For almost 7 years I was a travel agent sending people around the world. Planning trips for people never bored me and living in Amsterdam is really exciting, but sitting at my desk day in and day out whilst my clients are discovering the rest of the world really made me start doubting whether or not I was on the right side of the desk.
So one day I started planning the trip of my dreams I booked myself a 2,5-month trip to Dubai, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Bali and Thailand. I’ve been in Cape Town before and parts of the Garden route so I decided to book the Baz Bus from Cape Town to Johannesburg to see more of the Western and Eastern Cape.
If you’re travelling to South Africa with Baz Bus, make sure to stay at least few days in Cape Town before you hit the road as there is so much to see and do. When in Cape Town I definitely recommend you to see Robben Island to learn more about Nelson Mandela and the South African history, hike up Table Mountain before sunset for the best view, visit Kirstenbosch which is one of the world’s biggest botanical gardens, go for a run along the promenade in Sea Point as the locals do, visit the old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock on Saturday morning for food and clothes markets and go seal snorkeling in Houtbay if you like to experience something magical.
Definitely take the Baz Bus full Cape Peninsula day tour. You’ll stop at Hout Bay Harbour for a cruise to the Seal Island, marvel at the views from Chapman’s peak for a snack, visit the penguin colony in Simon’s town, cycle though the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, enjoy a delicious picnic lunch, and end the day with an easy hike to the most South-Western point of the African continent! Very cool!
The Baz Bus hop-on hop-off door-to-door concept allows you to get off and on at any hostel along the Baz Bus route. Make sure to reserve your bus seat 72 hours before departure. Baz Bus is much more than just a means of transportation. It’s a meeting point for travelers from all over the world. I met many people on the bus with such exciting travel stories, to name a few I met an Irish guy who had been traveling for the last 4 months crossing the African continent from north to south, a Dutch lady traveling with her 6-year-old son, a Cuban woman who has been travelling for the last 3 years on a minimum budget. It’s so inspiring to meet these people and listen to their stories. Sometimes we had to say goodbye in the bus, but many times I would meet them again in the bus later that week.
The busses are very comfortable and the drivers are professional and friendly. Roads are well maintained, so it’s easy and comfortable driving. It’s perfect for single travelers, but even for couples or small groups who don’t feel like driving for hours in the car. It’s also very convenient as the bus drops and picks you up at the door of your hostel.
The Baz Bus departing from Cape Town drives through the Garden route, the Wild coast and the Drakensberg towards Johannesburg.
I already travelled the Garden Route in a previous trip, and there are plenty of activities to do such as wine tasting in Stellenbosch, whale watching in Hermanus, ostrich riding in Oudtshoorn, surfing in Mossel or Jeffrey’s Bay, wildlife spotting in Addo National Park etc.
During this Baz Bus adventure, I went surfing in Coffee Bay and hiking in the Drakensberg. I also had to make two mandatory overnight stops in Port Elizabeth and Durban. Due to lack of time I could not explore these cities but I heard great stories about them so I’m sure I will come back soon!
Anyway, back to my trip: after two long days of driving from Cape Town along the East Coast we arrive in Mthatha. From here I got on a shuttle to Coffee Bay. The drive to Coffee Bay takes another 1,5 hours, so make sure you stay at least 2 full days in Coffee Bay to make up for the long drive to get there.
There are many good surf spots along the coast of South Africa but if you’re looking for a remote and cultural spot, Coffee Bay is definitively one of those destinations. Apart for being a surfer’s paradise, it’s also an amazing place for anyone who loves hiking, wildlife and who is seeking for cultural encounters.
The waves in Coffee Bay are great for beginners as well as experienced surfers, and if you’re lucky you might see some dolphins in the bay surfing along with you! From Coffee Bay I suggest to take a tour around the lush Xhosa landscapes to really experience untouched nature. Xhosa homes are easily recognizable by the round bright colored homes made from cow dung and a thatch roof. While enjoying the landscape curious local kids might come running towards you to hold your hand and walk or play with you. I was surprised to see so many unleashed cows, horses, goats that were peacefully drinking water from the lakes or grazing. Such a beautiful place!
After three days in Coffee Bay I took the bus to Durban, the gateway to the Drakensberg which is one of the oldest mountain range in the world. I stayed at a hostel in northern Drakensberg. The scenery there is so beautiful. From this place you can hike up the Amphitheatre Mountain to see the second highest waterfall in the world: Tugela Falls. The hike brings you high up the mountain where you will be on cloud level. Make sure you go hiking with a local guide, as the weather conditions can change every hour from sunshine to dense fog resulting in limited visibility.
If you have little time or if you don’t like hiking, it’s also worth visiting the Royal Natal National Park. Here you can do easy trekking with nice views and even take a bath in the ice cold natural pools from the cascades.
Northern Drakensberg is also the place from where you can visit Lesotho. Go there to see the local shepherds, bushmen rock art and the traditional healers. Lesotho is known as the mountain kingdom and it has the highest low point of any country in the world. Impressive!
After spending three days in this magical land my trip has come to an end as my last stop is Johannesburg where I stayed one night before catching my flight to Bali, Indonesia. Johannesburg is a huge vibrant city which is fun to explore by day and by night. There’re numerous of bars, shops and (food) markets where you can meet other backpackers and locals. There is too much to see in just one day, so Joburg has been added to my next South African bucket list!
Thank you Baz Bus for the beautiful travel experience in South Africa, I would definitely recommend anyone to Hop-on and create their own adventure!
Written on behalf of and in cooperation with Baz Bus South Africa – Hop-on Hop-off Door-to-Door Backpacker Bus Service