South Africa by car. From Namibia, the West Coast.

We visited South Africa during a 3 months trip through southern Africa
(South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland).
October – December 2014

Average exchange rate: 1 € = 14 Rands

After crossing all Namibia, we crossed the border and came back to South Africa, via West Cape heading down to Cape Town. It´s around 900 km. We did this route in 5 days.

   Namibia´s border   

We crossed from Namibia to South Africa at Noordoewer - Vioolsdrif border, on the main road Windhoek (800 km) - Cape Town (700 km). It´s the main border between these countries. Modern, organised, trucks around but the crossing was very quick.  
You can see the details in our article about  Namibia´s border, here.

The only big towns on the South Africa side are Springbok and Clanwilliam (where you find supermarkets), the rest are only small towns. Gas stations and accommodation avalaible in almost every town on the way. The closest town in South Africa Steinkopf (small) is 70 km south of the border.

Clanwilliam (left) and a township (black people neighborhood) on the way

Nothing very interesting on this route, crossing the Northern Cape province. Quite empty space, semi-arid. Mines around.

Shared with Namibia, over the border, it´s the Richtersveld Transfronter Park (180 R, included with the Wild Card). But only for 4x4 and experienced drivers. Remote and arid. We didn´t go with our small car.

Namaqualand is famous for its flowers (august to mid September), specially in Namaqua National Park (64 R or Wild Card), near Springbok (that´s why there are a lot of lodges). Outside season, little interest to go.

Clanwilliam, a small village with a few old buildings, lays on the Olifants Valley, with grapes, oranges, tea (roodbuis), wheat, etc. and dams. Clanwilliam is the entry point to Cederberg National Park (60 R, included with the Wild Card), famous for its mountains, and where many groups heading to Namibia stop. We didn´t go.

In Clanwilliam, you have 2 choices:
- continue south via the same main route 7 to Cape Town (230 km).
- head west to the coast and follow the West Coast of South Africa (around 280-300 km). We recommend this way, more scenic.

Cheap accommodation on the way

You find lodges and camps in the towns of the Route 7. In Springbok and Clanwilliam you find the biggest offer.

We did camping in two differents places: 

 Springbok (left) and Clanwilliam restcamps

  • Springbok restcamp (2 km south of Springbok, near N7): 150 R/ 2p. Pool. Well maintened. Close to Route 7.
  • Clanwilliam dam restcamp (out of Clanwilliam): 145 R/ 2p. On the edge of a big dam where you can swim. Popular with local people on the weekends.

   Western Cape: From Lamberts Bay to Cape Town  

Things to do 

We enjoyed this area during 3 days, visiting beaches, small towns and some small reserves and a national park as they were included with the Wild Card.  

  • Lamberts Bay is famous for its Bird´s island, where there´s a gannet colony (40 R or Wild Card) and also seals. Inside the port, following the causeway (not a real island anymore). 
  • Elands Bay is a beautiful and wild white beach with dunes, a big mountain and a bird´s lagoon. (note: the road between Lamberts Bay and Elands Bay is not tarred for the first 15 km, just follow the coast, quite bad but passable).
  • Rocherpan Reserve (40 R or Wild Card): a small lagoon with flamingos and birds, dunes and wild beaches. Just a break if you have the Wild Card or for birds lovers. Free map. Rooms but no campsite.
  • Santa Helena. Fishing bay. Note: the road from Santa Helena to Paternoster is gravel road, for around 15 km but fine.
  • Paternoster: a beautifull white village, on three beaches. It´s like a Greek island. Very tourist (every house is for rent or a lodge) but interesting, nice.
  • Saldanha and Langebaan: big protected bay with industrial factories between and big port in Saldanha and many holiday houses.
  • West Coast National Park (65 R or Wild Card).
If you like birds (we didn´see so many) or want to see the flowers in august-september (the fee then is 120 R). 
A calm bay with view points. Otherwise, nothing very special in our opinion in this national park, except plenty of tortoises.
It´s popular because it´s near Cape Town and where South Africans go for vacations.

 The north entrance is just passing Langebaan and the south gate is near R27 (around 25 km from gate to gate). Also another road over the peninsula (25 km more one way, but we didn´t go).

The roads are tarred. Free map. Rooms but no campsite. Open from 7:00 til 19:00. 

Services in the West Coast:

The towns are quite small, but you find gas stations, banks and supermarkets (no supermarkets in Elands Bay and Paternoster).

Where we stayed on the West Coast:

In almost every town/village you find accommodation, rooms or campsites (many affordable, municipal campsites and good prices).

  • Elands Bay: We stayed in Elands Hotel. Price for camping: 150 R/2p (normal price is 200 R but low season). In front of the ocean. There´s also a municipal campsite on the beach, but we didn´t stay there because was nobody around to say information or prices.
  •  Vredenburg: we did couchsurfing with Emil and family.