South Africa

South Africa is a very desirable destination offering remarkable diversity. Choose from a variety of world-class luxury safari lodges in private game reserves known for their scorecard wildlife sightings of the "Big Five" (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, buffalo) and much more.  Visit Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world for a cosmopolitan experience and the Cape Winelands where food and wine rule.  Sitting at the tip of the continent where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, there are miles of beaches, whale watching, boating and shark cage diving.  Non-stop flights from the U.S.A. make it easily accessible.  There is something to interest everyone in South Africa.

South Africa is also the place to visit wineries, gold and diamond mines, and Dutch-styled towns. History buffs can include archaeological sites where discoveries of early man continue to be made, rock art from the Stone Age, the famous Cape of Good Hope, the township of Soweto, and Robben Island the former prison where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years.

The entire world watched history in the making in 1994 when the country held its first democratic election and Nelson Mandela became the President of the New South Africa. This marked the end of the oppressive apartheid era and the more than 20 years of anti-apartheid protests, violence and boycotts in the country and economic sanctions by the international community.

South Africa occupies the southern tip of the continent and is roughly three times the size of Texas and home to almost 53 million people. South Africa has nine provinces and governmental power is divided between three cities. Pretoria is the administrative capital, Cape Town is the legislative capital and Bloemfontein is the capital of the judiciary. English is one of the 11 official languages spoken here. Nine of the languages are African, reflecting the country's vibrant tribal and cultural mix. Archbishop Desmond Tutu offered the slogan "the rainbow nation" to inspire racial harmony and pride in the New South Africa.

Luxury trains are another way to travel across South Africa and beyond.  The Cape Town – Pretoria route is covered by Rovos Rail and the Blue Train, and there are many other routes throughout the continent.  Harking back to a more relaxed era of travel, you can watch the country passing by from comfortable lounge cars and meet people from around the world. 

  

Saldanha Bay Cape Winelands Garden Route Whale Coast South Africa Atlantic Ocean Indian Ocean Namibia Botswana Zimbabwe Mozambique Swaziland Lesotho Free State North West Gauteng Mpumalanga Cape Town ● Upington ● Kimberly False Bay Walker Bay ● Bloemfontein ● Durban ● Richards Bay ● Johannesburg Pretoria Nelspruit ● White River ● Hazyview ● Polokwane ● Hoedspruit ● ● Soweto ● Port Elizabeth Grahamstown ● East London CederbergWilderness Area Addo ElephantNational Park Tswalu KalahariPrivate Reserve MadikweGame Reserve Table MountainNational Park MakalaliGame Reserve Sodwana BayNature Reserve PhindaGame Reserve HluhluwheUmfoloziPark Greater St. LuciaWetlands Park BlydeRiver Canyon PilanesbergGame Reserve KwandwePrivate Reserve ShamwariPrivate Reserve Limpopo KwaZulu-Natal KrugerNational Park Bushmans KloofWilderness Reserve PrivateGame Reserve Skukuza W e s t e r m C a p e E a s t e r n C a p e N o r t h e r n C a p e Indian Ocean Knysna PlettenbergBay Mossel Bay Outshoorn Ceres Hermanus Cape Agulhas Franschhoek Paarl Wellington Stellenbosch George KarooNational Park Little Karoo national Park Overberg Cape of Good Hope Constantia Hazyview ● Hoedspruit ● KrugerNational Park UmbabatNature Reserve TimbavatiNature Reserve ManyeletiGame Reserve Sabi SandGame Reserve ThornybushGame Reserve PrivateGame Reserve Skukuza
South Africa Highlights

Itineraries

We create custom-tailored itineraries for our clients going to South Africa due to the many options available.  In addition to the various safari choices, we recommend including Cape Town and the Cape Winelands in your plans.  Specialty shopping, shark cage diving, foodie tours, wine tasting and luxury trains are just a few of the offerings of South Africa.  Let us know what’s best for you! 

Gardens of South Africa

Itinerary

Day 1: Cape Town
You will be met upon arrival at Cape Town International Airport and transferred to your hotel in the Constantia Valley Winelands. Later you will meet your private guide who is also a botanical and gardening specialist. 
4 Nights at The Cellars-Hohenort

The Cellars-Hohenort is a haven of peace and tranquility with breathtaking views across the nine acres of world renowned gardens and vineyard. The 18th century wine cellars and manor house have been magnificently restored. There are two award-winning dining experiences overseen by Cape Town's only Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef, Peter Tempelhoff. These include The Green House where cuisine focuses on South African ingredients with modern interpretations, and The Conservatory, serving simple, beautiful fare. 

Day 2: Constantia Valley Winelands
Enjoy a full English breakfast this morning at The Greenhouse Restaurant in the hotel before your private guided tour of the award-winning gardens which garnered the Relais & Châteaux Garden Award in 2010 for their exceptional appearance. The gardens slope up Table Mountain’s side and display some of Constantia’s best indigenous flora. Currently there are more than 2,500 roses, an herb garden, fern walk and hundred-year-old trees. Later you will enjoy a picnic lunch on Table Mountain and take a guided walking tour.

South Africa is the sixth largest plant kingdom in the world and many species are endemic (i.e. appearing nowhere else in the world) and many of these are found on Table Mountain. En route back to the hotel, you will take a city orientation drive through Cape Town, the beautiful Mother City of South Africa.

Day 3
This morning you will visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, one of South Africa’s most famous World Heritage Sites. After lunch at the Gardens, depart to one of Cape Town’s exclusive residential suburbs to visit the Stellenberg Estate. Your private tour of the gardens will be conducted by the proud estate owner or her head horticulturist, and will be followed by tea and cake on the lawn.

Day 4
Today you will take a full-day Peninsula & Cape Point Tour. Highlights include the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive, a guided walk at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, funicular to the top of Cape Point, African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach, scenic Indian Ocean route and wine tasting at the Groot Constantia Estate.

Day 5: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve
Today you will head north on the West Coast highway to Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve in the Cederberg Mountains. Late July through September is peak season for the Namaqualand flower splendor and the best time of day to view the carpets of spring flowers is from mid-morning until early afternoon. The area from Cape Town all the way to St. Helena Bay has been recently declared an international Biosphere.

Stop along the way to visit a historic missionary church and parsonage, a private farm where you can walk amongst the Babianas and Lapeirousias carpeting the lands, the tidal lagoon at West Coast National Park and Saldanha Bay before heading east.

Arrive at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Retreat in time for high tea followed by a drive through the wilderness reserve. This exclusive 5-star wilderness and wellness retreat has consistently received world-wide recognition for its warm and welcoming hospitality, delicious Cape cuisine, magnificent service and facilities, and applauded for its dedication to restoring and preserving the natural beauty of the 18,500-acre reserve.
2 Nights at Bushmans Kloof

Day 6
Rise early for coffee, tea and biscuits before departing in open air vehicles with experienced and highly trained conservation guides for a predator-free wilderness experience. Bushmans Kloof is a retreat nestled in a vast landscape of ancient sandstone rock formations located in the majestic Cederberg Mountains. It is a safe haven for a myriad of indigenous plants, birds and animals. A dedicated custodian of the world’s largest open-air rock art gallery, it has been named a Natural Heritage Site. There are two game drives each day and besides the fauna and flora the reserve offers guided rock art walks and visits providing guests with a mirror into the world of the ancient Bushmen.

You can opt to be as still or as active as you would like to be. There is mountain biking, canoeing, and swimming in the crystal clear rock pools, horse riding or being pampered in the Spa. Once again you’ll enjoy a high tea of note before departing on a “sundowner” wilderness drive with drinks and snacks as the sun goes down. Dinner at this Relais & Chateaux property is a gourmet dining experience.

