The kids having a good time exploring Cape Town. Pictures: Helen Grange.

My choice this year for a road trip was Cape Town, which I love for the reasons everyone loves Cape Town - the stunning seascapes, the breathtaking drive from the City Bowl to Kalk Bay, the wise old flat-topped mountain, and the chilled city eateries and bars. But, let’s face it, a Cape Town holiday is as expensive as a European jaunt these days. You need a sizeable budget if you want to experience some of the rich and wonderful offerings of this destination.

I have a 16-year-old daughter and I wanted to do a road trip with her and her friend, so ours was to be Cape Town on a shoestring, using Airbnb for accommodation. 

Airbnb in Cape Town is prolific, with well over 300 homes offering space priced from as little as R150 a night for a dorm-style bunk to R15 000 pppn for an entire home or apartment with sublime views. The average price per night for Cape Town is R1 751 - though as the holiday season kicks in, the hosts hike their prices dramatically. I went for a room in a house in Tamboerskloof for R520 a night for the three of us.

Stunning views in Cape Town.

Being the only driver, and given that Cape Town is really a stretch too far in one day, I decided to also do Airbnb on the way, so found a room that sleeps three for R514 in a neat little Karoo home in Philippolis.

We started early in the morning to avoid rush hour traffic. 

We booked into Anker guesthouse at about 3.30pm, so had time to take in the lunar-like landscape around Philippolis at sunset.

Onwards to Cape Town, to our Airbnb in Tamboerskloof, a boarding house for budget travellers. Our third bed was a mattress on the floor. 

In Cape Town you’re paying noticeably more than for the equivalent in Joburg.  On day three, my rental car got broken into, and only then did I notice other piles of broken glass along the pavement. Car vandalism is one of the hazards of driving in Cape Town, as there is little or no off-street parking. 

Nothing can dampen what nature delivers in Cape Town, however, not even the R135 per adult fee to see Cape Point (R405 for three), which we did instead of the Table Mountain cable car which costs R290 pp for a return ticket. 

For a really special sea experience, venture to Misty Cliffs, an exclusive conservation village near Scarborough in a unique enclave of the Table Mountain National Park. Take a careful walk on the jagged rocks alongside the beach at sunset, and dip your hand into a rock pool where fresh mountain water meets salt water. It is a wonderfully cleansing thing to do, and best of all, it’s free.

The kids having a good time exploring Cape Town. Pictures: Helen Grange.

Teenagers must pay homage to the Waterfront, of course, and each time I’m here I marvel at how this old harbour was transformed into a gentrified playground for everybody, from small kids to sedate adults. My two charges weren’t getting away without a visit to the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, which is hyped as Africa’s “Tate”, an illustrious repository for African art under the vision of British architect Thomas Heatherwick. 

Our Airbnb in Hanover, was PC’s Place in the Karoo Gariep Conservancy, which I highly recommend. This is first-class Karoo hospitality, in a spread-out lodge with a couple of comfortable tents that are beautifully kitted out, one of which we booked for R800 for the three of us. 

For petrol, you’re looking at just over R3000 there and back, and then there are tolls.