Best Road Trip South Africa: From Durban along the Garden Route

Getting from Durban to the Garden Route is easy. Flying is the fastest, but if you love road trips like we do, driving is the way to go.

Domestic Flights South Africa

You can look online to find cheap flights from Durban to almost anywhere in the country. SAA, as well as a number of economy airlines, will whisk you off to Cape Town in no time at all. There’s also the option to fly directly into George Airport if you want to go straight to the heart of the Garden Route.

Car Hire South Africa

If you prefer a more immersive experience, car hire South Africa is the ultimate way to make the journey a part of your experience.

The road between Durban and the Garden Route easily deserves the title of ‘Best Road Trip South Africa’. There is so much to see as you wind your way down from the cosmopolitan buzz of Durban to the tranquil excesses of the Garden Route. Make sure you set aside a few days, or even a week, to make the most of the experience.

There are two ways to enjoy the ride on your way from Durban to the Garden Route:

The Coastal Route

The most fun along this route is to be found behind the wheel of a 4×4 vehicle. Take this into account when arranging your car hire.

    • Durban to Port Shepstone- Leaving Durban, head off on the N2 towards Port Shepstone. This will take you through swathes of sugar cane plantations. Every so often the ocean comes in to view where a river cuts through the rolling hills and fields.
      This entire stretch of road is dotted with tiny seaside villages where masses of local tourists escape come summer time. You will find many a charming roadside stall peddling fruit, honey and trinkets as you make your way further south.
    • Lower South Coast – At Port Shepstone, it makes sense to divert your journey towards the stretch of holiday paradise known as the lower South Coast. Here, seaside towns flourishing under the fruits of tourism have grown into an expanse of seaside bliss stretching from Shelly Beach to Ramsgate. The South Coast offers much for the traveller to desire. Every form of accommodation is available, restaurants dish up a wide range of cuisine and there are many seasonal activities to choose from. Plan your trip carefully to include some of your favourites as you pass through.
    • Eastern Cape Wild Coast
      Onward, beyond the Wild Coast Casino, the scene changes to one of rural bliss as you enter the Eastern Cape. This is the land of cows crossing and donkey carts clip-clopping alongside. If you do decide to kick your hire car into 4WD and veer off towards the ocean along the R61 to Port St Johns, be warned. The going gets rough. Also, once you’ve experienced these wild scenes of ocean, sand and rock you’ll want to stay longer.
      Walking, hiking, fishing, birdwatching and fresh seafood dining are the major pastimes on these shores, and you can stop awhile at any of the luxury or rustic accommodation options available.
      An alternative route continues inland along the N2 via Bizana and Mtatha. Both roads eventually lead to East London, Grahamstown and then Port Elizabeth, although the R61 is noticeably less travelled. In this part of the world, you can stop over at Addo Elephant Park to spend some time on malaria-free game drives with guaranteed sightings of these behemoths.
    • The Garden Route

The next stop, Jeffrey’s Bay, is world-renowned as a surfer’s paradise and signifies the start of the Garden Route proper. This swatch of lush, tropical paradise is awash with forests, rivers, long stretches of beach and charming coastal towns. Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, George and Mossel Bay each offer their own variety of small-town comforts. A bustling arts and crafts scene, outdoor adventures on land and sea, exquisite seafood offerings, outstanding golfing challenges, and unmatched scenery are all part of the deal along this portion of the Garden Route. Between Mossel Bay and Hermanus, grape vines start to take the place of towering trees as you enter this lesser-known wine growing area of the Western Cape. Hermanus, playground of the whales, is your last stop before you enter the outskirts of Cape Town and all that this world-class city has to offer.

The Inland Route

An alternative route for the less adventurous goes via Ixopo and Kokstad along the N3.
This is a totally different experience, giving you a taste of rural KwaZulu-Natal, and a glimpse of the very edge of the Drakensberg Mountains.
At Kokstad, the road merges onto the N2 towards East London. It is recommended that you choose a comfortable sedan car hire option for this route.

Finding Cheap Car Hire for Your Road Trip

It’s easy to make all your car hire South Africa travel arrangements online. Click here to compare prices and get the best rates on car hire and domestic flights in South Africa.