Day 7: Franschhoek
After breakfast at the lodge you will head towards Tulbagh.The town is steeped in history, quintessentially Cape Dutch, yet undeniably international, rustic and rural, though irrefutably sophisticated. After lunch you continue to the scenic town of Wellington, and through the Cape Winelands to Franschhoek, the gourmet capital of the Cape.  Here, amidst luscious vineyards and gracious Cape Dutch farmsteads, a picturesque village emits proud, ever-present memories of a 17th century Huguenot culture. 
2 Nights at Babylonstoren

This boutique “farm hotel,” at the foot of the Drakenstein Mountains, maintains its rustic heart and charm while seamlessly blending with modern luxuries in the one and two bedroom cottages. There are 200 acres of organic farmlands, and the garden is at the heart.  It was inspired by the East Africa Company Gardens where for centuries ships would replenish at this halfway station between Europe and Asia.  Food is taken seriously at the “straight from the garden inspired,” award-winning restaurant, Babel.

Day 9: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Begin your journey through the Overberg region and apple growing district of Grabouw for a visit to the seaside town of Betty’s Bay. Here you can visit the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens in the heart of the Cape’s richest fynbos region, home to species including the King Protea, Ericas and Restios.

Continue on to Hermanus, the largest coastal town in the Overberg, which is spread out along the magnificent sea cliffs on Walker Bay.  Enjoy lunch at Seafood at the Marine located in The Marine Hotel. After lunch take a walk along the cliff path which is spectacular, especially during whale season, earning the village the reputation of offering the best land-based whale watching in the world. On occasion they come within meters of the shore making it even easier to see these giant mammals mating and calving in the waters below.

You will arrive at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in the late afternoon. This is a place like no other. When world-renowned British conservationist David Bellamy says “The best example of conservation of biodiversity I have ever seen – Grootbos says it with flowers,” then one knows that he has discovered a truly exceptional nature destination. Overlooking the spectacular Walker Bay, Grootbos offers the unique combination of a 5-star operation and an outstanding example of conservation and human development initiatives.Sundowners will be at the beach tonight.  Dinner is a 5-course affair in the lodge restaurant.

Day 10
This morning you will take a walk through the Milkwood Forests. Milkwood trees are known to grow over 1000 years old and their gnarled branches and mossy beards create an enchanting atmosphere of deep soothing tranquility and rejuvenation. The name Grootbos, an Afrikaans word meaning Big Forest, is derived from the presence of these ancient trees.  Later you will visit the greenhouse and tree nursery.  This afternoon you will have a guided flower tour through the reserve in an open, 4x4 vehicle

Day 11
This morning you will head back to Cape Town where you can continue on to a safari or begin your journey home. 

Best Time to Travel:
The ideal time for this itinerary is late July through September, during the peak wildflower season.

Group Size:
This privately guided tour with special garden arrangements is most economical with a minimum of 10-18 travelers.

Private Departures:
Contact us to custom-tailor this itinerary for your group's interests, budget range, travel dates and accommodation preferences.

Fitness Required:
This itinerary includes walking and some rugged conditions so travelers should be reasonably fit.


Suggested Extensions

Pre-Journey: Johannesburg
Many international flights will have you arriving in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Consider staying for a night or two and allowing your body clock to adjust.  See the Apartheid Museum and perhaps a township tour.  There are some lovely hotels to choose from.

Post-Journey: Safari
You are so close; you might as well take this opportunity to go on safari.  We suggest adding on at least four more days to visit one of the private reserves adjacent to Kruger National Park.    We will be happy to plan these days for you to suite your interests and travel preferences.

Luxury Train Travel:
Both the Blue Train and Rovos Rail operate on set departure dates between Pretoria and Cape Town and in the reverse direction.   Experience the glamour of a bygone era on these luxury trains.  

Soarin’ Over Zululand

Itinerary

Day 1: Johannesburg
You will be met upon arrival at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport and transferred to an area hotel. 
2 Nights in Johannesburg

Day 2
Take a guided tour to the Apartheid Museum, a fascinating place to learn about 20th century South Africa history. The museum celebrates the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.  We can also arrange a township tour or other activities.

Day 3: Madikwe Game Reserve
Take a scheduled flight up to Madikwe Game Reserve near the Botswana border. There are a number of lodges in this area. 
2 Nights in Madikwe

Madikwe Game Reserve is one of South Africa’s largest malaria-free, big-five wildlife reserves. Located along the Botswana border, the region is host to an incredible diversity of species including black and white rhino, buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah and African wild dog.   In 1991, Operation Phoenix reintroduced 8,000 animals of 28 species into this area which was formerly cattle farms.  Today Madikwe is world-renowned for its pioneering approach to people-based wildlife conservation. This is a remarkable success story of conservation, community capacity building and eco-tourism investment which is the result of a partnership between the local communities, the private sector and the government.

Day 4
Rise early and head out for your first pre-dawn game drive to track the endangered African wild dogs.  Spend a leisurely afternoon catching up on journal writing or lounging around your private plunge pool.  Head out again in your 4x4 open vehicle in the late afternoon to see what might cross your path

Day 5: Phinda Private Game Reserve
Spend your last morning here tracking the elusive brown hyena before heading back for breakfast. Later you will go to the airstrip to board your private charter plane to Phinda.  Stay at Phinda Forest Lodge or one of the exclusive use houses in this 66-square mile private reserve.

You will spend the next six day in this wilderness reserve, ideally three nights in one area and the other three in another area. Seven distinct habitats shelter an abundance of wildlife including Africa's Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, black and white rhino, buffalo) and over 380 bird species, while the marine diversity off the nearby coast of Sodwana is said to rival the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Set deep in the heart of a rare, dry sand forest, the spectacular Phinda Forest Lodge fuses architectural design and conservation. This award-winning safari lodge is designed in a Zulu Zen style with private stilted suites with luxurious bathrooms and private viewing decks.

Your specialist guide will meet you for lunch to give you an overview of the next few days. Enjoy a siesta before your late afternoon adventure – lion tracking! Your guide will introduce you to a pride and explain their social dynamics and behavior patterns.

Day 6
Depart for an early morning game drive heading for the open grassy plains to observe the fastest mammal on earth, the cheetah. Along the way your guide will point out the abundant array of bird life. This evening promises a unique experience, searching for one or more of the twelve leopards under the Munyawana Leopard Research Project at Phinda.

Day 7
You can choose to sleep in and enjoy your luxurious suite or depart early for morning game drive. This afternoon you will get together with the Black Rhino Research Team and learn about the area’s conservation initiatives. As the sun sinks you will take a boat cruise on the Mzinene River with frozen gin & tonics!

Day 8
Leave the lodge at first light and experience Phinda’s ecological diversity on a full day walk.  If you come across fresh tracks of buffalo, elephant bulls or rhino, you will track them and try to view them on foot from a safe distance. Stop for a picnic lunch and siesta. Your crew will set up hammocks for a snooze or just taking in the magic of being out in the bush.

By late afternoon, arrive at a camp site set up just for you. Enjoy a delicious bush dinner around the campfire.  Sleep out here in a comfortable fly camp like explorers of days long past.

Phinda Rock Lodge is set into a cliff-face and the suites are seemingly suspended over the valley below, providing breathtaking views. Constructed from contoured stone and adobe, each suite opens onto a private deck with a plunge pool.

Day 9
As the sun rises, you’ll wake up in the African bush and depart for Phinda Rock Lodge.  Your bags have been moved here while you were walking yesterday.  After a hot shower and breakfast you will meet up with a local guide who will take you the surrounding Zulu communities visiting a school, craft market and a traditional “Sangoma” healer.

