Most travelers who want to go to safaris and wilderness tour, always bypass South Africa but the county has numerous natural parks and game reserves as well as beautiful beaches. Thus, making it a great holiday destination for the outdoor enthusiasts, adventurers and thrill-seekers.
With landmarks spread across long distances, it’s a good choice to rent a car. Even with a vehicle, a holiday in South Africa should be at least two weeks or so. But if you only have 72 hours for this trip, make sure to explore the country’s best spots.
Day 1: Cape Town and Beyond
Your three-day journey begins in Cape Town. A vibrant city with its own flair, it is not just pure metropolis. Explore its markets and seaside eateries. Visit the nearby Table Mountain National Park; explore a range of flora and fauna. There are hiking trails if you wish to do some cardio activity while in the city.
Afterwards, drive south to Hout Bay, where you can experience some snorkeling with the wild seals that populate the waters of the bay. But since you only have 3 days in South Africa, just go further south, passing through Noordhoek and Kommetjie all throughout the Cape Peninsula while enjoying the scenic sights of the coastline as well as the magnificent view of the South Atlantic Ocean.
You’ll reach Cape Point, where you can explore the Cape of Good Hope, which is in the southern end of the Table Mountain National Park.
Drive back northwards on the other side of the peninsula to pass through the naval base of Simon Town. Follow the road along the False Bay to enjoy scenic views towards The Winelands. Here you can book a tour or go on a self-guided one across acres of lush produce in Stellenbosch (the nearest one), Paarl and Franschhoek (the farthest). You may want to visit all three if time permits.
Before the day ends, go on an hour and a half drive towards Hermanus where you’ll stay for the night. If you have more time, you can enjoy whale watching here. You can also go to Fernkloof Nature Reserve.
Where to stay in Hermanus:
The Marine Hermanus (Marine Drive, Hermanus 7200, South Africa)
The Whale Coast All Suite Hotel (corner of Lord Roberts & Royal Roads, Hermanus 7200, South Africa)
Birkenhead House & Villa (corner of 7th Avenue & 11th Street | Voelklip, Hermanus 7200, South Africa)
Quarters Hermanus (cbd, Hermanus 7200, South Africa)
Day 2: Into the countryside
It’s going to be a long drive today (it usually takes between 9 and 10 hours) across the popular Garden Route of South Africa (the N2 stretch running from Heidelberg in the Southern Cape to Storms River Village on the Eastern Cape border). It shouldn’t be a bore though since you’ll pass through nature reserves, quaint towns like Swellendam, charming countryside and beautiful coastlines.
In fact, it is recommended that you traverse this road for at least 4 days, but since you only have three days in South Africa, you can go straight to Port Elizabeth. You can make one or two stops along the way.
Interesting areas include Wilderness, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Tsitsikamma. Spend the night in Port Elizabeth, and if you still have ample time, explore the area’s nightlife scene.
Where to stay in Port Elizabeth:
The Boardwalk Hotel (corner Lodge & Beach Road | Port Elizabeth, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth 6001, South Africa)
Town Lodge Port Elizabeth (50 Beach Rd corner of Lodge Rd | Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth 6013, South Africa)
African Pride Hacklewood Hill Country House (152 Prospect Road | Walmer, Port Elizabeth 6001, South Africa)
Radisson Blu Hotel, Port Elizabeth (corner of Marine Dr & Ninth Ave, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth 6001, South Africa)
Day 3: Safari Tour
Your scenic Garden Route journey may have ended but another adventure is waiting for you today because Port Elizabeth is your gateway to some exciting wildlife experiences in South Africa. It’s a waste if your vacation in the country doesn’t include a safari.
Visit the large Addo Elephant National Park (R335, Addo, 6105, South Africa; tel: +27 42 233 8600) where you can see groups of elephants in their habitat with their slow, strong movements. There are owner-operated reserves that you can visit too, including Amakhala. The more popular reserves in the area include Kwandwe Private Reserve and Shamwari.
After your close encounter with the wild, head back to Port Elizabeth where you can spend the rest of the day exploring this so-called The Friendly City.
South Africa is the continent’s top city and a favorite destination. A true metropolis, it is also rich in eco-tours, safari, mixed with urban activities like dining, nightlife, and shopping.
Have you been to South Africa? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.