Reclaim the road trip in the Western Cape

The Western Cape is currently in a drought, but not all regions of the province are as badly affected as others. While Cape Town is facing severe water restrictions, other areas such as the Cape Karoo, sections of the Cape Overberg and portions of the Garden Route and Klein Karoo are facing only moderate restrictions or none at all. This road trip itinerary will see you pass through areas less affected by the drought, but we still ask that you be water wise and save like a local as it is still very much a precious resource.

Start your trip in the Cape Overberg, visiting the lovely Elgin Valley, the beautiful coastal town of Hermanus and the equally stunning Swellendam, before exploring towns like George and Plettenberg Bay along the Garden Route. From there it’s up into the Cape Karoo for lamb dishes, star gazing and a visit to a town that feels lost in time.

Day One

Elgin (drive time: 1h05) 

Just over an hour from Cape Town, the Elgin Valley is an underrated gem - an adventure traveller’s dream with wine thrown in for good measure.

Cape Canopy zip lining 

Start your day with high adventure – and we mean ‘high’. The Cape Canopy zipline in the Hottentot’s Holland Nature Reserve is high-flying fun as you make your way down a total of 11 slides, the longest being 320m, taking in the beauty of your surroundings from an aerial vantage point. Open to ages 5-75, this is something the whole family can enjoy.


Quad biking waterfall trail

There are a number of quad biking options on offer in the valley, but this three-to-four hour waterfall trail is undoubtedly the most popular one. The 30km tour takes you to the Old Gantouw Pass Wagon Trail, which was used by the Dutch and British settlers as a wagon for over 150 years.


Suggested lunch spot: Hickory Shack 

In the tradition of Texas-BBQ cooking, Hickory Shack has created a smokehouse in Elgin Valley, where wood-fires and blue smoke set the perfect moment for the pit-masters craft. Electric smokers are never used here, only local wood and organic chips with a frim belief that only time will serve the cut. A popular stopover for weekend warriors making use of the valley, Hickory Shack is quickly becoming the place to be in Elgin.


Almenkerk Wine Estate 

Art @ Almenkerk is an experience based sculpture garden and gallery that finds its home at the award winning Almenkerk wine estate. Overlooking the picturesque Elgin Valley, here you will experience the perfect combination of art and wine at its best.


Suggested stayover: Trails End Bike Hotel

Trail’s End is the perfect base to relax and have fun exploring the delights of the Overberg with family and friends or to use as a training ground for your next race! Set up with cyclists, runners and triathletes in mind, this funky hotel has everything you could ask for and more.


Day Two

Hermanus (drive time: 49 minutes)

Hermanus Wine Hoppers 

Hop-on Hop-off safari-style and discover the boutique wineries of the beautiful Hemel & Aarde Valley in a truly unforgettable way.


Suggested lunch spot: Creation Wines 

The story of Creation Wines is as old as the hills - dating back to when Mother Nature created South Africa's beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde. Enjoy carefully crafted cuisine with some of the best wines, while taking in the gorgeous surroundings. 



Depart for Zwelihle and stop at Verona’s for umqombothi (a local beer which is made from maize, maize malt, sorghum malt, yeast and water).

Dinner at Stanford Manor

Enjoy contemporary country cooking prepared by the talented Manor House kitchen team at this popular Overberg restaurant. The food can be best described as wholesome and traditional.

Suggested stayover: stanford hotel

Built in 1920 and situated in the heart of the village, the Stanford Hotel has remained true to its original era both in decor and furniture. It is the oldest existing business in Stanford.


Day Three

Swellendam (drive time: 1h39)

Hike in Marloth Nature Reserve 

Marloth Nature Reserve is hidden away in the imposing Swellendam Mountains, between Swellendam, Ashton, Barrydale and Suurbraak. Swellendam is the third oldest town in South Africa and has many interesting cultural-historic features.

