Mellow South Africa self drive

Self-drive Holidays are wildly popular in South Africa and is affordable, easy and flexible. A South Africa self drive holidays is the best way to explore some of the routes that are most popular such as Cape Town, the Winelands and the Garden Route.

This relaxed Mellow South Africa self drive holiday begins in Cape Town and ends at the Kruger. It takes in the Winelands & the Garden Route and the sub-tropical KwaZulu Natal with time enjoying the Indian Ocean and on safari. Travel through the Royal Kingdom of Swaziland to enjoy some time on safari in the Kruger Park at one of the private concessions before relaxing near the Blyde River Canyon area at the end of your trip.

Your Accommodation at a glance:

3 nights Cape Town, Four Rosmead Boutique Hotel B&B,

2 nights Cape Winelands, Franschhoek Country House, B&B

3 nights Garden Route, Hog Hollow Country Lodge or Periwinkle Lodge in Plettenberg Bay, B&B

Drive to Port Elizabeth for flight to Durban. Collect a new rental car and stay overnight on the Dolphin Coast at Canelands Beach House B&B

2 nights St Lucia, Serene Estate, B&B

2 nights Northern KZN – On Safari at Leopard Mountain Lodge

 1 night Swaziland at Reilly’s Rock Lodge, Dinner, B&B

2 nights Kruger National Park, Rhino Post Safari Lodge (Full Board & Game Drives)

2 nights Oliver’s Lodge & Restaurant, B&B

Return rental car to Johannesburg.

Tailor-made options

As with nearly all our sample itineraries, it can be tailor-made to suit you and your interests and time-frame. Though we don’t recommend cutting it down in length by more than a night… As this is a sample itinerary, you can also reverse the trip and start in Johannesburg and end in Cape Town.

If you have more time, we would recommend adding a night en route to the Garden Route. Perhaps at the beautiful Hermanus or Swellendam. A second night in Swaziland is also recommended or perhaps more time on safari? Note you can also drop the car at a nearer airport and fly back to Johannesburg if you prefer not to drive.

Contact us for YOUR perfect Self drive South African holiday!

See Day by Day
Day 1

Arrive in Cape Town, 3 nights Four Rosmead, Bed & Breakfast

On arrival at Cape Town Airport you collect your rental car and drive to Four Rosmead Boutique Hotel for your 3 night stay in Cape Town

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 and part Asian, makes for a cosmopolitan dining experience. Take the cable car or walk up Table Mountain, visit the colorful Malay quarter or meander through the wonderful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Browse through the vibrant Greenmarket Square, take a boat trip to Robben Island or simply relax on the beach. When you want to range further, the Cape Peninsula offers one of the finest coastal drives in Africa to the Cape of Good Hope. Here you might see whales breeching just off the bay or quirky African penguins on Boulder’s beach.

Four Rosmead Guesthouse is situated on the slopes of Table Mountain in the select Oranjezicht area and enjoys 360º views of the mountain, Lions Head, Signal Hill, Table Bay and the city. This elegant boutique hotel/lodge is within walking distance of the city centre, vibrant Kloof Street with its restaurants and alfresco café scene, and is 5 minutes by car to the V&A Waterfront, or the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay. Warm hospitality, discreet and efficient service are very much the hallmarks of Four Rosmead.

Accommodation: Four Rosmead
Located in: Cape Town - Cape Town City Bowl - South Africa

Day 4

Head to Winelands, 2 nights Franschhoek Country House (B&B)

The Winelands region is 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. The main pleasure of this region is the enjoyment of the good life: appreciating the wine and the superb architecture, enjoying long, lazy meals in one of the many excellent restaurants, browsing in Shops and galleries or taking scenic drives or walks in the surrounding mountains. We suggest you make your dinner reservations with the more popular restaurants, well in advance as availability could be an issue closer to the time and we would like to avoid disappointment. Herewith a very useful online service to assist with making your reservations Explore the oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch, a bustling university town; enjoy the rural charm of the Huguenot settlement of Franschhoek or meander along a wine route.

Franschhoek Country House is a Provençal-style country house hotel on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Franschhoek. It is surrounded by enchanting vineyards and majestic mountains. The 14 original rooms are lovingly furnished and decorated in period style, with television, air-conditioning, telephone, mini-bar, tea & coffee facilities and bathrooms with bath and shower.

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

Day 6

Drive to the Garden Route for 3 night at Hog Hollow Country Lodge, Plettenberg Bay B&B

The Garden Route thoroughly deserves its reputation for enchanting beauty. The ‘Garden’ refers not to cultivated gardens, but to its captivating, Edenesque qualities with indigenous forests of tall yellowwoods and milkwoods covering the slopes of the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains. This region, between Mossel Bay and the Storms River, offers a spectacular coastline of dramatic headlands giving way to white sandy beaches.

