Via Cape Route 62 and the Garden Route 

Planning a trip to Cape Town in 2020? In this South Africa travel blog I will share my 17-day itinerary from Cape Town that will take you along some of the best places to visit in South Africa, including our day-to-day self-drive route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, which is one of the most popular South Africa itineraries for first timers. I will also share the best places to stay, get you some useful travel tips and things to do in Cape Town, the best stops along the Garden Route and the Karoo, tips about car hire in South Africa, the best Game Reserves for an unforgettable Big Five Safari in Port Elizabeth and more.

Table Moutain Sunset South Africa

Best Safari places South Africa

Plan your holiday to Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is a unique tourist destination that offers outstanding landscapes and scenery from semi desert and mountain ranges to a spectacular coastline, beautiful winelands in the Western Cape, adventure activities, abundant wildlife and even more! Once you’ve visited South Africa, you will want to go back to see more of this beautiful Rainbow Nation. First time traveling to South Africa? Then I can recommend you the laid-back, safe and beautiful Garden Route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.

South Africa Travel Blog

I’ve been to South Africa five times already and there’s still so much to explore. Start planning your Cape Town trip with this ultimate South Africa itinerary for first timers and follow the footsteps of my 2,5-week road trip along the Garden Route and Cape Route 62 through one of the most breathtaking landscapes of the world.

Penguins South Africa Boulders Beach

Car hire South Africa tips

Road conditions in South Africa are good and all signs are written in English. That makes it easy to do a self-drive, however there are some things to be aware of. All rental cars in South Africa are right-hand vehicles and you have to drive on the left-hand side of the road; for that reason, I was really happy with an automatic car.

How to travel south africa

It’s also recommended to obtain an International Driver License. Although it’s not required, some rental car companies ask for it. Ultimate South Africa car-rental tip: make sure you book a car in advance to prevent stress and issues upon arrival at any airport in South Africa. Even if it’s last minute and you’re already at the airport, it’s better to book it online.

Best things to do in south Africa

We rented a medium sized (Suzuki) automatic car at Around About Cars, the cheapest car rental in South Africa, and enjoyed being on the road with them! We picked up our car at Cape Town Airport and dropped it off at Port Elizabeth Airport. This procedure was very smooth. We were very happy with the quality of our car and we do think that Around About Cars is a reliable South African car rental agency.

Things to do Cape Town VA Waterfront

To travel around Cape Town we used Uber a lot. It is an easy, affordable and safe way to get around in the city. No parking problems and no stressful driving in the busy city. Just download the Uber app and make sure you have a good internet connection. 

We bought South Africa sim card from Vodacom with a 3 GB bundle for €15. For navigation during our self-drive in South Africa, we used MAPS.ME (MapsWithMe). This GPS app offers offline maps and works great in South Africa.

Samara Game Reserve Zebra Wildlife

It is a big country and while a road trip in South Africa is amazing, you can save time by taking domestic flights. The most popular tourist attractions in South Africa are well connected. This is obviously going to costs you way more money and you will see less of the countryside. 

Is South Africa safe for tourists in 2020?

South Africa is not the safest place to travel in terms of crimes and robberies, but I honestly felt safe all the time. Just be aware and make informed choices, like everywhere else in the world! That’s the best way to avoid dangerous situations and places. 

Best Wine Estates South Africa

Keep the doors of your car locked at all times, also when you’re driving and give some of your small money to a parking attendant. That way, you know they’ll look after your car once it’s parked and they are happy with the money since parking attendants are often people with no paid jobs.

Travel to Africa Wildlife Rhino

Things to do on the Garden Route

The Garden Route is by far the most popular self-drive route in South Africa with scenic views everywhere and lots of things to see and places to visit along the road, like the following:

  • wine tasting in Franschhoek
  • hiking Table Mountain in Cape Town
  • Lion’s Head in Cape Town
  • observing the African penguins on Boulder’s Beach
  • Whale watching in Hermanus
  • searching for Meerkats in Oudtshoorn
  • relaxing on the beach in Plettenberg Bay
  • safari near Port Elizabeth: Samara in the Great Karoo, Addo Elephant National Park and Shamwari Private Game Reserve.