Day 10
The area of Maputaland is so incredibly diverse and one of the best ways to appreciate it is by air. This morning you will soar above Zululand on a 45-minute, scenic air safari. Then it’s off to the beach where we can enjoy swimming, snorkeling or a long walk on the deserted beach. If you are a certified scuba diver, this is your chance to experience one of the world’s top ten dive sites. More than 1,200 species of fish are found along this coastline.

Day 11: Cape Town
Today you fly to Cape Town where you will be for the next five days.  Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Set on a sweeping bay with the immense Table Mountain in the background, this cosmopolitan, has much to see and do. Legend has it that Table Mountain holds the spirit of Mother Africa, and is known as the "Mother City." The spiritually powerful peak is known to have a powerful energy vortex.

Day 12
Take a full-day Cape Peninsula tour to give you a good overview of the entire area.  Start along the Atlantic Seaboard through the coastal suburbs, fishing villages, and Cape of Good Hope National Park.  See penguins on the beach and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Table Mountain.

Day 13
Today is a full-day, privately guided cultural tour. Starting at District Nine and the museum, you will gain some perspective on this country’s apartheid years. After lunch visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other freedom fighters were imprisoned.

Day 14
Choose to go shopping the boutiques on Kloof Street or walking the bustling Victoria & Albert Waterfront. Or you could go to the Cape Winelands to visit a few Franschhoek and Stellenbosch wineries.

Day 15
Begin your journey home.

Private Departures:
Contact us to custom-tailor this itinerary for you. 

Family Safari in South Africa

Itinerary

Day 1: Johannesburg
You will be met upon arrival at Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport and transferred to an area hotel. There are many family-friendly options where you can recover from your journey with 24-hour food and beverage service, swimming pool, and gyms and spas. 
2 Nights in Johannesburg

Day 2
Take a guided tour to the Apartheid Museum, a fascinating place to learn about 20th century South Africa history. The museum celebrates the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. We can also arrange a township tour or other activities.

Day 3: Madikwe Game Reserve
Take the scheduled shuttle flight to Madikwe, one of South Africa’s largest malaria-free, big-five wildlife reserves. You will be met on arrival at the airstrip and game drive to your lodge.

Located along the Botswana border, the region is host to an incredible diversity of species including black and white rhino, buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah and African wild dog.   In 1991, Operation Phoenix reintroduced 8,000 animals of 28 species into this area which was formerly cattle farms.  Today Madikwe is world-renowned for its pioneering approach to people-based wildlife conservation.

Madikwe Safari Lodge has three different lodges on the property.  Lelapa, which means family in the local dialect, is exactly that. There are many activities available for children including family safari drives, bush orientation, bug CSI, dung tracking, track pack with plaster of Paris, baking in the kitchen, making pizzas in the boma, star gazing, games night and much more. 
5 Nights at Madikwe Lelapa Lodge

Days 4 - 7
Spend your days with your experienced guide exploring the wonders of Madikwe-- interpretive bush walks, and day and night game-drives in open 4x4 safari vehicles. Children can take part in specially designed programs and parents can join in, or steal away for a few hours on their own.

Day 8: Cape Town
Fly to Cape Town and check in at one of the many family-friendly hotels where you can settle in to explore this beautiful city.
4 Nights in Cape Town

Days 9 - 11
We can arrange some full-day or half-day tours to the Cape of Good Hope, Kirstenbosch Gardens, Table Mountain, Boulders Penguin Colony, the many beach communities, museums and craft markets. You can choose to visit the townships or Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. Or perhaps you’d like to visit the picturesque Cape Winelands for wine tasting and olive oil sampling. For the adventurous ones, we can even arrange sea kayaking or shark cage diving!

Day 12
Depart for home 

Private Departures:
Contact us to custom-tailor this itinerary for your family’s interests, budget, travel dates and accommodation preferences. 

 

Accommodations

South Africa offers the opportunity to combine a wilderness safari with a cosmopolitan city experience.  There are award-winning luxury safari lodges, boutique vineyard properties, charming bed & breakfasts in picturesque villages, 5-star hotels and many other options for other budgets.  We look forward to choosing the right ones for you.

 

Kruger National Park & Private Reserves

The greater Kruger area is made up of the national park and the adjacent private game reserves on the western side.  The rolling plains are referred to as the lowveld and are well suited for elephant, giraffe, lion, antelope and hippo.  Kruger National Park is more than 200 miles long and about 37 miles wide. Much of the tourist activity is in the southern part of the park and the camps here must adhere to strict guidelines.

Most of the fences between the park and the private reserves have been removed, opening the ancient migration routes for elephants and allowing all animals to roam a larger area.  More recently fences between Mozambique and Zimbabwe and South Africa are being removed.

The adjacent private game reserves, where you will find many outstanding luxury safari lodges, offers the best safari experience in this area.  Not hampered by the park rules, guests are guided by professional guides and trackers in open vehicles for day and night game drives. Off-road driving gets you closer to the animals. And because many of the lodges are situated overlooking a waterhole or river, much of the game comes to you.

The reserves are privately owned and most properties are managed with award-winning eco-tourism and hospitality standards

Photo: Singita

Singita Boulders Lodge

Sabi Sand Reserve
Inspired by the rocks it sits upon, Boulders Lodge towers over the banks of the Sand River. The contemporary style pulls in the light and the suites are spacious with gorgeous stone baths.  Each one features bathroom and shower, outside shower, private heated swimming pool, double-sided fireplace, mini bar and fridge, air-conditioning, private lounge, and game-viewing deck. The two family suites are connected by a common dining and lounge area offering exclusivity to groups of four to six persons.  A modern African classic, this award-winning lodge is intimate, quiet and private. 

Photo: Singita

Singita Ebony Lodge

Sabi Sand Reserve
As the original Singita lodge, Ebony stands amongst enormous trees on the banks of the Sand River in the heart of South Africa’s ‘big cat country'. Aged leather, antiques and ethnic crafts combine to create an atmosphere of colonial elegance. There are ten luxury suites and two family suites.

Photo: Singita

Castleton Lodge

Sabi Sand Reserve
This lodge is booked on an exclusive basis and can accommodate up to twelve guests. Formerly the family home of Singita founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather, Castleton now provides a private and luxurious villa experience with communal living in the main house and six cottages. This property is complemented by a swimming pool, wine cellar, gym, tennis court and spa. While maintaining the original ambience of an African farmhouse, Castleton revitalized the living spaces with richly detailed interiors including botanical art references, luxurious bedding and classic prints. In this idyllic lodge setting, gracious service from a staff that includes a private guide, tracker, chef, and housekeeper is finely tuned to the dictates and desires of each guest.

Photo: Singita

Singita Lebombo

Lebombo Private Reserve
Lebombo is located on Singita’s 33,000-acre private concession in a rather remote area of the Kruger National Park which boasts a high concentration of wildlife.  Set discretely into the cliffs like giant eagle nests, the 15 suites here have floor to ceiling windows affording dramatic views of the Lebombo Mountains, N’Wanetsi River and the vast wilderness. Steel, glass and wood are the elements of the avant-garde design giving guests the feeling of being a part of the environment.  This elegant lodge offers many spaces for guests to enjoy including a wine studio, library, roof top terrace, multimedia room, interactive kitchen, espresso bar, and a 25 meter lap pool.  The fully-staffed, 4 bedroom private villa, located a short distance away from the lodge, is a good option for families.  The entire property was re-done in April, 2016.  