Behind the sand dunes lie placid lagoons and lakes, with a hinterland of soaring mountains, covered by indigenous rainforest, magnificent twisting passes, waterfalls and wooded ravines.

Hog Hollow Country Lodge lies in its own private nature reserve approx 18km east of the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay, in the heart of the Garden Route. It is known for its breathtaking views over the indigenous forest to the Tsitsikamma Mountains beyond, but we think that Hog Hollow is one of the best all-round country lodges on the Garden Route. It is essentially a rural retreat for lovers of delectable food, warm hospitality and panoramic views.

Accommodation: Hog Hollow Country Lodge
Located in: Garden Route - Plettenberg Bay - South Africa - Tsitsikamma

Accommodation: Periwinkle Lodge
Located in: Garden Route - Plettenberg Bay - South Africa

Day 9

Fly from Port Elizabeth to Durban. 1 night Canelands Beach Club (B&B)

Today you drive to Port Elizabeth in time for your afternoon flight to Durban. On arrival, you collect another rental car and enjoy a short drive to Salt Rock to stay overnight

The Dolphin Coast is actually the name of a small stretch of coast from Durban northwards to the Tongaat River. It includes a series of seaside towns with lovely sandy beaches. The frequent sighting of bottlenose dolphins playing in the Indian Ocean waves has resulted in its name.

Ballito and Umhlanga to the north of Durban offer endless stretches of sandy beaches, and are ideal for swimming, relaxing and enjoying alfresco seafood cuisine. Here you’re away from the bustle of the city and yet easily within reach of its attractions such as the lush botanical gardens and enticing Indian spice markets. The Dolphin Coast is famous of course for its bottle-nosed dolphins – take a boat cruise to view them at close range, whilst the golf courses at Zimbali, Mount Edgecombe and the Royal Durban rival the best in South Africa. Everywhere the traditional arts and crafts of the Zulu nation are available to buy.

Canelands Beach Club & Spa is a luxurious and exclusive 10 bedroom (all en-suite) hotel nestled in the popular upmarket region of Salt Rock. Enjoy 180 degree views over the ocean, the sound of waves crashing metres away, and a feeling of utter tranquillity. Experience the serene environment, being served cocktails, and savour the smell of the sea breeze while enjoying culinary delights prepared by the chef.


Day 10

Head to St Lucia for 2 nights  at Serene Estate, B&B

Head north to St Lucia (2 hours). St Lucia is South Africa’s primary wetland complex. It is a mix of lake, lagoon, pan, marshland, papyrus swamp, sand forest and grassland. The wetlands are separated from the tropical coastline by a strip of coastal dunes, which tower 120 metres above the beaches. The centre of the system is St Lucia Lake, a shallow 36,000-hectare lake that averages only one metre in depth. It is home to an estimated 1500 crocodile and 700 hippos, great flocks of pelicans and flamingos as well as many other water birds. The variety of birds at Lake St Lucia is astounding, and the complex is justifiably world famous as an area to see spectacular bird life.

Cape Vidal is a superb coastal area north from St Lucia – superb for snorkelling at a low tide. The marine habitat is the route used by humpback whales on their northerly migration to Mozambique to calve. Other ‘big game’ fish include migratory marlin, sailfish and dolphins. We recommend that you take a boat cruise on the St Lucia Lake and possibly a marine boat cruise in season to look for whales and dolphins.

Serene Estate is ideal for lovers of modern architecture and they have strived to achieve the perfect balance between architecture and natural landscape. Serene Estate has a so-called Dutch design which is a mixture of minimalistic architecture and Nouvelles Formes with its characteristic bent lines.

The tranqul open layout of Serene Estate gives you direct access on three different levels to the rooms, lounge, breakfast room / big terrace with roof garden and fish pond. In the garden, there’s a good-sized rimflow swimming pool and martini deck. From the rooftop garden you can even see the ocean beyond the sand dunes.

Luxurious Park View rooms have big windows with a view to the gardens and the Wetland park beyond. Each spacious suite has a comfortable sitting area and air-conditioning, ceiling fan, minibar, flat screen satellite TV, king size bed with Auping mattresses, complimentary wifi, hair dryer and coffee/tea facilities. All bathrooms are luxurious, with double basins, separate toilet, bath, shower and towel heater.

Accommodation: Serene Estate
Located in: Isimangaliso & Coastal Maputaland - KwaZulu Natal - South Africa

Day 12

Head north to Leopard Mountain Lodge for 2 nights on safari, Full Board & Game Activities

Today you enjoy a relatively short drive to Leopard Mountain Game Lodge for two nights on safari.

