if we can see/visit places like this - with small museums, elegant houses, unique nate features, etc.

Our primary interest is nature as I said prefer to avoid to be in cold places - I know that it mostly does not apply to South Africa but costial places could be quite cold, especially at night, right? We love car rides next to the coast - if you've been on highway 1 on California coast you would understand what I mean.

Correct me if I am wrong, I understand that main points of interests are between Plettenberg Bay and Mossel Bay and west to Mossel Bay until Hermanus there is not much to see? If so, it would not matter much if one stays either at Plettenberg Bay or Knysna for 3 nights instead of staying 2 nights in one places and 1-2 in second? It is not whale watching season, wo going to Hermanus from Mossel Bay would not make much sense, correct?

I am thinking after Plettenberg Bay-Knysna-Mossel Bay go north-west and drive thru Heidelberg, Swellendam, Robertson, Worcester and arrive at Franschhoek. Ir is it too much stretch?

I am open to ideas but while I am quite mobile, I will have three ladies in tow and they are not big fun of running from places to places...
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Old Jul 24, 18, 2:05 am
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Separate/parallel question - where/what place in/around Garden route would you choose to celebrate Christmas, if you had such option?
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Old Jul 24, 18, 3:57 am
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The Garden Route is a beautiful area of South Africa, and has some spectacular scenery, which is great as this is what you are looking for. I have laid out the days below, as this I think gives you a clearer idea of exactly what days and time you have available. Assuming you arrive in Port Elizabeth on time at 1:30PM and by the time you have your luggage and collected your rental car it will be around 2:15/2:30PM. The drive from Port Elizabeth to Plettenberg Bay with a short break in the drive should be around 2h30m to 3hours. HOWEVER, and this is a big however, from the 17th December until the 5th January, the Garden Route will be packed to capacity. Huge numbers of people travel from the inland areas of the country down to the southern coast for the long December holidays. You may well encounter lengthy traffic delay all along the N2 road anywhere between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, especially from Tsitsikamma to George. So, with that in mind, you would be lucky to get to Plettenberg Bay by around 5:30/6:00PM. I have suggested Plettenberg Bay as it is central to being able to explore the town, Nature's Valley, Storm's River, Knysna etc, allowing you to unpack your bags for 3 nights. However, it is probably also the most popular of all the towns as a destination for holiday makers.

As you will see, that then effectively leaves you with 5 nights in-between Plettenberg Bay and Franschhoek.
19 Plettenberg Bay
20 Plettenberg Bay
21 Plettenberg Bay
22 X
23 X
24 X
25 X
26 X
27 Franschhoek
28 Franschhoek
29 Cape Town
30 Cape Town
31 Cape Town
01 Depart

I would personally head from Plettenberg Bay inland to Oudtshoorn for a couple of days - this is a beautiful area with some great accommodation and will be slightly away from the crowds. It will likely be extremely hot though. From Oudtshoorn you can spend a day driving the mountain passes, like from Oudtshoorn over the Swartberg Pass to Prince Albert and then head across and back to Oudtshoorn via the Meiringspoort Pass, will give you some great mountain scenery.

From Oudtshoorn maybe head west on the R62 to Barrydale then over the Tradouw Pass and down to l'Agulhas, the southern tip of Africa. It is a good 4h30min drive, but make a day of it. Then spend 24/25 somewhere on the coast, it will be busy, but no where near as busy as Plettenberg bay. Then onwards along the coastal road and a night in Betty's Bay before heading inland again to Franschhoek.

It is all a balance of seeing as much as possible, without also just spending your entire time in the car.
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