I have been mulling over going to South Africa this year. But fate has it that it is not going to happen this year because I have over-committed myself for overseas trips and I run out of the budget. The epic trip to South Africa must be next year! Nevertheless, I would love to share about my dream road trip to South Africa which contains outdoor adventures, beach bumming, historical tours and water-based activities. Let’s assume my entry point is Cape Town.
I don’t know why but the first thing I want to do when I land in South Africa is to see the Table Mountain. It is the flat-topped mountain facing the city of Cape Town. In recent years, it has attracted so much attention for hiking and cable car ride. I would choose the former despite my reading indicates the 3km ascent could be tough with a steep surface.
Robben Mountain is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 out of the 23 years before the fall of apartheid. It is also a World Unesco Heritage Site. The tour takes 3.5 hours to complete including the ferry ride. The tour covers the army and navy bunkers and the maximum security prison where thousands of South Africa’s freedom fighters were incarcerated for years and a viewing of Nelson Mandela’s cell.
Camps Bay at sunset (Image: Michael Coghlan from Flickr)
Set at the foot of the Twelve Apostles, a series of mountain range lining the coastal of western Cape town, Camps Bay is a perfect beach getaway. Spend all day lying on the sun lounger enjoying the breathtaking view while watching the seals surfing the waves. The sunset is particularly stunning here.
Another white sandy beach but with special inhabitants which are way too adorable to handle. They are the African penguins, with 26,000 breeding pairs left in the world. Although it can be seen throughout the year in Foxy Beach, a visit in January in the morning and late in the afternoon would give the best experience in getting up close to these African penguins.
The Most Southwestern Point of the African Continent (Image: Nicolas Raymond from Flickr)
The Cape of Good Hope lies in the most southern tip of the Cape Peninsula. With rugged boulders and sheer cliffs from as high as 200 metres, it is part of the Cape Floral Region, a World Heritage Site. The history of Cape of Good Hope leads us to it being a navigational landmark by day and by night and in fog, a peril causing shipwrecks around the coastline. The narrow stretch of land is dotted with beautiful valleys, bay and beaches with unique flora and fauna.
As a diver, the thought of seeing a Great White sharks and the Southern Right whales are thrills beyond excitement. Hence, a visit to Gaansbai is a must. Here, one can either take up the educational Great White Tour or brazen oneself for Great White shark diving! If extreme white shark cage diving is not enough, explore the cliffs of De Kelders or stroll the white sandy beaches of Pearly Beach. There is also unique endemic fynbos which makes hiking in the southern more appealing. Gaansbai deserves 3-4 days to explore.
If time permits, I would love to continue on to Morsel Bay, the starting point for the Garden Route and drive towards Pretoria and make a detour to hike Cape Floral Region Area, spot wildlife at iSimangaliso Wetland Park and stop by at the Cradle of Humankind.