10 days in South Africa exploring Cape Town, driving through the Garden Route and spending a couple nights at the Kuzuko Lodge.
AfricaSouth Africa10 days / November 2019
Highs & Lows
Do not miss out on an open jeep safari experiencing the beautiful wildlife of South Africa
The water was a bit chilly and we could not swim in the beautiful beaches of Cape Town.
We arrived in Cape Town well past midnight and had booked a hotel right at the airport. We picked up our car, spend a night at the hotel and the next morning started our drive on the scenic Garden Route.
The Garden Route is one of the most scenic drives in the world and we had a total blast driving on it. We stopped midway in a small coastal town called Knysna and it was one of the best towns we have visited. The food was delicious, the sights spectacular and we really had a fun time here. The accommodation we had here was one of the best ones! We payed 95$ CAD and had an entire log house to ourselves!
We left from Knysna and did a self drive through the Kragga Kamma Game Reserve. This was a fun experience for our older daughter because we got to see animals at our own pace and took our time going through the park. She also got to see a Cheetah up-close which was definitely her favourite animal at the time.
We then drove to the Kuzuko Lodge for two nights. This place is pure paradise and it was worth splurging on this experience. Because we went during the shoulder season, we snagged a really great deal on this as well. We had a baby sitter look after the baby when we went on game drives and it was extremely safe and reliable. This lodge was so luxurious and beautiful in every which way and the game drives were amazing!
We then flew from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town to save time and avoid driving back. We spend 6 days in Cape Town and explored around the city before flying back to Toronto.
Cape Town has so much to see and so much to do that even 6 days in this beautiful city was less. I strongly believe that when you travel with kids, it is absolutely necessary to be flexible and to be willing to make changes along the way. This definitely made our trip even more fun and we got to see way more than what we had planned.
Some of the highlights for us in Cape Town were:
1) Chapman's Peak Drive - We loved it so much that we drove twice on this beautiful road. There is a small fee to drive this road but it is definitely worth it. There are so many spots you can stop at to take in the beautiful sights of the city. From here, you can see the Lions Head and Table top mountain from afar and this is a sight in itself. The curvy roads right alongside the beautiful pristine blue waters of Cape Town is a visual treat for anyone that loves mountains and water. You can also spot Hump-back Whales from here if you are there during the whale watching season. November is the end of this season and we were not able to see any but trust me, we spend a good hour here trying to catch a glimpse of one.
2) Boulders Beach - Up until visiting Cape Town and researching for our trip, never did I ever expect to see Penguins outside of Antarctica! There is a colony of South African penguins that reside on this beach. You pay a fee to get on the viewing boardwalks from where you can see the penguins. While you cannot touch them, you do get extremely up close to them and it is an experience you do not want to miss.
3) Table top mountain - You can park at the foot of this beautiful mountain and hike up to the top or take a cable car up to the table. While we were there, it was extremely windy all those days and unfortunately, the cable cars were closed. Plus, with an infant, we did not want to risk hiking up with all the wind warnings. We sure did not want to deal with a sick infant and toddler. But even the foot of this mountain had such a beautiful aerial view of the city that I can only imagine how stunning the top would be.
4) Surfer huts at Muizenberg - I had seen this huts once in a movie and since then, always wanted to visit. These huts were everything and more than what I had imagined it to be. The huts are lined along the shoreline of the beach. Each huts is made of so many different colours and you are sure going to get some great photos here with the mountain as a backdrop on one side and the beach on the other. You can go inside the huts as well!
5) Cape of Good Hope - This place is so iconic that it seemed like a must visit. The 2 hour drive from Cape Town felt so long but we stopped at the Boulders Beach on way there and it helped break up our trip. There is an entry fee to get inside and I must say this - we could have totally skipped this area. Not only was the entry fee quite expensive, but the area was so crowded that we had to wait an hour in line to get a photo with the Cape of Good Hope sign - which we did not end up doing. Parking was such a challenge to find and we had to take turns to explore around. Plus, I felt we had seen such beautiful sights already specially on our drive through the Garden Route that we could have definitely skipped this one.
6) V&A Waterfront - This area is so much fun! With restaurants to small boutique stores to artisan markets to local handmade shopping to live music to a kids playground, this area had it ALL! We got some really good souvenirs to bring back home and the wood work was absolutely beautiful. There is a little train that takes you around the waterfront and this place is right by a mall so you have a chance to shop some more. Tip: There are tons of road side vendors throughout Cape Town and they sell the same stuff that you will find at the Waterfront. It is much cheaper to buy wood carvings from these vendors!