Photo: Singita

Singita Sweni Lodge

Lebombo Private Reserve
This is a classic African take on a contemporary design, combining glass with woven branches and ethnic artworks. There are just six suites discretely set among the trees along the bank of the Sweni River.  Designed with open-plan living in mind, the suite flows from the bathroom area, through to the lounge and into the bedroom.   Each offers a private game viewing deck and outside shower. Sweni is a tranquil, intimate hideaway perfect for honeymooners.

Photo: Londolozi

Londolozi Pioneer Camp

Sabi Sand Reserve
This elegant bushveld safari camp features just three private cottages set in a 500-year-old Riverine forest.  Unique, peaceful and remote, this wild untrammeled wilderness is the defining experience at Pioneer Camp.  Interiors conjure old English indulgence with an African twist.  The cottages are air-conditioned with luxurious bathrooms featuring tubs, indoor and outdoor showers. There is a lap pool and boma where evening meals are enjoyed under the stars. No children under 16 years are allowed unless the entire lodge is booked.  

Photo: Londolozi

Londolozi Founders Camp

Sabi Sand Reserve
Set on the bank of the Sand River, Founders Camp is enchanting and intimate and ideally situated to provide an insider's view on the secrets of river life. This camp is a dressed as a classic safari with black and cream ticking fabric, original mahogany beds, deep leather couches, military chests, compass safari lamps and a riverside lounge sala, all to create a mood of easy luxury and laid back welcome for discerning families and travelers.

Photo: Londolozi

Londolozi Varty Camp

Sabi Sand Reserve
Varty Camp, the symbolic heart and soul of Londolozi, has a pleasantly down-to-earth quality and the emphasis on family heritage means that children always have a place here.  There are two superior chalets and eight deluxe chalets with décor that echoes the tones of the Varty's own home and their continuing love affair with the earth.  Each chalet has a private swimming pool framed by timber deck, overlooking the riverbank. The living space is raised off the ground and shaded under a cathedral of trees. 

Photo: Londolozi

Londolozi Tree Camp

Sabi Sand Reserve
True to its name, Tree Camp’s six intimate suites are set high on stilts in the canopy of trees overlooking the Sand River.  From your private deck you can view elephant and buffalo moving through and spot monkeys jumping through the branches. The décor is a contemporary version of Out of Africa, combining the old glamour with the natural elements of the spectacular setting.  Each suite has a private sala and plunge pool.  This is a place of romance and connoisseurship making it perfect for honeymooners.

Photo: Londolozi

Londolozi Granite Suites

Sabi Sand Reserve   
The Granite Suites can be booked individually or as a private camp for six guests, making it ideal for honeymooning couples and intimate family celebrations. Bold, inspiring materials mirror the extrusion of granite rocks that flank the camp while conveying the raw essence of Africa.  A palette of silver, charcoal and elephant grey, in a range of sumptuous materials, creates an elegant and contemporary setting in each expansive suite. A seamless integration with nature is achieved with large doors and windows all opening directly onto the river. This luxury safari lodge is for the discerning traveler who appreciates the finer details of an African safari.

Photo: Ulasaba

Ulasaba Rock Lodge

Sabi Sand Reserve   
Ulusaba means “place of little fear,” perched high on the summit of a kopje, with panoramic views over miles of bush. The Aroma Boma Spa at Rock Lodge is located 800 feet above the African Savannah with truly stunning views over the Bush and offers complete privacy. Ideal for families, all children will be given a Cub’s Club Backpack full of little goodies to entertain and educate them about the African Bush. 

Photo: Ulasaba

Ulasaba Cliff Lodge

Sabi Sand Reserve
Cliff Lodge enjoys the magic of Rock Lodge as it takes full advantage over the forever views. Cliff Lodge can be booked exclusively so if you’re after privacy you’ll enjoy private decks, views and pools to take it all in. Kids of any age can stay at Cliff Lodge and are invited to join the Cub’s Club that offers a wide range of activities tailored to each family.

Photo: Ulasaba

Ulasaba Safari Lodge

Sabi Sand Reserve
Safari Lodge is built along the banks of  a dry riverbed where guest cross swing bridges between the treehouse rooms. Your room will provide fascinating views of the animals as they stroll past on their way to the nearby watering hole.

Photo: Dulini River Lodge

Dulini River Lodge

Sabi Sand Reserve
Dulini River Lodge sits in the shade of ebony trees on the edge of the Sand River.  Six luxury suites are spread out along the bank providing dramatic river views of elephant herds drinking or hippos surfacing.  The suites are air-conditioned and have elegant bathrooms, private plunge pools and outdoor showers.   The dining and sitting areas also overlook the river and a giant sausage tree provides shade for long, lazy afternoon lunches. 

Photo: Dulini Safari Lodge

Dulini Safari Lodge

Sabi Sand Reserve
Six spacious stone cottages grace the banks of the Mabrak River. This quiet retreat has beautifully appointed, classic interiors.  Large welcoming sofas and African sculptures in the main guest area provide the perfect spot to read more about what you’ve seen on the morning’s game drive. Suites are air-conditioned and have outdoor showers and private plunge pools. Dulini is ideally suited to indulging the safari dreams of individual adventurers, as well as exclusive parties of guests celebrating special occasions.  A romantic, candlelit dinner for two can be arranged in the well-stocked wine cellar.

Photo: Leadwood Lodge

Leadwood Lodge

Sabi Sand Reserve
This exclusive lodge is nestled against a wooded bank of the Sand River, where jackalberry and leadwood trees lend their shade.  With only four suites, this is the perfect place for a family or small group of friends.  The clean, modern lines of the design feature natural materials – stone, wood, granite and glass – and provide a counter point to the soft furnishings.  The spacious suites are air-conditioned with large bathtubs, fireplaces, sitting room, outdoor showers and plunge pools. The suites are distanced from one another to offer solitude and serenity.

Photo: Kirkman’s Kamp

Kirkman’s Kamp

Sabi Sand Reserve
Kirkman's Kamp is located on one of the most elevated sites overlooking the Sand River. Named after Harry Kirkman, who was one of South Africa’s first conservationists, the camp is set around a Victorian era homestead giving you the feeling of days long gone.  The area is known for a great diversity of animal species and the ever-changing bird life provides even the most experienced ornithologist with rare finds.

Photo: Sabi Sabi

Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge

Sabi Sand Reserve
Earth Lodge is sculpted deep into the earth with simple yet breathtaking architecture inspired by the natural world.  Cocooned in one of the 13 exclusive luxury suites you become one with nature. Each is attended by a private butler and is appointed with specially commissioned furnishings, a secluded plunge pool and open air shower. There is also a library, art gallery and meditation garden.  Dining in a subterranean cellar probably qualifies as uniquely unforgettable.

Photo: Sabi Sabi

Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge

Sabi Sand Reserve
Bush Lodge overlooks a waterhole where animals come to drink. The 25 air-conditioned, thatched suites feature ethnic décor. There is a handicapped accessible suite designed to meet all specifications without compromising the luxury or exclusivity features. For honeymooners, the Mandleve Suite has a private pool, in-room dining, personal attendant and provides a private safari vehicle.

Photo: Sabi Sabi

Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp

Sabi Sand Reserve
Set on the banks of the Msuthlu River in the shade of indigenous trees, this camp has a rustic feel and is perfect for a group of friends or a family retreat.  Secluded in the bush are six air-conditioned double suites with indoor and outdoor showers and private viewing decks. The contemporary African design feature wood and stone finishes, draped mosquito netting and thatch roofs.

