Self Drive South Africa: Places worth stopping for

A road trip isn’t all about the road – it’s often the stops along the way that make it memorable. Here is Hayes and Jarvis’ definitive guide to spots worthy of a detour along your way

Team Wanderlust
01 September 2014
Promoted by
Hayes and Jarvis

From the Limpopo River to the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa is a land of diversity and discovery, from vineyard to veldt. What better way to discover this fantastic country than on your own road drip adventure?


Rich in history and possessing breathtaking scenery, Hermanus is a must-see for anyone heading east along the Garden Route from Cape Town. Hermanus is also generally considered one of the best places in the world for land-based whale watching between the months of July to November, although you can often see them all year round.  


Often overlooked by self-drivers who are on a tight schedule, Swellendam should definitely be considered by those who have more time to discover the Garden Route. Swellendam is famous for its Cape Dutch architecture and its history (it’s the fourth oldest town in South Africa). For people interested in the local flora, Swellendam should be high on the list as it is home to the fynbos and many endemic species of wildflower.

Most people self-driving the Garden Route will stop at Knysna at some point. Whilst Oudtshoorn is known as the ‘ostrich capital’, Knysna is known as the ‘oyster capital’ for obvious reason. In fact, every year the town hosts the annual Knysna Oyster Festival normally held in late June and early July. The town attracts more British visitors than any other town along the Garden Route and more recently, record numbers of golfers as the area is also host to many world class golf courses.


South Africa’s ‘ostrich capital’ is in fact the home of the world’s largest ostrich population. The breeding of ostriches dates back to as early as 1875 when ostrich feathers were considered the height of fashion to have on coats or on ladies hats, and the small town became extremely wealthy off the back of their breeding farms.

A stop in Oudtshoorn would not be complete without a visit to the nearby Cango Caves. The Caves are visited by thousands of visitors each year who come to see the series of chambers and tunnels that are full of stalagmites and stalactites. Although the Caves go on for at least four kilometres, visitors are only allowed to venture as far as the first kilometre, and always with an experienced guide.

This National Park is a well known coastal reserve famous for its indigenous forests, dramatic coastline and the Otter Trail (one of South Africa’s most popular hiking routes). The park covers a 50 mile long stretch of coastline and is often the port of call for adrenaline junkies because of its proximity to the Bloukrans Bridge, and the world’s highest bungee jump at 709 ft.

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