Leopard Mountain is a 4 star, award winning lodge. Located high up in the wild secluded hills of the 56 000 ha Manyoni Private Game Reserve. Hosting the Big Five, Leopard Mountain offers spectacular and uninterrupted views from the lodge. Overlooking the Umsunduze River meandering below and a vast stretch of unspoiled bushland and riverine forests. An every changing panorama over the African plains…

Accommodation: Leopard Mountain Game Lodge
Located in: KwaZulu Natal - KwaZulu Natal Game Lodges - South Africa

Day 14

Drive through Swaziland. Overnight Reilly’s Rock Lodge, Dinner, B&B

The Kingdom of Swaziland, to the south of the Kruger, provides a fascinating cultural and wildlife experience; a beautiful, peaceful and relatively prosperous African country. The Swazis have a well-developed sense of their own culture and are open-minded and friendly in their outlook.

It is a small country but with several ecological zones from rain forest in the northwest to savannah grassland in the dry eastern parts. The western edge of the kingdom is heavily forested with deep gorges, lush valleys and fast flowing rivers and waterfalls. From Mbabane, you descend to the grassland plateau containing many tropical fruit farms, where the majority of people live. The Swazis are renowned craftsmen, and you can buy terrific examples of basket ware, colourful fabrics, carvings, and Mother of Pearl in friendly markets and roadside stalls. White-water rafting and hiking are on offer for the adventurous whilst others may prefer a mellow round of golf, mountain biking, game-viewing or a gentle horse ride through the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary.

Reilly’s Rock Lodge is the utterly captivating former homestead of conservationist Ted Reilly. Enjoying commanding views of Mlilwane’s game-studded plains, its atmosphere is one of complete peace and tranquillity. The colonial homestead has a colourful pioneer history and has been sympathetically restored with great attention to period detail. Accommodation consists of six beautifully furnished bedrooms including a charming cottage with two en suite bedrooms, a sitting room with fireplace and wraparound veranda – ideal for two couples travelling together. Breakfast on the veranda, listening to the sounds of the birds, is a magical experience.

Accommodation: Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge
Located in: Eswatini (Swaziland)

Day 15

Head to the Kruger National Park for 2 nights on safari at a private game lodge. Rhino Post Safari Lodge (Full Board & Game Drives)

A safari is nearly always an important part of a holiday in Southern Africa – words cannot describe the thrill of tracking a leopard on the hunt or observing a breeding herd of elephants at a waterhole. The Kruger Park is the first choice for many of our guests, given the unsurpassed concentration and diversity of wildlife on offer. One of the finest nature reserves in Africa, the Kruger is a vast wilderness of thorn trees, prolific game and sub-tropical heat. It is home not only to The Big Seven – elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino, cheetah and wild dog, but also to an abundance of smaller, equally fascinating animals and birdlife.

Rhino Post Safari Lodge is a 16-bed lodge, set on the banks of the Mutlumuvi riverbed, within a 12,000 hectare private concession in the Kruger National Park. This unique wilderness area offers you the ideal place for encounters with the Big Five from the comfort of open safari vehicles. The nature of a wilderness area is that there are no permanent structures, so Rhino Post Safari Lodge was built using natural materials of stone, wood, thatch and canvas to create an authentic bush ambience.

Accommodation: Rhino Post Safari Lodge
Located in: Kruger National Park - Kruger Park - South Africa

Day 17

Head to the Drakensberg Escarpment, 2 nights Olivers Hotel, B&B

The Drakensberg Escarpment offers welcome relaxation after the excitement of a safari. This area of sculpted peaks and deep ravines, tumbling streams and green valleys is only two hours drive from the private game lodges and the Kruger, and three hours from Johannesburg. The region provides a marked contrast to the sub-tropical bushveld, with scenic mountain passes, relaxing walks, horse riding and golf all on offer. The drive alongside the Blyde River Canyon, a majestic red sandstone gorge with sheer cliffs plunging into waters below, is magnificent. Gentle walking trails connect a series of delicate waterfalls.

Oliver’s Hotel & Restaurant is a very pleasant four star hotel between White River and Hazyview in the Drakensberg Escarpment area close to the Kruger National Park.

Accommodation: Oliver’s Hotel & Restaurant
Located in: Blyde River Canyon - South Africa

Day 19

Domestic flights are not included in the price above as it is subject to change. This tour starts in Cape Town and ends in either Kruger Airport or Johannsburg. You will need a domestic flight from Port Elizabeth to Durban Airport, and possibly one from Kruger Airport to Johannesburg. We will quote on these flight(s) at time of enquiry but you should budget on between R1,800 and R2,000 per person, more if you choose to fly from the Kruger to Johannesburg.

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Meals and accommodation as shown in text, Car rental 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:
All year round but especially October through to May
Minimum number:
Health requirements:
Anti-malarial precautions essential
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