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18 Days in South Africa - Kruger, Garden/Wine routes

18 Days in South Africa - Kruger, Garden/Wine routes

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Old Jan 4, 19, 12:09 am
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18 Days in South Africa - Kruger, Garden/Wine routes

Hello everybody,

This is my first post here. Decided to share very short (by this forum standards) itinerary/report of 18 days travel in South Africa, covering south part of Kruger park and Garden and Wine routes (R62/R60) from Port Elizabeth to Simon's Town/Cape Town. But I will try to include as much links in below as relevant so you can check and plan on your own, if you decide to do so.

We've been three adults travelling together: I, my wife and our family friend. Here is the detailed itin. Breakdown is given on based on where we stayed:

Day 1- Dec 14th, arrival at JNB. Get car at AVIS, drive with couple of stops to Marloth Park (note - N4 is a toll road) which is close to Kruger's Crocodile Bridge entrance, spending 5 nights there.
Day 2 - Microlight flight on a powered hand glider and explore Marloth Park; KNP Sunset drive from Crocodile Bridge
Day 3 - Panorama Route (need to drive on N4 toll road to get there) with sightseeing: Sabie, Berlin, Lisbon waterfalls, Pinnacle Rock, God Window. Blyde River Canyon: Bourke's Luck Potholes, Three Rondavels and Graskop Gorge Lift on way back.
Day 4/5 - Two day drives in Kruger - entrance and conversation fees were booked and paid in advance. This gave us good advantage to enter the park - even at 5:30AM it was about 1.5h wait time at the gate if you did not book your visit in advance.

Day 6th, Dec 19th: leaving Marloth Park, drive to fly from Nelspruit's international airport (MQP). Fly from MQP to JNB on SA Airlink and then on a separate flight to Port Elizabeth (PLZ) via Mango. Get car at AVIS, drive to Plettenberg Bay, stay three nights.
Day 7th: Visit and hike at Nature's Valley; walk across Bloukrans Bridge to one of the highest bungee jumping in the world; walk at sunset at Robberg Nature Reserve
Day 8th: Take Eco Experience tour to Featherbed Private Nature Reserve and hike back to the drop-off point with buffet lunch; walk around the harbor and visit Knysna motorcycle museum with >100 motorcycles; take Sunset Cruise on Heads Explorer catamaran.

Day 9th, Dec 22nd: depart from Plettenberg Bay. Vist Harkerville Saturday Market, drive to Jubilee Creek Nature Reserve - hike around and swim at waterfalls; continue driving on N2/12; have late lunch at Salinas Beach Restaurant at Wilderness; arrive at Oudtshoorn, stay two nights.
Day 10th: Visit Safari Ostrich Farm; drive via De Rust to Meiringspoort Waterfall and then have lunch at Prince Albert; come back via Swartberg Pass.

Day 11th Dec 24th: depart from Oudtshoorn. Visit C.P Nel museum, drive on R62 to Calitzdorp, have a stop at Boplaas Cellar, buy wine and have lunch; continue driving on R62, have stop at Barrydale, arrive at Montagu, stay three nights.
Day 12th: 4 hour rafting at Route 62 Rafting Co at Robertson; do sightseeing drive on R317 towards Swellendam, come back at Montagu, relax for the rest of the day
Day 13th: Drive to Ashton, visit olive farm and Viljoensdrift and take 1h river cruise; come back to Montagu, hike towards hot springs and have refreshing hot bath there after the hike

Day 14th, Dec 27th: depart from Montagu. Drive to Swellendam via going back to R62 and then taking R324/Tradouw Pass; at Swellendam visit Drostdy Museum and have coffee at Ikigai Coffee next to it; continue on R317 and stop by at Van Loveren to have lunch and buy wines; continue driving on R62/R60/R43 to Villiersdorp; drive thru Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve to Franschhoek, stop by and see Delaire Graff Estate; arrive at Stellenbosch, stay two nights.
Day 15th: Got to Stellenbosch city center, have walking tour visiting Village Museum there; visit Babylonstoren wineries and Motor Museum at Franschhoek.

Day 16th, Dec 29th: depart from Stellenbosch, visit Spier Wines and walk around on the way before arrival at Simon's Town, stay three nights; drive via Chapmans Peak to Table Mountain and take cable car (note- buy tickets at Pick'n'Pay instead of waiting in line)/hike there or back;
Day 17th: Visit Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve (note - make sure that you are at the entrance before 8:30AM, otherwise it is VERY busy after that), hike from the lighthouse to Cape of Good Hope; come back, do some walking around Simon's Town and Fish Hoek
Day 18th: Drive to Stony Point Nature Reserve via R310/R44 scenic drive; come back, drive to Cape Town via Chapmans Peak, drive/walk around Camps Bay, come back and get ready to fly out.

Day 19th, Jan 1st: fly out.

Several additional notes regarding expenses and planning:

Flights to/from SA were booking on miles for two people (in combination of Business/PE) and there was one revenue ticket for me due to the complicated arrival route. Intra-SA flights - MQP-JNB; JNB-PLZ where revenue tickets. Total cost of flights for three people including revenue tickets and fees/taxes on award flights was appx US $3900 - $2500 was my two one way tickets, $1200 two one way intra-SA tickets for three of us and the rest - fees on award tickets.