Spotting Wildlife in the best Private Game Reserves South Africa

Safari near Port Elizabeth

Many people travel to South Africa to see wildlife and experience their first safari. The largest and most famous wildlife park in South Africa is Kruger National Park in Johannesburg, that is almost as big as Belgium. When you stay near Port Elizabeth, you can choose out of different Big Five safari game reserves. We spent our last 5 days in 4 different game reserves and a National Park around Port Elizabeth. 

Safari South Africa Kruger Addo Elephant

Ultimate itinerary from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth in South Africa

Day 1: Franschhoek (A)

Day 2 – Day 6: Cape Town (B)

Day 7 – Day 8: Hermanus (C)

Day 9: Oudtshoorn (E)

Day 10: Garden Route via George to Knysna and Plettenberg Bay (F)

Day 11:  Garden Route to Ksitsikamma NP, Storms River and Port Elizabeth (G)

Day 12 – Day 13: Samara Private Game Reserve (H)

Day 14:  Bellevue Forest Reserve (I)

Day 15: Addo Elephant National Park (J)

Day 16 – Day 17: Shamwari Private Game Reserve (L)

itinerary cape town to port elizabeth

Day 1: Franschhoek and the winelands 

After a long flight and car pick-up at Cape Town Airport, our first stop was Franschhoek, a 45-minute drive along the N1 towards Paarl which will take you through the beautiful Wineland area of the Western Cape.

Franschhoek Winelands South Africa

As the name refers, Franschhoek is a traditionally French town that is appoint to the food and wine capital of the country. The Franschhoek valley is one of the most stunning parts of the Cape Winelands and popular for some top restaurants, wine estates, golf courses and of course the Wine Tram which will take you to several wine estates for wine tastings. Wine lovers will admire this stunning place!

Wine Tram South Africa thing to do

For us, it was a perfect place to start our holiday, but it’s also nice to stay in Franschhoek after your visit to Cape Town, to relax and unwind after the busy city life. 

Where to stay in Franschhoek?

We stayed at the amazing and peaceful Angala Boutique Hotel, located within the Wine Estate of Vrede & Lust in the heart of the Cape Winelands. This boutique hotel is a real gem and offers comfortable modern cottages and bungalows in a lovely, peaceful and quite environment.

Places to stay in Franschhoek

We were given their biggest bungalow including a private swimming pool with mountain views from our bedroom and from the pool. I loved their outside breakfast overlooking their natural pool in a nicely decorated garden. The spa is amazing as well!

Angala Boutique Hotel Franschhoek SA

Be aware that Angala Boutique Hotel is not in the centre of Franschhoek, but located between Franschhoek and Paarl in the area called Drakenstein. From the property you can easily go for a hike up to magnificent mountains and walk through the beautiful gardens. Don’t forget to go for a wine tasting at Vrede & Lust; you will receive a voucher for a complimentary wine tasting. I could have stayed here for a few more days, because it’s so peaceful. I would advise to stay at least two nights. 

Winetasting Vrede and Lust Drakenstein Winelands SA

Day 2-6: Cape Town, the Mother City

What can I say? Cape Town is one of my most favourite cities in the world and I could write several articles about the best views, great restaurants and best things to do in Cape Town. I can easily put together a 7-day Cape Town itinerary with must visits and adventure activities in Cape Town, but I will keep it short in this South Africa itinerary travel blog because I want to focus on the route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. 

One of the main reasons to visit South Africa is exploring Cape Town, also known as the Mother City. With beautiful views everywhere and lots of things to do, you must add Cape Town to your South Africa travel itinerary or plan a city trip to Cape Town to only focus on the city and its surroundings.

Travel to CapeTown South Africa

Are you a first-time visitor? You would probably want to explore the most popular places to visit in Cape Town including tourist attractions like Table Mountain, Robben Island, Lion’s Head, Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the penguins at Boulders Beach, Cape of Good Hope, Cape Point and the wine area of Stellenbosch to taste some of South Africa’s finest wines. These were exactly the spots I visited when I first traveled to South Africa. Back then, I started my first Africa trip in Johannesburg and ended my trip in Cape Town.