Knysna was a beautiful coastal small town destination that we were so glad we included in our trip. We had 2 full days here and got to see some spectacular sights of the water and the beautiful turquoise colour of the ocean. The Map of Africa was a place recommended by a local and we are so glad we went. The landscape there is cut out in the shape of the Map of Africa with a stream passing all around to give it its name.
This town is known for their Oysters and while I am not a fan of Oysters, my husband seemed to have devoured them. He could not stop talking about how delicious they were.
The Knysna Head was an absolute beautiful place to visit. This water is known to be some of the most dangerous in the world to swim in. Due to the meeting of the Knysna River and the ocean, there is a strong current created that can be quite dangerous.
There is a cute cafe called the East Head Cafe right by the Knysna Head. You get to see the beautiful view while having your lunch and the food was amazing. We definitely recommend this place.
This luxurious resort is everything you will ever dream of. The lodge is located on top of the hill right in the middle of the jungle. Each chalet is equipped with everything you can think of with your own private balcony where you can sit and see the water hole. The bath tub is right by a huge glass window that faces the jungle! I still remember sitting in the bath tub one day while watching a herd of elephants descend from the hill nearby.
Your packages includes game drives, all meals, all accommodations unless you pick a different package. There are morning and evening safaris in open jeep safaris and these are an experience of a lifetime. We got to see a lion just 4 feet away from the jeep and that moment, no matter how frightening then was truly magical.
We got to eat some of the best food during our time there. Each meal was so delicious and different. Every night had a different theme but my favourite was the Braai night - which is a term for an African BBQ. The kitchen also called ahead to ask what the kids would eat from their kids menu.
If you are looking to really indulge on your trip, definitely consider this lodge. We had planned our entire trip quite economically but had decided to splurge a bit to live in one of these Lodges and we were so glad we did!
Q & A
What would you have changed?With kids, we spend the perfect amount of time in South Africa. We were there for a total of 10 days and wouldn't have changed that. We would have definitely skipped the Cape of Good Hope though and taken a day trip to Hermanus instead for some whale watching. We decided to travel there in November because it was the shoulder season and we got some really great deals. If you are looking for ways to save, definitely visit during this month. If you are planning to visit South Africa for the beautiful beaches, then maybe consider going at a later time when the water is not too cold.
Anything go wrong during the trip?We were prepared to be flexible because it was the first time we were travelling with both our girls. We had under planned our days and were looking for things to add during the day based on how the girls were. We made sure to give them enough down time to rest and sleep in the car. One thing we regretted big time was taking less formula for the baby. We ran out on the last day and could not find the same brand we use in Canada and had to settle with a different one for the day. Another thing was the accommodation in Cape Town. We had paid 50% while booking and had booked an apartment style place. We had double checked with the owner that there was a king bed in the room as all 4 of us would fit on it. When we reached there, it was a double bed and the owner refused to refund us the money or even put in an extra mattress. We had to leave and find a different accommodation and we lost 50% of our money. This was booked through Expedia and all communication was on Expedia as well but unfortunately, Expedia could not help us either because the owner had changed his Ad by the time we reported this issue.
Restaurant recommendations?We mostly cooked our own breakfast in the room and prepared a light lunch to take with us. It is quite difficult to sit and eat in a restaurant with little kids so we did a lot of take outs to our room. Some of the best food we had at was the East Head Cafe in Knysna and the Oysters at Freshline Fisheries.
Tips you would give a friend?Definitely visit Hermanus if you have the chance and if its whale watching season! Also, if you are a wine lover, check our their amazing wine regions - they have some of the best in the world. Two great ones are Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.
Packing tips?Due to the location of this town, it can get quite windy so make sure you take a wind jacket even when visiting in the summer month.
Transportation Tips?Rent a car! This gives you the freedom to see the place at your own pace. There is a hop on and hop off bus there but we loved having our own car and the comfort of planning our own days at our own pace.
Any surprises?Be extremely sure of what accommodations you pick and double and triple check with them before the trip.
Booking details?We primarily used Expedia to book our entire trip. We booked Kuzuko Lodge and domestic airfare from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town directly from their website.