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Driving J'burg to Cape Town via Drakenbergs and Wild Coast

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Bristol, United...
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Driving J'burg to Cape Town via Drakenbergs and Wild Coast

Hi all

Planning a month long trip in SA in August this year and thinking of hiring a car and driving from J'burg to Cape Town via Drakensbergs, Oribi Gorge, Wild Coast and Garden Route.

Want to stop off at Wild Coast and do some horse or walking trails. Have read about Ambadiba Horse Trails but they don't seem to exist any more?

I live in Sri Lanka where the roads are terrible so am used to bad roads and have read a fair few conflicting views here about driving in this area.

Any comments welcome - whether this is too ambitious, whether there are wild coast places to recommend, other spots, etc? Is it too cold that time of year for Drakensbergs?

Thanks in advance.

Faye

Tempe, Arizona
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1. Re: Driving J'burg to Cape Town via Drakenbergs and Wild Coast

It's a good adventure and safe, if you avoid the roads at night. The danger is more from bad drivers and animals & people in the roads than it is from bad guys intending to hurt you or worse.

August can bring snow to the Drakensbergs, so that's a plan you have to evaluate at the time you would actually be there. In fact, August can bring harsh days from time to time everywhere you mentioned from time to time.

The Eastern Cape coastline is spectacular - but the main road, the N2, doesn't run along the coast (as you may know). Roads do, and they can be pretty good, but just don't plan on moving swiftly through there. You can Google Eastern Cape +tourism and learn enough to plan a rough outline of your trip.

Bristol, United...
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2. Re: Driving J'burg to Cape Town via Drakenbergs and Wild Coast

Very useful advice thank you. I will continue with the planning - the google hint has brought up heaps to go through.

cheers

F

Shelly Beach, South...
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3. Re: Driving J'burg to Cape Town via Drakenbergs and Wild Coast

Hi Faye,

That will be an amazing road trip giving you a good taste of most things our beautiful country has to offer.

You can drive J'burg to Drakensberg in a day, and once you've explored the 'berg, then another days easy drive to the South Coast, Shelly Beach area is good for your next stop, from there you can visit Oribi Gorge.

I would make a days drive from Shelly Beach to East London, as previosly pointed out it's along the N2 inland and not much to stop for as all the great places on the Wild Coast are along the coast line which does not have a linked road.

A great way to see the Wild coast is by a walking trail, the Wild Coast Meander and the Wild Coast Amble are really wonderful, 5 days stopping off at different places each night, they start and finish in Eastlondon www.wildcoastholidays.co.za

Then you have the Garden route, which has many beautiful places to see and can be a holiday in itself, Jeffries Bay, Knysna, Swellendam are all good stops and then you are in Cape Town where you must also allow yourself a few days to explore before flying out. A month will not be too long - enjoy it

Bristol, United...
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4. Re: Driving J'burg to Cape Town via Drakenbergs and Wild Coast

Many thanks, more very helpful advice and good to get some driving distances into perspective.

The walk looks good, though I'd love to do it on horseback but we shall see!

Thanks!

Faye

Lunenburg, Canada
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5. Re: Driving J'burg to Cape Town via Drakenbergs and Wild Coast

Hi Faye!

We did just that, in November 2007. Unlike what you described in Sri Lanka (I’ve never been to Ceylon) you’ll find the paved roads in South Africa excellent. From Johannesburg to the Drakensberg is four-lane highway. Most of way from Durban to Cape Town is two-lane road, but it’s all paved and kept in top condition.

Speed limits are generally 120 km/h. You’ll be able to maintain that speed much of the time, except around urban areas.