Photo: Selati Camp

Selati Camp

Sabi Sand Reserve
In the 1870s gold was discovered in the Drakensberg escarpment and a railway was built to transport the gold to Mozambique. The Selati Line crossed the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and thus came the name of Selati Camp. This small eight suite camp is furnished with a historic railway theme from the original steam engine name plates, signals and other memorabilia in the lounge to the 19th century collectibles in each room.  

Photo: Rattray's on MalaMala

Rattray's on MalaMala

Sabi Sand Reserve
Rattray's on MalaMala offers a glimpse of an era long past, when travelers to Africa married the magic of the wild bush with elegance and refinement. Each suite or khaya (the Zulu for "home") functions as an inclusive home, resplendent with hand-selected furnishings, lavish his-and-hers bathrooms, a secluded outdoor shower and a private heated plunge pool.  Family owned and managed by the Rattray Family since 1964, there are several lodges in this 33,000 acre private concession.  Game viewing is exclusive to MalaMala guests, making this a favorite for serious photographers.

Photo: Royal Malewane

Royal Malewane

Thornybush Private Game Reserve
This exclusive lodge accommodates only 20 guests in the utmost colonial splendor. This area has abundant wildlife and game viewing can be done in open Land Rovers or on foot with your experienced guide and tracker.  Suites feature palatial air-conditioned bedrooms with a canopied king-sized bed and a sitting room with  fireplace. Bathrooms have Victorian tubs with window view and both indoor and outdoor showers.  Elevated walkways link the suites to the main camp area where you will find the library, shop, dining and reception areas which are all furnished with rich antiques, Persian carpets and over-stuffed couches.  This is the perfect spot for a destination wedding or family reunion.

Photo: Shumbalala

Shumbalala

Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Shumbalala is a family-owned and operated 5-star luxury property on the banks of the seasonal Monwana River.  There are spacious suites and a 2-bedroom Presidential Suite. This is a good choice for honeymooners or others who want privacy and personalized attention.  Romantic dinners in the wine cellar with a view over the water hole is a highlight.  

Photo: Kings Camp

Kings Camp

Kings Camp faces an open savanna plain with a waterhole, which is frequented by a wide variety of wildlife by day and night. There are more than 250 species of birds in this area and Kings Camp offers private outings with skilled rangers for those bird enthusiasts.  Nine generously spacious suites and two exquisite honeymoon suites are equipped with air-conditioning, Victorian ball-and-claw bath, indoor and outdoor double shower, fully stocked mini-bar and private verandah. The honeymoon suites enjoy the privacy of their own pools overlooking the bush. Waterbuck Private Camp, with its own game viewing vehicle and game ranger, as well as a personal butler and chef, boasts a four-bedroomed Private Villa. 

KwaZulu-Natal

The province of KwaZulu-Natal is located on the eastern seaboard. The northern section is a remote region of many rivers which attract an exceptional number of birds and animals. There are few people here, making it an ideal safari location. The Phinda Private Game Reserve is one of the premiere safari destinations and an award-winning model of eco-tourism.

Photo: Phinda Forest Lodge

Phinda Forest Lodge

Phinda Private Reserve
Exquisite architectural design meets conservation in these luxurious handcrafted suites. Set deep in the heart of a rare, dry sand forest, the lodge comprises 16 private stilted suites that are encased in glass. The "Zulu-Zen" decor combines nature with minimalist sensibility and Zulu artifacts. There is a sparkling rim-flow swimming pool, luxurious dining and sitting areas, and an expansive viewing deck with panoramic views of the game-filled plains. 

Photo: Phinda Mountain Lodge

Phinda Mountain Lodge

Phinda Private Reserve
The dramatic setting of this lodge offers wrap-around views of the spectacular Ubombo Mountains and the bushveld below. Paved pathways lead down the mountainside from the main lodge areas to the guest suites, which are a blend of avant-garde and ethnic design. Phinda Mountain Lodge is a good family safari destination with a family adventure plan geared towards age appropriate activities for the children -- insect hunts with ultraviolet lights, animal tracking, treasure hunts, special game drives, astronomy 101, and nature based art projects.

Photo: Phinda Rock Lodge

Phinda Rock Lodge

Phinda Private Reserve
Re-opened following an extensive refurbishment in summer 2017, the Phinda Rock Lodge overlooks the 40,000 acre Phinda Private Game Reserve with six suites carved into the rocky hillside.  The lodge offers a game viewing deck, lounge with a fireplace, and Wi-Fi in suites.  Its location in the game reserve makes it ideal for private game drives, bush walks, and seasonal river cruises—the reserve is home to seven distinct ecosystems.

Photo: Phinda Vlei Lodge

Phinda Vlei Lodge

Phinda Private Reserve
Intimate and elegant, this exquisite lodge comprises six thatched suites with en-suite bathrooms, dressing rooms, private plunge pools and decks which overlook the vlei (wetland system) where you're likely to observe herds of grazing antelope, zebra and a dazzling variety of bird life. Each suite decorated in a subtle blend of North and West African styles with hints of Balinese influences. The atmosphere is exclusive and personal, a mixture of understated sophistication and sheer luxury.

Photo: Phinda Zuka Lodge

Phinda Zuka Lodge

Phinda Private Reserve
This exclusive use property has four thatched Zululand bush cottages with verandas overlooking a busy waterhole where a diversity of wildlife is regularly seen. There is a private ranger/host, tracker, butler and chef, along with a Lodge area that includes an interactive café-style kitchen, indoor lounge and dining areas, an intimate library with Internet access and a swimming pool. With no set timetable or routine, savor the wonders of the bush at your own pace.

Photo: The Homestead

The Homestead

Phinda Private Reserve
This exclusive private residence overlooks an extinct volcano now covered in lush green vegetation and ringed by gently rolling hills. An interactive kitchen allows for intimate, informal dining, and a rim-flow infinity pool provides for respite from the heat of the day. The Homestead comes complete with private ranger/host, tracker, butler and chef, as well as the ability to tailor your daily activities.  

Northern Cape

The Northern Cape is a vast stretch of semi-desert and a wild western coast that is known for its abundant fishing grounds.  This is one of the best regions to view San rock art which was painted on cave walls and rocky overhangs centuries ago. In the western area, Namaqualand is known for the extravagant beauty of the wild flowers that bloom in the spring. The city of Kimberly is where diamonds were discovered in the 1870s. Visitors can view the mining museum and the “Big Hole” the sight of the richest diamond mine.

Photo: The Motse

The Motse

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Tswalu Kalahari is the largest privately-owned game reserve in South Africa measuring almost 400 square miles. The Motse is made up of nine authentically stone walled bungalows with thatch roofs where no creature comfort has been spared.  Designed to blend into the mountains, the décor is African style with understated elegance.  Spend your days exploring  ancient archeological sites where the San Bushmen created rock carvings 380,000 years ago, and all the wonders of the Kalahari.   

Photo: Tarkuni

Tarkuni

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Tarkuni is the Oppenheimer family’s own personal home here at Tswalu and the ultimate private sanctuary.  Recently redesigned to uncompromising standards of comfort and elegance, Tarkuni is an exceptional choice for families or groups of great friends. Its five luxurious suites, each with a magnificent en-suite bathroom, accommodate a maximum of ten guests.  Activities in this malaria-free reserve include game drives, bird watching, visits to the habituated meerkat dens, guided horseback trail riding and game walks, excellent stargazing and spa  treatments. 

Western Cape

This 5-star ecological oasis unites nature with luxury, providing the ultimate wilderness experience. Located just 165 miles from Cape Town, Bushmans Kloof has been proclaimed a South African Natural Heritage Site within the Cederberg Wilderness Area, and forms part of the Cape Floral Region, a designated World Heritage Site. The area is malaria and predator-free. 