Cape Town Penguins Boulders Beach

Penguins Simons Town Best Thing To Do Cape Town

For the sake of convenience there’s a Hop-on Hop-off bus that will easily take you to most of the Cape Town highlights, but you can also walk or take an Uber. Although we had our own car, we walked a lot and took various Ubers.

Bo Kaap things to do Cape Town

You should also add Bo-Kaap and Camps Bay to the list of things to do in Cape Town and don’t forget to visit Signal Hill, one of the best sunset spots in Cape Town. Another great spot for watching the sunset is Sunset Rock with views over Camps Bay, Lion’s Head, 12 Apostles, Clifton Beach and Robben Island.

Visit Camps Bay Best Sunset Spot Cape Town

Apart from the above mentioned popular places to see in Cape Town, I would also recommend visiting the Saturday market in Woodstock and the Old Biscuit Mill, a trip to Blouberg Strand to admire Table Mountain from a distance and taking Instagrammable selfies at the colourful beach huts on Muizenberg Beach.

Blouberg Strand Table Mountain View

Muizenberg colorful houses South Africa

Another top thing to do in Cape Town is driving the iconic 9km long Chapman’s Peak Drive, that contains 114 curves and beautiful sceneries everywhere. It’s known as one of the most beautiful drives in the world and therefore not to be missed when you travel to Cape Town.

Chapmans Peak Drive CapeTown Best Thing To Do

Driving Chapmans Peak Cape TOwn

If you visit the Mother City between November and April, a great Cape Town travel tip is to attend the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concert Series that take place every Sunday. It’s a great way to enjoy music in Cape Town. As you might imagine there is absolutely no shortage of things to do in Cape Town. I would recommend staying 5-7 days in Cape Town, definitely when it’s your first visit!

Penguins of CapeTown South Africa

Where to stay in Cape Town?

If you’re looking for a boutique hotel with excellent service; Derwent House Boutique Hotel is the place to be! Without a doubt they deserve the certificate of excellence, traveller’s choice and the 5-star ranking at TripAdvisor.

Derwent is perfectly located in a safe neighbourhood called ‘Gardens’, around the corner of Kloof Street (an extension of Long Street). It’s close to delicious restaurants and nearby popular attractions. The hotel also has a swimming pool and jacuzzi.

Derwent House Boutique Hotel Cape Town

The rooms are equipped with everything you’ll need; some contain a living room and kitchen and all rooms are differently designed and decorated! As I said before, the team of Derwent offers a great service. There is always someone on duty at the reception desk and they even serve a nightcap when you come back in the evening. Apart from that the Derwent Boutique Hotel also has their own Gin-Bar. 

Places to stay Cape Town Derwent Hotel

When you go to the beach, you will receive a beach bag and they generally ask you what your plans are for the day and give you several options of things to do in Cape Town including their favourite restaurant recommendations.

Guests can use the free and guarded parking area and every morning there’s a various breakfast with a daily special. The staff really made me feel at home in this cosy boutique hotel and I would stay again! Some rooms also offer perfect views of the Table Mountain; pretty stunning.

Roomview Derwent House Hotel Capetown

Day 7: Clarence Drive from Cape Town to Hermanus

From Cape Town we drove a beautiful, coastal route to Hermanus. We took the so called ‘Whale Watching Route’ that includes the ‘Clarence Drive’ (the scenic R44 route) and stopped at different places like Gordons Bay, Dappat se Gat and Stoney Point. 

Clarence Drive Thing To Do South Africa

We were hoping to spot the Great White Sharks at Dappat se Gat, because False Bay used to be home to this world's largest known predatory fish. Unfortunately, they vanished and haven’t been seen in 2019; nobody knows why. It could be the presence of orca’s or fishermen, because they sell their prey, but it’s still unclear. The last shark sighting at Dappat se Gat (could be all species) was one month before we visited the place.

Penguins Stony Point top thing to do

We had more luck with spotting penguins at Stoney Point because they are always there. This nature reserve is a much quieter place to watch African penguins than the more famous Boulders Beach. Entrance fee for Stoney Point is 25 ZAR per person. Although I already observed the penguins at Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town, I really liked Stoney Point because it was less touristy and the surroundings were beautiful.