I’d allow six driving days between Johannesburg and Cape Town, plus your days of staying. (You could do it in a lot less time with no dawdling along the way, of course.) Allow one driving day each for:

- Johannesburg to the Drakensburg

- Drakensberg to Umtata, Coffee Bay or Port St. Johns

- Umtata to Port Elizabeth (Addo Elephant Park)

- Port Elizabeth to Knysna or Tsitsikamma National Park

- Knysna to Oudtshoorn or Montagu

- the final leg to Cape Town

A few notes:

Do not allot any time for the inner cities of Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth. You’ll surely be disappointed in each. Businesses and a lot of residents have fled these cities for the beaches. If you must overnight in the vicinity, stay at one of the North coast beaches north of Durban, go to Port Alfred instead of East London, and skip Port Elizabeth in favor of Addo Elephant Park.

I was thrilled to tarvel the Transkei and its capital Umtata. West of Port Edward on Route 61 leading toward Mount Ayliff, you'll pass miles of traditional Xhosa scenery, with ordinary people decked out in their national dress and hair styles. And this is how they really live, not simply a put-on for the tourists! Be sure to set out from Port Edward only early in the morning, because there are no tourist services on Route 61 until you reach either Umtata or Port St. Johns.

Addo Elephant Park has lots of lodgings, both in the park and nearby. Heading west, don’t even drive into Port Elizabeth. Make your way direct to Addo.

Knysna has lots of places to stay, but we loved the ocean front cabins at Tsitsikamma National Park, about 80 km east of town. If you’d like to stay, it will be valuable to call for a reservation, because space is limited. We didn’t and got in only by sheer luck when a cancellation came in just as we were about to be turned away.

We love Route 62, which speeds you into Cape Town along the edge of the Little Karoo instead of following the heavily-traveled Garden Route. Oudtshoorn has many points of interest, from ostrich farms to the Cango Caves. I loved Montagu, an old Dutch town just before you start over the pass toward the Cape.

Happy travels, and let me know if I can help further!

David

capetien10@gmail.com

Bristol, United...
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6. Re: Driving J'burg to Cape Town via Drakenbergs and Wild Coast

This is great advice, many thanks David. We actually have a month for the trip and plan to pick a few spots on the way rather than stopping everywhere, so your ideas are really useful. We're not in to seeing the cities or towns either where we can help it (except of course Cape Town).

The roads here are paved, just mad - you see a space and drive in to it regardless of which side of the road it is, and the larger the vehicle the more control you have over the road as you must give way to bigger things! I had heard SA driving was not much different!

As it is off season when we go (though I probably will stick with the booking in advance) I think it will be easier to get places available.

Which car hire company did you use?

Cheers

Faye

Lunenburg, Canada
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7. Re: Driving J'burg to Cape Town via Drakenbergs and Wild Coast

Hi Faye!

I've driven on all six continents, and of all the countries where I've rented a car, South African motorists are the most friendly in the world. Where else do drivers, after they pass you, flash their tail lights to say thank you? Not in Sri Lanka, I bet, and certainly not here in Canada!

We dealt through AutoEurope, a well-known international car wholesaler, who arranged our cars with Avis at Johannesburg International Airport. I have nothing but good things to say about how everything was handled.

David

Bristol, United...
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8. Re: Driving J'burg to Cape Town via Drakenbergs and Wild Coast

Heehee, yes the road etiquette here is different but friendly in a way as everyone knows their place!

Really good to know your experience of driving there makes it feel less stressful.

Thanks for all you v helpful advice. The trip is to relax after 4 years working hard here so can't wait!

F

durban
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9. Re: Driving J'burg to Cape Town via Drakenbergs and Wild Coast

Hi Colombo, if you havent already planned your trip the hole in the wall and the Umgazi River Bungalows both in the Transkei, a must very beautiful coastline and Umgazi is on the estuary. Rustic but lovely.

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10. Re: Driving J'burg to Cape Town via Drakenbergs and Wild Coast

Thanks Capetien1 :-)

My husband and I really appreciate your comments as that is exactly what we planned to do in July but not sure if it were possible in 6 days especially in terms of road conditions. I liked your suggestion about the bigger towns/cities.

did you notice many places to stay witha campertrailer or motorhome on that routs?

Cheers