Photo: Bushmans Kloof

Bushmans Kloof

Cederberg Mountains
This Relais & Chateaux property is a unique retreat in the midst of 18,500-acre wildlife and Fynbos reserve.  Each spring, nature celebrates her rebirth here with extravagant flower displays transforming the dramatic sandstone landscapes into a fantasy world of intense color, while rare Cape Mountain zebra now roam in the company of other creatures revered in Bushman mythology such as the eland and gemsbok. Activities include sunset nature drives, morning rock art excursions, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, swimming, fly-fishing, archery or croquet on the lawns.  

Northwest Province

Madikwe Game Reserve is one of South Africa’s largest malaria-free, big-five wildlife reserves. Located along the Botswana border, the region is host to an incredible diversity of species including black and white rhino, buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah and African wild dog.   In 1991, Operation Phoenix reintroduced 8,000 animals of 28 species into this area which was formerly cattle farms.  Today Madikwe is world-renowned for its pioneering approach to people-based wildlife conservation. This is a remarkable success story of conservation, community capacity building and eco-tourism investment which is the result of a partnership between the local communities, the private sector and the government.

 

Photo: Mateya Safari Lodge

Mateya Safari Lodge

Madikwe Game Reserve
Nestled in the rocky Gabbro hills, Mateya boasts an 8,000-bottle wine cellar, and one of the finest African art collections in the world. Game-viewing drives, offered by experienced field guides and trackers, take only four people at a time, before first light every morning and at dusk each day.  Guests can spot the "Super Seven" – buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, rhino, wild dog – and around 350 resident and migrant bird species.  Each of the five luxury air-conditioned suites feature fireplace and a deck with outdoor shower and plunge pool offering uninterrupted views of the waterhole and plains. 

Photo: Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge

Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge

Madikwe Game Reserve
Madikwe Hills sits amongst boulders and age-old Tamboti trees.  The main lodge has 10 suites designed for privacy and featuring an ‘Afro chic’ décor with natural elements and strong colors.  Each suite has a private swimming pool, fire place, under-floor heating, air conditioning, al fresco shower, romantic bathrooms and doors that fold back that allow you to truly feel at one with the environment.  Little Madikwe Hills is a two bedroom suite which is easily combined with two additional suites forming a private camp for eight guests with its own game ranger, land rover and a private butler.  Families with children are welcome here.

Photo: Madikwe Lelapa Lodge

Madikwe Lelapa Lodge

Madikwe Game Reserve
Lelapa, which means family in the local dialect, is exactly that. There are many activities available for children including: Family safari drives, bush orientation, bug CSI, dung tracking, track pack with plaster of Paris, baking in the kitchen, making pizzas in the boma, star gazing, games night and much more. 

Photo: Madikwe Kopano Lodge

Madikwe Kopano Lodge

Madikwe Game Reserve
Kopano which means “small gathering” comprises only four suites with a beautiful common area offering a more private experience. Although décor is elegant, fresh and contemporary, every brick, stone and column is almost a direct extension of the earth. Trees are as much a part of the Kopano’s interiors as they are of the untouched bushveld.

Photo: Madikwe Dithaba Lodge

Madikwe Dithaba Lodge

Madikwe Game Reserve
Dithaba, meaning mountain in the local dialect, is located slightly higher up on the mountain and has incredible views over the open plains.  With just 4 suites it is well suited for a group of friends or family members wanting an exclusive home while on safari.  

Cape Town

Visitors to this beautiful city usually regret not planning more time here. There are many attractions in the city and surrounding areas.  You can choose from 5-star, award-winning hotels, boutique guest houses on tree-lined streets, ocean view lodges or funky urban stays in Cape Town. Some offer reduced rates between April and October.  Here are a few of our favorites.

Cape Grace Hotel

The Cape Grace is set on its own private quay on Cape Town's vibrant Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. With a classically inspired exterior and gracefully elegant within, Cape Grace's charm lies in its intimate atmosphere, stylish décor and unique personalized hospitality.  Dine in the comfort of the award-winning Signal restaurant, savor a single malt from Bascule Bar's whisky collection, the largest in the southern hemisphere, or indulge in African-influenced treatments at the spa on the top floor.  

One & Only Cape Town

This stunning urban oasis on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront offers an unprecedented level of style and luxury. Sumptuous rooms and suites feature views of Table Mountain or are situated on a lushly landscaped private island with waterway views. A second private island features Cape Town's most comprehensive spa with vitality pools and a yoga pavilion. Dining is headlined by the legendary chef  Nobuyuki Matsuhisa for Nobu and local celebrity chef Reuben Riffel at Reuben’s.  The spectacular tri-level wine loft houses one of the most magnificent collections of wine in South Africa.

Mount Nelson Hotel

The Mount Nelson Hotel is Cape Town’s oldest and grandest colonial hotel. The sprawling lush garden estate is in the heart of the city’s vibrant cultural center and close to the bustling V&A Waterfront and some of Cape Town’s best beaches. The Mount Nelson participates in the Heritage Environmental Program which measures and monitors a wide range of social and economic factors, and recognizes resource and developmental initiatives designed to ensure long-term sustainability. 

Victoria & Alfred Hotel

Built in 1904 as the North Quay Warehouse and converted in 1990 to a luxury hotel, it is named in honor of the Queen of England and her son who visited the Cape in 1870, when Prince Alfred officially opened the Breakwater basin, today's Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. The rooms at this 4-star hotel have striking vistas of the working harbor, the vibrant piazza or the city’s majestic icon Table Mountain. You can walk to restaurants, craft markets, designer shops, cinemas and entertainment in the amphitheater. There are 94 spacious rooms, executive and junior suites spread over three floors providing an intimate feeling.  

Kensington Place

This luxury boutique offers the perfect combination of fresh stylistic design and quaint sophistication. Set in a leafy residential neighborhood on the slope of Table Mountain, you are close to the hottest city spots without the hustle and bustle of city life.   Suites are designed around total comfort and contemporary detail with private terraces overlooking the mountain. Lounge by the pool or on the terrace with an outdoor fire place while enjoying al fresco dining. Guest amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi, made to order breakfast served all day, seasonal dining menus, room service, concierge service, and complimentary gym membership. 

Four Rosmead

This exclusive guesthouse sits on the slopes of Table Mountain in a select residential neighborhood within walking distance of the city as well as vibrant Kloof Street, which is well known for its restaurant and café culture. Built in 1903, this four-star classified monument has been recently remodeled with environmental sensitivity into a stylish Cape contemporary classic. The eight en-suite bedrooms feature extra-length beds, high quality linens, satellite TV, Wi-Fi and iPod base stations. All of the carefully selected artwork by local South African artists is for sale.

Cape Cadogan & More Quarters

This charming boutique hotel has deep roots in Cape Town history, but it has found the balance of classic style and contemporary bohemian comfort.  Located in the Gardens neighborhood, you are walking distance to the hip and buzzing Kloof St. and a quick hop away to Table Mountain, Clifton Beach and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.  More Quarters features one and two bedroom apartments, and Redcliffe House sleeps eight.  Breakfast and daily housekeeping are included. 

Ellerman House

Bantry Bay
This Relais & Chateaux property overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and Robben Island from a commanding position above Cape Town’s Bantry Bay. Created for the enjoyment of the finer things in life, this gracious Cape Edwardian mansion with shaded verandahs and tiered gardens, has beautifully appointed interiors.   The wine gallery is a unique space to showcase South African wines, and Ellerman has one of the finest private art collections in South Africa. For guests traveling together, the three-bedroom Ellerman Villa is available as an exclusive use residence complete with butler and chef.