Stony Point Best thing to do

Day 8: Hermanus and the Southern Right Whales

Hermanus is famous for Southern Right Whale watching between May and November, but sadly the whale sightings in South Africa have dropped extremely the past few years. For that reason, we weren’t lucky to spot any whales in Hermanus.

Hermanus Whale Watching South Africa

Locals explained they have seen whales, but they left two weeks before we arrived in Hermanus. However, there were some sightings of whales in Port Elizabeth.

Cliff Path Walk Hermanus Thing to do

Because of the poor shark and whale sightings, we changed our program in Hermanus and enjoyed the Cliff Path Walk, instead of a marine activity like natural Shark predation and spotting whales. The Cliff Path offers outstanding views of the coast and sea, where you can enjoy rock formations and extremely high waves. You can also visit the Fernkloof Nature Reserve.

Hermanus Cliff Path High Waves Rocks

Where to stay in Hermanus?

We spent two nights at Whale on Main B&B that offers 5 spacious rooms. We were given a room with a large balcony and a comfortable king-sized bed. It was very quiet and peaceful, so we really came to rest.

The accommodation offers a free private parking and a garden with a swimming pool. The owners, Marlene and Zeno, were lovely hosts; their service is very good and personal. They advised about activities and recommended several restaurants like Walkers Grill ad Chads Grill and Wine Bar, which I would recommend too.

The Bed & Breakfast was fairly new, perfectly located across the street where you can enter the Cliff Path and close to Hermanus town (15 minutes). I highly recommend staying at the Whale on Main B&B to relax and unwind.

Travel To Hermanus South Africa

Day 9: Cape Route 62 from Hermanus to Oudtshoorn

The route from Hermanus to Oudtshoorn is about 360km and will take you around 5,5 hours including road works and a quick lunch stop on the way. You will drive the Cape Route 62 that serves as a tourist route. After the popular Garden Route (or Tuinroute) this route is one of the most beautiful and scenic drives of the Western Cape.

The R62 will lead you through the dryer parts of the Klein Karoo; very different from the landscapes you see on the Garden Route, but not less beautiful. On your way to Oudtshoorn, I would recommend stopping in the town called ‘Barrydale’ to have your early lunch (or breakfast). Two famous lunch restaurants in this area are ‘Diesel and Crème’ for its famous milkshakes and ‘Ronnies Sex Shop’ which is no sex shop at all but thought it would probably sell better.

Diesel and crème lunch stop barrydale

Oudtshoorn, Klein Karoo

Oudtshoorn is known as the Ostrich Capital of the world and a lot of people go there to visit ostrich farms, the Cango Caves or to do a Meerkat adventure, some great things to do in Oudtshoorn. The Karoo is also a great spot for stargazing activities, because it has some of the darkest skies in South Africa.

Klein Karoo South Africa

Safari Buffelsdrift Game Reserve

Bush Safari at Buffelsdrift Game Reserve

Buffelsdrift Game Reserve is located in Oudtshoorn and is a reserve where you can go for a bush safari. Apart from spotting a variety of animals, the guides will also teach you some facts about birds and plant species of the Karoo. We went for a two-hour afternoon game drive including a refreshment break at a high lookout point with views over the Klein Karoo.

Safari in Oudsthoorn South Africa

I personally think it’s a good activity for a first-time safari experience, but it’s a relatively short activity and less spectacular wildlife viewings. Because of the extremely drought in the Karoo, the reserve added extra feeding grounds for the animals. In terms of wildlife we spotted two rhinos at the feeding ground and some giraffes and impalas. After the game drive we had dinner at the deck with views of the waterhole, where you can watch and hear the sounds of hippos and birds at sunset.

Wildlife Spotting Buffelsdrift Hippo

Meerkat Adventure

Another popular thing to do in Oudtshoorn is the daily wild habituated Meerkat experience. During a 2 to 3-hour tour, you will share the sunrise with a Meerkat family. While you are sitting in a chair, you can observe the Meerkats as they come out of the burrow to start their daily routine like seeking for food.