Lunch at Old Gaol

The Old Gaol is situated opposite the Dutch Reformed Church on the edge of the Old Quarter. Roosterkoek and Melktert are some of the traditional foods they serve

Railton Township tour

Going on a township tour with Meisie Bokwana is one of the most interesting short trips in Swellendam. This will take you away from the Drostdy and the mountain to the other side of the national road, in Railton.

Suggested stayover: A Log Home

A Log Home in Swellendam will give you just the break from the grind that you need. Off the grid, this self-catering log home is the perfect stopover, with a small pool to soak your feet, and body, a comfortable sitting area and a lovely outside area, complete with a big fire pit for cooking. The wifi signal is weak, but you won’t be needing that right? There are plenty of trails to explore around the home. while the Marloth Mountain Reserve is just 15 minutes away.


Day Four

George (drive time: 2h09)

outeniqua power van

Perfect for the whole family, both the little kids and the big kids (moms and dads) will get to experience the beauty of the Outeniqua Mountains on this unique railway journey. The power van leaves from the Outeniqua Transport Museum in George and travels upwards through six tunnels, natural forests and fynbos, including an abundance of King Proteas, and culminates with epic views of the valley from the summit. The return trip includes a picnic about halfway down the track and ends back at the museum.


Golf at Fancourt

Considered one of South Africa’s best golf courses, and designed by SA legend Gary Player, the Montagu course at Fancourt offers a typical parklands format. The Par 72 course is only available to members, their guests, and those staying at the resort, making it an exclusive experience for those playing. Facilities are world class and include a warm-up and practice area featuring a full-length range, as well as a chipping and bunker practice area.



Eco-riding tours

Fancourt offers an exciting alternative to walking, running and cycling and this is exploring the estate on Eco-riders. The Sports & Leisure Centre now offers guided tours. A number of outdoor hiking and running trails surrounds Fancourt Estate, starting at the Witfontein Nature Reserve. It is from this area at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains that weekly trail runs begin, taking adventurous Fancourt guests and members off the beaten track. Enjoy thrilling cycling trails around the Geelhoutboom farmland area. Designed to provide cyclists with a panoramic views of the estate, these trails are ideal for families. Choose between 15km and 30km, the trails make provision for difference fitness levels. Three different grades of mountain bicycles are available to hire from Fancourt’s Leisure Centre.

Suggested stayover: Book a room at Fancourt Golf Estate and be sure to book some time in the spa as well, before enjoying some drinks at the Club House, before finally heading down to La Cantina for dinner.

Day Five

Plettenberg Bay (drive time: 1h26)

Birds of Eden

Birds of Eden is the Garden Route’s very own world class free flight bird sanctuary situated in the Crags near Plettenberg Bay. Boasting the largest dome in the world, the unique two hectare dome spans over a gorge of indigenous forest. The sanctuary has its own mysterious ruin, which incorporates a walk-behind waterfall.


Plett Puzzle Park

Plett Puzzle Park in Plettenberg Bay is a unique attraction. It features the first amazing life size 3-D Maze in South Africa, as well as an exciting Forest Puzzle Walk which meanders through the natural forest, and a fun Rope Maze for the kids.



If you’re looking for something with more of a kick, why not jump off the world’s highest (commercial) bungy bridge the Bloukrans Bridge near to the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay? Prepare to have your breath taken away, because you will be jumping from the top of the arch, 216 meters above the ground! Take a moment to steel yourself and then let the countdown begin! 


Dinner at Enrico’s Italian restaurant

After a day of activities, it’s time to refuel and Enrico’s in the perfect place to do that. The laidback vibe and hearty Italian fare is the perfect place to reflect on your day. The terrace of Enrico's is a prime site for watching dolphins and whales, with swooping views across the bay to Robberg, perfect for sundowners. You will have a bit of a drive in the morning, so take it easy with a chilled dinner.