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

Camps Bay
This 5-star hotel lies where earth, sea, and sky meet, poised above Atlantic rollers and flanked by the majestic Table Mountain and her Twelve Apostles mountain range. Camps Bay is an upmarket suburb just ten minutes from the heart of Cape Town. You will find one of the best spas in Africa here at Twelve Apostles, with a wide range of treatments are offered, including some based on the indigenous fynbos flora. 

Cape Royale Luxury Hotel

Green Point
The Cape Royale sits on a tree-lined boulevard across the street from the Green Point Stadium and park, and in close proximity to the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay. You can walk to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront or take advantage of the complimentary limousine service. This 5-star  hotel a rooftop pool deck, spa, gym, business center and three restaurants. The one, two and three-bedroom luxury suites are spacious and include en-suite bedroom and bathrooms, entertainment and lounge area, dining room and fully equipped kitchen and laundry.

Winelands

The Cape Winelands provide an ideal excursion from Cape Town or you can spend a few days in the countryside at one of these preferred properties. This is an area of vineyards and olive orchards, picturesque villages with rich historical and cultural heritage, galleries, award-winning restaurants, and of course, wine tasting.  Constantia Valley is the oldest wine-making region dating back to 1685.  Franschhoek is considered to be the food and wine capital of South Africa.  Stellenbosch is a charming university town and the capital of the Cape Winelands.   

The Cellars-Hohenort

Constantia Valley
Located adjacent to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, this is a place of understated elegance and charm. The nine-acre estate of world-renown gardens and vineyard has various accommodations in the magnificently restored 18th Century wine cellar and the splendid manor house.  There are two swimming pools; a tennis court and a Gary Player designed putting and chipping green. The property boasts two award-winning dining experiences overseen by Cape Town's only Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef, Peter Tempelhoff. These are The Greenhouse, where cuisine focuses on South African ingredients with modern interpretations, and The Conservatory, serving simple, beautiful fare. 

Photo: The Steenberg Country Hotel

The Steenberg Country Hotel

Constantia Valley
This hotel is on the Steenberg Wine Estate, the oldest wine estate in the country and the first in South Africa to be owned by a woman. The original buildings dating back to1682 have been lovingly resorted and declared a National Monument.  This boutique hotel has elegant rooms and suites overlooking the vineyards or manicured gardens.  The award-winning restaurant, Catharina’s is housed in the original winery and there is a championship 18-hole golf course and spa.

Photo: The Last Word Constantia

The Last Word Constantia

Constantia Valley
This 5-star retreat  is located close to eight of South Africa's top wine estates, many internationally celebrated restaurants and fashionable shops.  Each of the nine suites opens onto private patios leading to the garden and pool.  An in-house chauffeur service is available to guests for restaurant transfers or tailored tours to the highlights of Cape Town. 

Photo: Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren

Franschhoek
This boutique “farm hotel,” at the foot of the Drakenstein Mountains, maintains its rustic heart and charm while seamlessly blending with modern luxuries in the one and two bedroom cottages. On 200 acres of organic farmlands, you can participate in all sorts of activities: pick your own salad, bike around the farm or stroll through the gardens. Food is taken seriously at the  “straight from the garden inspired,” award-winning restaurant, Babel. The Farm Shop features fresh baked breads, handcrafted cheeses, charcuterie and a selection of wine from 28 area cellars.

Photo: Virgin Limited

Mont Rochelle Hotel

Franschhoek
Sir Richard Branson has recently purchased and refurbished this property on the slopes of the mountains overlooking Franschhoek. There are 22 rooms including six suites, an outdoor swimming pool, bar,  gym and spa.  The equestrian center offers a three-hour wine tasting tour on horseback.  The Country Kitchen which joins up to the wine cellar is an ideal place for a light lunch in the sunshine or a relaxed dinner.  Miko, is the setting for some fantastic gourmet meals. 

Photo: Le Quartier Français

Le Quartier Français

Franschhoek
Tucked away from the village center in secluded gardens, this romantic country inn offers a wide variety of rooms, suites and a three-bedroom villa for those who desire a home away from home. The property recently opened its highly anticipated new restaurant, La Petite Colombe, headed by renowned chefs James Gaag and Scot Kirton of the award-winning La Colombe in the Constantia Valley.

Photo: Franschhoek Country House & Villas

Franschhoek Country House & Villas

Franschhoek
This restored manor house and former perfumery dating back to 1890 offers luxury and indulgence. The award-winning, in-house Monneaux Restaurant is rated as one of South Africa's best. Countless, distinctive water features, lavender gardens and cobbled pathways all merge to evoke a feeling that is at once both inimitably French and Cape at heart.  The original country house offers 14 deluxe and luxury rooms.  The 12 Provencal-style villas are spacious with a fireplace and balconies.

Photo: Grande Roche

Grande Roche

Paarl
This Cape Dutch homestead dating back to the 18th century was restored to its original splendor and declared a national monument in 1993. There are 29 luxury suites and five executive rooms at this Relais & Châteaux property. The small chapel is a great place for a wedding.  Michelin-trained Executive Chef, Roland Gorgosilich, infuses classic international cuisine with imagination and innovation at Bosman’s.  Award-winning cuisine, hospitality and outstanding service are the hallmarks of this small estate hotel.

Photo: Lanzerac Hotel

Lanzerac Hotel

Stellenbosch
Situated on the outskirts of the historic town of Stellenbosch, the Lanzerac Estate is a 300-year-old private working wine estate. The guest rooms all feature a private patio and breathtaking views. Elegant private restaurants featuring open fireplaces and original antiques.  The Spa & Wellness Center offers a variety of services.  The Lanzerac Cellar offers pairings of chocolate, cheese and other delicacies to both challenge the palate and complement the wines. 

Photo: Leeu House

Leeu House

Franschhoek

Leeu House is a 5-star country house on the main street of Franschhoek within easy strolling distance of award-winning restaurants, art galleries and boutiques.  Guests staying in the 12 individually styled rooms and suites can enjoy the secluded landscaped gardens and the heated swimming pool, or take advantage of the complimentary bicycles to explore.

Photo: Leeu House

Leeu Estates

Franschhoek

This exclusive vineyard property is scheduled to open in 2016 with 21 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites and a refurbished 19th-century Manor House with six rooms and suites, and a few cottages in the gardens.  The culinary team has created menus to showcase the finest locally sourced organic and ethically farmed produce.  The wine studio is designed for boutique tastings.  There is a gym, heated swimming pool and a  wellness sanctuary offering holistic treatments.

Whale Coast & Garden Route

This scenic stretch from Cape Town all the way to Port Elizabeth beckons travelers to take a leisurely ride or drive on the national road (N2) along the southern edge of the country.  There are many attractions and activities to enjoy all along the way.

Photo: Grootbos Forest Lodge

Grootbos Forest Lodge

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve 
The Grootbos Reserve  is situated in an ancient Milkwood forest surrounded by rolling hills of fynbos and majestic mountains, with a panoramic view of the ocean.  Just two hours from Cape Town, this five-star eco-paradise showcases the incredible flora and marine life of the area. From whale watching and shark cage diving to 4x4 flower safaris, cave exploration and horse riding, there is something for everyone and every season.  Forest Lodge has 16 freestanding luxury suites stylishly furnished to provide an exquisite blend of aesthetic beauty and supreme comfort. 

