This unusual Cape to Kalahari self-drive tour (13 nights) contrasts cosmopolitan Cape Town and the Cape Winelands with the stark beauty of the dry Kalahari. It includes game-viewing to the Kgalagadi National Park and a visit to the spectacular Augrabies Falls.

Cape Town is one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world. Cradled by Table Mountain, it has immense charm and historical interest whilst its unique cultural blend; part African, part European, part Asian. After a few days relaxing in Cape Town and the pictureque Cape Winelands, you meander slowly north to the rugged Cederberg Mountains. The Cederberg is known for its beautiful rock formations, San rock art paintings and walking trails. You continue to Namaqualand, an area famous for its spring flowers. Then on to the magnificent Augrabies Falls National Park. Here the Orange River thunders through a 19 km gorge and plunges down 200m into a rock enclosed pool below.

You finish the Cape to Kalahari self drive tour with a few days of game-viewing in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. No one who has travelled through the Kalahari can forget its raw grandeur. It is one of the last true wilderness areas of Southern Africa. The vast Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a land of red desert dunes, endless horizons and huge skies. It is home to the desert-adapted Kalahari lion as well as to leopard, cheetah, hyena and immense herds of springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest, blue wildebeest and eland. Nowhere in South Africa are you more likely to see cheetah than in these dry river beds.

The tour ends in Upington where you can fly back to Cape Town or Johannesburg.

Cape to Kalahari at a glance:

3 nights Vineyard Hotel & Spa, Cape Town BB
2 nights Oude Werf Hotel or Franschhoek Country House BB
2 nights Oudrif Farm, Cederberg FB
1 night Papkuilsfontein, Namaqualand DBB
2 nights Augrabies Restcamp, Augrabies Falls National Park RO
3 nights Twee Rivieren Restcamp, Kgalakgadi National Park RO

See Day by Day
Day 1

3 nights Cape Town, B&B

On arrival at Cape Town Airport you collect your rental car (2×4 SUV vehicle such as Toyota Rav or Hyundai Tucsan ) and drive to the Vineyard Hotel & Spa for 3 nights.

The Vineyard Hotel & Spa is one of the original Cape Town hotels and offers a delightful alternative to staying in the city. This vibrant hotel lies in 6 acres of garden with rolling lawns and established trees in the leafy Newlands area only 15 mins from Cape Town city centre. The terrace and gardens, complete with trails along its river frontage, have glorious views over the forested slopes of Table Mountain.

Accommodation: Vineyard Hotel
Located in: Cape Town - Constantia - South Africa

Day 4

2 nights Winelands, B&B

Today you drive to the nearby Winelands region, an area of exquisite beauty with rocky mountains overlooking green vineyards; oak avenues leading to elegant Cape Dutch wine estates and some of the most charming towns and villages in South Africa. Explore the oak-lined town of Stellenbosch, a bustling university city with some unique museums; enjoy the rural charm of the Huguenot settlement of Franschhoek or meander along a wine route.

Oude Werf Hotel  –  Elegance and ambience are the bywords of this gracious hotel, situated in the heart of historic Stellenbosch. The Georgian Cape Dutch entrance sets the tone for the interior, where gleaming wood and antiques combine with new contemporary influences.

The bedrooms have recently been completely revamped and are now modern in style which makes for a pleasant juxtaposition between the historic charm of the public areas. Each en suite bedroom is uniquely decorated and blends gracious period style with eclectic 21st Century comfort with easy chairs, minibar, television, tea and coffee facilities, hairdryers and air-conditioning. There’s a choice of classic rooms, slightly larger superior rooms or deluxe rooms. All have spacious bathrooms with showers and walk-in dressing rooms.

Alternative accommodation: Franschhoek Country House & Villas

Accommodation: The Oude Werf Hotel
Located in: Cape Winelands - South Africa - Stellenbosch

Accommodation: Franschhoek Country House & Villas
Located in: Cape Winelands - Franschhoek - South Africa

Day 6

2 nights Cedarberg area, Full Board & Activities

Today you head north to the majestic and rugged Cederberg Mountains. famous for their unique rock formations, San rock paintings and spectacular wild flowers in spring. Take a fascinating journey to the picturesque mission village of Wuppertal deep in the Cedarberg, or follow a walking trail to some of the ancient rock paintings.

Oudrif Farm is located on the banks of the perennial Doring River. The greatest attraction of Oudrif has to be its complete isolation. It is set against a landscape of pre-historic rock formations and boasts with old fossils and superb rock art sites amongst indigenous fynbos and abundant birdlife. In keeping with the conservation philosophy of Oudrif, straw bale building blocks were used. (3½ hours, 270km)

Accommodation: Oudrif Farm
Located in: Cederberg & West Coast - Cederberg Mountains - Clanwilliam - South Africa

Day 8

1 night Nieuwoudtville in Namaqualand, DBB

Drive north and spend one night at Papkuilsfontein Farm in the Nieuwoudtville area.

Papkuilsfontein Farm is a little Northern Cape gem tucked away in the little “dorp” of Nieuwoudtville, known as the bulb capital of South Africa and one of the main areas for wild spring flowers during late July to mid September. But even during other months, there is something quintessentially South Africa about this area. We recommend that you explore their canyon with its 180m waterfall. In summer you can even swim in the surrounding deep rock pools. (2½ hours, 160km)

Day 9

Augrabies National Park, 2 nights, Room Only

Travel on to spend two nights at the Augrabies Restcamp in the Augrabies National Park. “Augrabies” comes from a local korana name “Oukurubi” meaning “place of great noise”. The Orange River thunders through a 19 km gorge and plunges down 200m into a rock enclosed pool below.

The rest camp is very pleasant – the accommodation is of a good standard for a National Park and there are three salt-water swimming pools, a self-service restaurant for the daytime, an evening restaurant and a bar. (5 hours, 470km)

Day 11

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, 3 nights, Room Only

Continue to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with its excellent game viewing.

Stay three nights at the comfortable Twee Rivieren Restcamp.  (4½ hours, 390km) or you can spend 1 night at Twee Rivieren before continuing to the more remote Mata Mata or Nossob restcamps.

Accommodation: Twee Rivieren Rest Camp
Located in: Kgalagadi National Park in the Kalahari - Northern Cape - South Africa

Day 14

Return rental car to Upington

Drive to Upington airport to drop off your rental car in time for your onward flight.

View Interactive Itinerary
See Route on Map
Meals and accommodation as shown in text, Europcar Group S car rental (SUV) with unlimited kilometres and supercover insurance. Upgrades to larger vehicles easily arranged.
International & domestic flights, visas, items of a personal nature, meals not specified
Best time to go:
April to October, especially August and September
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