All lodgings were booked/paid via AirBnB. Here are the places we stayed:

https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/18985895 - Kruger/Marloth Park
https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/23907338 - Plettenberg Bay
https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/11541192 - Oudtshoorn
https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/1714939 - Montagu
https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/23113331 - Stellenbosch
https://www.airbnb.com.sg/rooms/9518277 - Simon's Town

In terms of AirBnB - I always try to book whole place (not just rooms), with minimum 2 bedrooms. All places were OK/good/way better than I expected. There was one hiccup with reservation at Oudtshoorn when the place we booked was somehow not available and we've been given a loft with one bed and one sofa instead. It was not a big deal for just two nights. Totally spent on 18 nights accommodation in December - appx US $1650

Dining: dining, even fine dining is considerably cheap in South Africa if you compare it to US/EU/AU/NZ/JP, but we still preferred to have self-catering places to buy necessary ingredients at supermarkets and cook breakfast home and make some sandwiches for lunch on our way out. On daily bases we usually had dinner at a restaurants/cafes with couple of exceptions - like for Christmas eve/Christmas day when we dined home (everything was closed). Dining places were selected based on our hosts' recommendations, plus on google maps scoring. In places where we dined food was great or excellent. All expenses on food is appx US $1500 - about $1200 spent on restaurants and $300 on supermarkets

Car rental and gas: don't have the final bill from Avis which will include toll charges but appx is US $500 car rental charges and $430 for fuel

Activities: that would include park passes, admission to attractions, day tours. Activity fees came as appx US $1100. Need to mention here - prepare for significant expenses on park entry fees. NP park fees in SA are quite expensive for international tourists. Single day entry fee per non-SA person is $30 and there are no discounts available for cars/length of stay. As a result, for example - three day visit for three adults will cost you close to $300 just to enter the park, without accounting any cost of accommodation/food/etc. Compare this to US where you pay $30 per car for a week to enter to National Park (Yellowstone for example) and you can have 7 people in that car.

Travel insurance - US $180 for three people.

Anti-malaria medication - US $280 for three people.

And finally - cash: took $300 from an ATM right after arrival which was sufficient for whole time all three of us for small type of expenses, like parking, and buying something on markets, etc.

So total expenses were slightly above to US $9000 for three people. That came like $167 per person per day including everything - flights, food, lodging, activities, etc.

Feel free to ask question about ITIN or other stuff, would be glad to answer.

Overall - best vacation over.
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Last edited by invisible; Jan 30, 19 at 3:25 am
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Old Jan 4, 19, 4:37 am
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I hope that at Boplaas you tried some of their epic Brandy.

Looks like a great routing and glad that you had a great experience here.
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Old Jan 4, 19, 7:39 am
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As we are at the older end of the bell-curve, that sounds a bit too exciting for us!

But we are addicted to ZA, and indeed this morning have just booked our flights for Nov/Dec 19 ... just 2 weeks after getting home from our last trip!!
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Old Jan 5, 19, 3:51 am
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Originally Posted by roadwarrier View Post
I hope that at Boplaas you tried some of their epic Brandy.
I am not a hard liquor drinker and even wine I drink like one glass per quarter. Got their chocolate muscat, mostly to please visiting ladies.
Originally Posted by roadwarrier View Post
Looks like a great routing and glad that you had a great experience here.
Agreed and thanks. A lot of research went into planning this trip and I am glad that I decided NOT to stay inside Kruger park. Now I know what safari looks like and I am done with it. Obviously there are people out there who seems to have a great enjoyment to stay in 40C weather in a tent for a week and drive 7-9h daily with a speed of 20mph to have a chance to see lion's rear end from 100m of distance after waiting their turn in 100 cars line up after an hour, but that's not my piece of tea.

Also decision NOT to stay at Cape Town and pick up Simons Town instead was a wise one in retrospect.
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Last edited by invisible; Jan 6, 19 at 10:35 pm
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Old Feb 10, 19, 8:14 pm
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Hello Invisible,

can you share some more about crime situation? Did you feel safe when driving around, in particular from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and around Cape Town?
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Old Feb 10, 19, 9:55 pm
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Originally Posted by invisible View Post
Anti-malaria medication - US $280 for three people.
How did you find the medication?

I took some in the past and it was horrible tasty and made some others I know it actually made them sick
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Old Feb 11, 19, 12:11 am
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Originally Posted by agasfer View Post

Did you feel safe when driving around, in particular from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and around Cape Town?
I did the drive from PE to Cape Town last May and at no point felt as if I was in any danger aside from the normal perils of driving on unfamiliar roads. The roads are well maintained and the route either fully bypasses any towns or travels through their centres. It's a beautiful drive. Of course your experience may vary but I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. It took us about 8 hours with rest stops IIRC. The real danger is driving at night in unlit areas, particularly in the cities- keep your doors locked and your wits about you.
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Old Feb 11, 19, 7:40 am
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Originally Posted by marke190 View Post
I did the drive from PE to Cape Town last May and at no point felt as if I was in any danger aside from the normal perils of driving on unfamiliar roads. The roads are well maintained and the route either fully bypasses any towns or travels through their centres. It's a beautiful drive. Of course your experience may vary but I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. It took us about 8 hours with rest stops IIRC. The real danger is driving at night in unlit areas, particularly in the cities- keep your doors locked and your wits about you.
Ah, this is good to know, thank you for sharing your experience. Did you have a chance to stop at Cape Agulhas (the Southernmost tip) in those 8 hours?

I thought of spending at least one night along the way (some people suggest two), am looking for a good spot to do it.
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