There are only a few operators who run this tour. We did this Meerkat Adventure with Five Shy Meerkats on a farm just outside Oudtshoorn, which is home to the original Meerkat conservation site ‘De Zeekoe’. This is the only place in South Africa where you can do this Meerkat activity.

Meerkat activity south africa

The tours of Five Shy Meerkats are operated by experienced tour guides. I think it’s an amazing and very unique experience to see these wild animals in their natural environment. While the Meerkats warmed their tummies in the sun for blood circulation, we learned more about their warming up process and behaviour.

I would definitely recommend this tour by Five Shy Meerkats. It’s worth the early morning wake-up and you will be back in time to enjoy your breakfast.

Meerkat Adventure thing to do oudsthoorn

Where to stay in Oudtshoorn

Boutique glamping is a great way to experience the Karoo and that’s possible at AfriCamps Klein Karoo, where you will be staying in a luxury tent, located only a 10-minute drive from Oudtshoorn centre. The tents are amazing; spacious and well equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, comfortable beds, a sitting area and a balcony with a great view over the Klein Karoo surroundings. 

Africamps Oudtshoorn Glamping

Views Africamps Klein Karoo

We were given a tent with the best view, near the dam. Because of the extreme drought this area in South Africa is facing, there sadly wasn’t any water available to fill the dam, which means there wasn’t much wildlife around. Apart from that I still loved the tranquil view. 

Preparing your own ‘braai’ (bbq in Afrikaans) or watching the milky way from your tent makes this experience even better. Inside the tents, there is a fireplace to warm up on the cooler evenings and an air-conditioning for the hot days. 

Birds Klein Karoo South Africa

At the check-in you will receive an extensive breakfast box with fresh juice, coffee, water, bread, eggs, yoghurt, cereals, and muffins. You can keep it in the fridge in your tent and enjoy your breakfast the following morning; just perfect.

Day 10: Garden Route via George to Knysna and Plettenberg Bay (F)

The Garden Route, also known as Tuinroute, is one of the most popular things to do in South Africa. The official Garden Route starts in Mossel Bay and ends at Storms River. From Oudtshoorn we drove to George, which means we skipped the first part of the Garden Route. We had an overnight stay in Plettenberg to have a little more rest and spend some time at the beach. After one night we continued the route to Port Elizabeth.

The Garden Route has a lot to offer like beautiful beaches, extreme outdoor activities and national parks. More inland you will find beautiful mountains, lakes and lagoons. You can visit this area over and over, and explore different things every time you drive the Garden Route. Some popular places along the Garden Route are: George, Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Nature’s Valley and the awesome Storms River Suspension Bridge in Tsitsikamma National Park.

Adventure Activity Tsitsikamma Garden Route

Day 11: Garden Route to Ksitsikamma NP, Storms River and Port Elizabeth

I really liked Knysna, a cosy and charming town at the Knysna lagoon. This is also one of the most popular stops halfway the Garden Route. After our overnight stay in Plettenberg, we visited Tsitsikamma National Park and did the most popular ‘Mouth Trail’ to the Suspension Bridge, the hanging bridge over the Storms River. The trail took about 1 hour (2km walk).

Storms River Suspension Bridge Tsitsikamma

Places to visit Garden Route Tsitsikamma

Another adventurous thing to do along the Garden Route is jumping off the 216-meter high Bloukrans Bridge above the Bloukrans River. The Bloukrans Bungy is the highest bungy bridge in the world and a bucket list item for many travellers. I didn’t jump; after jumping off the 111-meter high Victoria Falls Bridge in Zimbabwe I didn’t feel the need to do it again.

Excursion Suspension Bridge Storms River

From Tsitsikamma National Park to Port Elizabeth is only a 2-hour drive. Port Elizabeth is Cape Town’s little sister, with a nice relaxing atmosphere. There are many things to do in Port Elizabeth, from visiting the town and the beach to several marine activities like whale watching, spotting sharks and going on a boat trip to for example another colony of African penguins.

We stayed in Port Elizabeth for only 1 night and from there we planned several African safari experiences in different high-end game reserves: time for the African bush feeling; the reason why I fell in love with Africa in the first place.