Day Six 

Prince Albert (drive time: 3h38)

The charming town of Prince Albert in the Cape Karoo is a 40km drive off the N1. Along this road you will discover vast landscapes and empty roads making for perfect photographic moment’s true Karoo style. Visit the Showroom theatre that hosts a number of unique productions, jump on board the Red bus for a historic tour around the town. Enjoy a ghost tour that happens every Friday as you discover the spooky stories as your journey through the graveyard and the quiet streets at night. Easy accessible from the town of Prince Albert you find Meiringspoort a scenic drive to Oudtshoorn and then back again via the Swartberg Pass makes for a perfect day trip. This historic town has a charming coffee shops, art shops and accommodation that make for the perfect getaway.  


Discover O for Olive at the Swartrivier Olive Farm 

Enjoy some Olive tasting at O for Olive just outside of Prince Albert. A short gravel drive allows you to taste picked olives and a number of Olive jams, chutney and products to purchase. Go on a guided tour through the olive factory and discover how the olives are stored and sorted before packaging. 


The Swartberg Hotel

The Swartberg Hotel - a national monument is a Victorian styled hotel in the charming town of Prince Albert. The Swartberg Hotel offers single, twin rooms, and double rooms as well as five cottage suites in the garden. Enjoy traditional Karoo cuisine in the Victoria Room or collect unique trinkets and locally produced products such as jams and breads at the Gift Shop near hotel reception. 


Star gazing 

Stargazing is a must when visiting anywhere in the Cape Karoo it only takes you to look up and view stars pinned against a black canvas. From open vast landscapes, to sunsets following open starry night skies. The Cape Karoo is an untouched region just waiting to be discovered by you.


Day Seven 

Majtiesfontein (drive time: 3h09)

Take a step back into time and visit the charming Victorian town of Matjiesfontein. Fondly known as “The Grand Duchess of the Karoo”, the town was established in the year of 1884. The whole town of Matjiesfontein is a national monument and is believed to be one of the most haunted places in South Africa. And there is no better place to base yourself for the first half of your visit to the Karoo. 

The Lord Milner Hotel is popular attraction as well as the London Red Bus, which will take you on the shortest tour in the country accompanied by the local tour guide, Johnnie, this humorous and informative tour is a must when visiting. Lasting no longer than 10 minutes, you will be back in no time for a quiet pint at the Laird’s Arms pub right next door to the hotel.

Just 20km from Matjiesfontein, the charming town of Laingsburg offers old-school hospitality and with buildings dating back to the 1800s, you will remain in time capsule mode. Make sure you visit the Flood Museum in town, which allows you to view artefacts and images from the terrible flood that hit the town in 1981.

End your evening in The Dining Room at the hotel, where we recommend you order the lamb, sourced from the local Karoo farmers. The Dining Room at The Lord Milner Hotel has been serving its guests for the last 120 years; and boasts the same historic ambience found throughout Matjiesfontein. Dine in a Victorian setting filled with period antiques and let the red-jacketed porters welcome you and offer a selection of fine wines from across the Western Cape region.

Optional add-on:

Now that you’ve made it to the Cape Karoo, push on to Namibia! The Cape to Namibia route is jam-packed with incredible, authentic and unique experiences. Covering a distance of 1478km, you will discover, among other things, the rolling wheat fields of the Weskus, the vast koppie-dotted plains of the Karoo, and the massive white sand dunes in Namibia. Visit towns like Clanwilliam and Springbok, drink Rooibos tea and camp out under the stars, it's the ultimate road trip and a great way to explore wonders so often unseen.

Start your day with high adventure – and we mean ‘high’. The Cape Canopy zipline in the Hottentot’s Holland Nature Reserve is high-flying fun as you make your way down a total of 11 slides, the longest being 320m, taking in the beauty of your surroundings from an aerial vantage point. Open to ages 5-75, this is something the whole family can enjoy.

It's time to reclaim the road trip in the Western Cape!