Safari trip South Africa Giraffes at sunset

Day 12-13: Samara Private Game Reserve, Safari for the soul

The luxury, malaria-free Samara Private Game Reserve covering 67,000 acres of land, is located near Graaff-Reinet in the mighty Great Karoo. The best way to get there is by car over fairly good roads. From Port Elizabeth it will take you 2,5 hours to the main entrance gate of Samara. We had a short lunch stop at ‘the Ark’, an old farmhouse in Jansenville and filled up on fuel at the neighbouring gas station.

Game drive Samara Game Reserve

Once you reach Samara’s main entrance gate, you have to drive an unpaved road. Depending on which lodge you stay, this will be 15-18,4 km. 

Wildlife of Samara Game Reserve SA

Upon arrival at the lodge you will be welcomed by Samara’s friendly staff and you will quickly feel at home on this beautiful property with stunning views of the Great Karoo. 

We stayed in the rustic-chic Karoo Lodge; a renovated farmhouse. We were given a luxury cottage with private veranda. This charming and spacious Karoo Suite contains a fireplace, bath, indoor and outdoor shower and offers incredible mountain views and views of a nearby watering hole where elands and baboons came for a drink.

Spotting Wildlife South Africa Samara

Our two-night stay included two early-morning game drives, two afternoon game drives and all meals. During these game drives, we explored different areas of the reserve and we had some amazing wildlife sightings.

Sundowner Game Drive Samara

To fully experience all that Samara has to offer, for example their milky way star bed in a remote secluded location, I recommend staying there for at least 3 nights.

Sundowner Samara Private Game Reserve

Together with our guide and tracker, we traced wild cheetahs on foot, observed a mother and baby rhino and came very close to a group of elephants. At our last game drive, we drove all the way up to the mountain with 360 degrees panoramic views. 

Views Great Karoo Samara Reserve

Luxury game reserves south africa

Standing on top of the plateau with such spectacular views, makes you feel very small and humble. This special moment is one of my most vivid memories of this South African trip. Good to know is that the land is slowly recovering from the effects of agricultural exploitation and that it is Samara’s dream that the land will recover and bring back the wildlife that used to call the Great Karoo their home, but got locally extinct. 

Big Five Wildlife South Africa

South Africa Safari Experience Elephant

Samara is most famous for their story of a wild cheetah, Sibella, who has become a global ambassadress for cheetah conservation. Sibella’s life nearly ended at the hands of hunters but was rescued by De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust. In 2004 Sibella was the first to be released into the wild and the first cheetah back in the Karoo in 125 years. At the time of her death in 2015, Sibella was mother to 9, grandmother to 10 and great-grandmother to 18 cheetahs still alive across the country. A truly remarkable cat, contributing to 2.4% of the wild cheetah population in South Africa.

Cheetah Conservation Samara Karoo

Day 14: Bellevue Forest Reserve 

Bellevue Forest Reserve is a 2.500 hectare private and malaria-free game reserve, located in the Greater Addo region. It’s 74 km away from Port Elizabeth Airport (30 minutes) and neighbours the Addo Elephant National Park (20 minutes to the main gate) and Shamwari.

Elephants South Africa

This family friendly reserve is most famous for the unique Giraffe Walk excursion and home to wildlife such as lions and buffalo. Apart from the guided Giraffe Walk, they offer other daily outdoor activities like a Buffalo Feeding Tour, Stargazing experiences in their outdoor star bed and of course, game drives on their own property.

You won’t get bored in Bellevue Forest Reserve, but if you are up for some other wildlife you can also go on a day-trip to Addo Elephant National Park. 

Because Bellevue Forest Reserve is the only one who offers a giraffe walk, we couldn’t miss out on it. I think it’s an enjoyable activity; especially when you haven’t been close to wildlife before it’s very impressive to walk up very close to these animals. Walking with giraffes doesn’t mean touching our padding them; these are wild animals.

When the giraffes are comfortable you get out of the game drive vehicle to slowly walk in the footprints of the giraffes to observe their behaviour and get closer to them. Quite impressive if you look up to the most elegant animals of the African bush. During the activity, you will also stop at the Buffalo Camp of Bellevue what’s giving you a glimpse into the natural habitat of these animals, that are considered to be the most unpredictable animals of the African bush.

Giraffe Walk Best Things to Do Port Elizabeth

In Bellevue Forest Reserve, we stayed in the Elephants Lodge (Olifantskop Lodge), which overlooks the valley of the Reserve. It’s a cosy environment with natural gardens. The recently renovated rooms are small but very clean and equipped with everything you need. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at a common area with an atmospheric fire place and a bar.

The hosts will do anything to make their service as personal as possible and because of that, they really create a familiarity of home. For this reason, I would recommend this place in particular for solo travellers and families. At Bellevue you will find a delightful home away from home on vacation.

The hosts also prepared a delicious Braai and joined their present guests – including us – for dinner! We had a great evening and heard the lions roaring in the night; the sounds you want to hear while you’re on a safari near Port Elizabeth.

Top Things To Do Port Elizabeth Adoo Elephant

Day 15: Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant is South Africa's third largest national reserve and is home to the Big Five animals, namely; Black Rhino, Lion, Leopard, Buffalo and of course the Elephant. You should definitely visit Addo Elephant Park for at least a day trip, but you can also stay in the National Park. You can either go there with a guided tour or on a self-drive. Addo is perfect for a self-drive but you are not allowed to go off-road. We were lucky to spot a male and female lion, zebra’s and three elephants.

Lions of Addo Elephant South Africa

Where to stay Addo Elephant Park

Day 15-17: Shamwari Private Game Reserve

For an absolutely wonderful, rewarding and most luxury safari near Port Elizabeth, you have to choose Shamwari Game Reserve. Our stay was amazing, from the beginning to the end and I would like to express my sincere congratulations to the whole team of Shamwari Private Game Reserve.

I think it is the whole package that makes Shamwari such a wonderful place to be; the rooms are perfectly designed and fully equipped, the food they serve is delicious, all staff members are well-trained and their service is outstanding. They believe in the work they do and they do everything to make your stay unforgettable.

Shamwari Luxury Private Game Reserve

Guests can completely relax in style and luxury in a peaceful environment inspired by nature. With 7 lodges and 1 explorer camp, they can definitely meet different expectations, whether traveling with family, friends or business associates.

We stayed in the newly renovated luxury ‘tent’ of Bayethe Lodge that provides an in- and outdoor shower, ensuite bathroom with bath, king sized comfortable bed, relaxed lounge area and a private deck with plunge pool and a great view with chances of spotting wildlife.

Shamwari Bayethe Lodge

What absolutely made our stay even more wonderful is the quality of the game drives and in particular the quality and knowledge of our ranger, Timothy. He made our safari experience truly memorable. We had a lovely time and apart from stunning wildlife sightings, Timothy taught us a lot about tracking, the animal’s behaviour and the beautiful environment. We couldn’t have wished for a better ranger who truly loves his work and belongs to the African bush.

Lions feeding on pray Shamwari

Lion Cubs Hunting Shamwari South Africa

On top of all, Shamwari Private Game Reserve is really successful in conservation. They even have been declared a protected environment because of their conservation efforts, for example The Born Free Foundation.

Born Free Foundation Shamwari Game Reserve

Shamwari, what means ‘friend’, is totally living up to her name. A stay at Shamwari Private Game Reserve will be memorable, because it truly is a magical place.

Black Rhino Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Cape Town Garden Route Travel Blog

This South Africa itinerary travel blog is written by Kim Paffen, an award-winning travel- & wildlife photographer, one of Traveltomtom’s talented team members with a deep-seated passion for traveling in Africa.

For Traveltomtom, she traveled to this beautiful country and shared all her South Africa tips and incredible photos in this travel guide and itinerary. Check out her Instagram account: @ourplanetinmylens

I hope the above South Africa itinerary and travel tips from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth were helpful for you. Feel free to help me in return by sharing the link of this article somewhere on internet. Every pin on Pinterest or share on Facebook is very much appreciated.

For more Africa inspiration and amazing photos of Kim have a look at her Uganda Travel Guide and Madagascar travel blogs.

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