Photo: Grootbos Garden Lodge

Grootbos Garden Lodge

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve 
True to its name, the warm and welcoming Garden Lodge is set amongst an Eden of beautifully landscaped fynbos gardens and indigenous trees. Designed for families, the lodge features a children’s entertainment room, swimming pool, horse stables and outdoor play area with rabbits, ducks and other friendly farm animals. The 11 suites have canopy beds, en-suite bathrooms, lounges with fireplaces and private decks with spectacular views.

 

Photo: Grootbos Villa

Grootbos Villa

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve 
The diverse natural setting of Grootbos and the surrounding area offers up amazing opportunities for adventure and discovery. Set apart and completely surrounded by pristine fynbos, the Villa consists of six elegant suites accommodating up to 12 guests. Here you can relax in over 1000 square meters of utter luxury and comfort, with your own private guide, chef and butler.  Guests support the mission of The Grootbos Foundation which calls for the conservation of biodiversity in the area and the development of sustainable, nature based livelihoods through ecotourism, research, management and education. 

Photo: The Marine

The Marine

Hermanus
This Relais & Châteaux property is a classic seaside hotel perched high on the cliffs, offering spectacular views and is best known for having the best land-based whale watching in the world.  There are 45 luxury rooms and suites with views across Walker Bay or the over the beautifully manicured gardens and the Overberg Mountains. 

Photo: Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa

Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa

Knysna
Pezula has breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean, the Knysna Lagoon and the Outeniqua Mountains. The estate is known for its secluded beach and castle, championship golf course, and ancient indigenous forests where you can hike the nature trails. There are horse stables, tennis courts, facilities for archery and golf practice range.  Accommodation is in 83 suites of various sizes with private balconies or patios. The main building houses a spa and gym, gourmet restaurant, a boutique, executive boardrooms, business center, Champagne & Whisky Bar, Cigar Lounge, library and games room.

Photo: Phantom Forest

Phantom Forest

Knysna
Unfortunately, Phantom Forest is closed for the foreseeable future due to fires in July, 2017 that destroyed much of Knysna.  We are hopeful that the camp will be rebuilt and will update accordingly with information.

Photo: Kurland Hotel

Kurland Hotel

Plettenberg Bay
This picturesque 1,700-acre country estate features exquisite furnishings, family heirlooms and objects d’art from around the world. The historic rose gardens provide fragrant blooms virtually all year round. This is a favorite destination for weddings, honeymoons and family vacations. Family suites are tucked away from other guests and feature a loft  sleeping suite with up to four beds for the children. Experienced nannies can be arranged and children can enjoy activities in the playroom, or outside activities like pony rides. Kurland is synonymous with polo and the Kurland Shop is housed in the original stable buildings. There is a full-service spa and bicycles are available to explore the countryside. 

Photo: The Plettenberg

The Plettenberg

Plettenberg Bay
This 5-star Relais and Châteaux hotel sits on a rocky headland with breathtaking vistas of the Indian Ocean, Outeniqua Mountains, and miles of golden sand. From the hotel terraces, guests can watch dolphins and whales in the bay. There are 37 rooms and suites, two swimming pools, a health and beauty spa, and an award-winning wine cellar.

Photo: Tsala Treetop Lodge

Tsala Treetop Lodge

Plettenberg Bay
Tsala Treetop Lodge is a symphony of stone, wood, glass and water high above the floor of the magnificent indigenous forests of the Garden Route, between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Elevated wooden walkways meander through the trees to ten exclusive and very private suites, each with its own infinity pool.  There are six two-bedroom villas for families. Meals at Tsala are exquisitely presented in the glass walled dining room. 

Photo: Hunter's Country House

Hunter's Country House

Plettenberg Bay
Fragrant and colorful, the flourishing gardens create an idyllic setting for this luxurious retreat in the heart of the Garden Route. An old-world ambience permeates the thatched manor house with its antique-furnished lounges, candle-lit dining rooms and sun-drenched conservatory. Secluded within the gardens are luxurious cottages of various sized, individually designed and decorated for comfort and privacy.   

Johannesburg

Johannesburg is the major gateway for international travelers visiting Southern Africa. Those who are looking to spend a little time here while their body clock catches up will find excellent accommodations with spa services, exercise facilities and 24-hour dining. After a good night's rest, those wanting to experience some significant cultural offerings can arrange to see the Apartheid Museum, visit Soweto Township or a see a production at the Market Theatre. Shoppers will want to spend time in the suburbs of Sandton and Rosebank for African art and textiles.

Photo: Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa

Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa

Sandton
Fairlawns was once the private home of the current live-in owners, John and Anna Thaker. This hidden retreat features 40 suites, all individually designed to look out at some part of the gardens.  The suites have air-conditioning, in-room bars, wireless and broadband internet, international adaptors, flat screen TVs and DVD players. There is a gourmet restaurant (a member of the coveted Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Association),  large swimming pool, fitness center and a Balinese inspired spa with indoor and outdoor treatment areas. 

Photo: InterContinental Hotel

InterContinental Hotel at O.R. Tambo Airport

This luxury hotel is located within walking distance from O.R. Tambo International Airport and is a convenient choice for those staying for one night before leaving for their safari.  The spa offers massage facilities, steam rooms and a fully equipped gym. The signature restaurant, Quills, is first-class with an informal atmosphere, offering modern cuisine, from breakfast through to late night. An emphasis is placed on tranquility and an opportunity to restore and revitalize the mind and body before your onward travel.

Photo: D’oreale Grand Hotel

D’oreale Grand Hotel

This luxury hotel is located within walking distance from O.R. Tambo International Airport and is a convenient choice for those staying for one night before leaving for their safari.  The spa offers massage facilities, steam rooms and a fully equipped gym. The signature restaurant, Quills, is first-class with an informal atmosphere, offering modern cuisine, from breakfast through to late night. An emphasis is placed on tranquility and an opportunity to restore and revitalize the mind and body before your onward travel.

Photo: The Saxon Hotel

The Saxon Hotel

The Saxon redefines the ultimate in luxurious African elegance. The owner invited Nelson Mandela to stay at The Saxon after his release from prison. It was here South Africa's former president edited his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. Once an exclusive residence, the property now has 26 suites of various sizes, incorporating strong elements of African art, and overlooking either the tranquil gardens or the pool area.   The spa is first rate as is the restaurant, directed by Executive Chef David Higgs.

Photo: The Peech Boutique Hotel

The Peech Boutique Hotel

Melrose
A perfectly modern hideaway in the suburb of Melrose, The Peech prides itself on eco-chic attitude and design with a Fair Trade in Tourism certificate. Each of the sixteen bedrooms has view of the lush garden, offering a sense of natural tranquility not often found in Johannesburg.  The Bistro serves a seasonal menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner to hotel guests only. Other features include wine cellar & private dining room, an outdoor swimming pool, one acre garden, boardroom & library and complimentary Wi-Fi.  This owner-operated hotel also has a complimentary shuttle service to the nearby restaurants and shops. 

Photo: Melrose Arch Hotel

Melrose Arch Hotel

Melrose
The hotel is an anchor in Melrose Arch, a contemporary, mixed-use development featuring retail shops, fine restaurants and sidewalk cafes, public squares, commercial offices and urban living. The pedestrian friendly area is monitored by 24 hour security.  Dine at the March Restaurant, relax in leather couches at the Library Bar, view the people on the plaza from the Veranda or enjoy the Pool Bar where the tables sit in the shallow water alongside oversized metal buckets planted with trees.

Photo: The Four Seasons Westcliff

The Four Seasons Westcliff

Westcliff
An iconic hotel reborn, The Westcliff is now a new Four Seasons Hotel. The property sits  on a hillside with panoramic views across the gardens, courtyards and the city’s dense canopy of trees stretching off to the horizon.  Some guest rooms and suites overlook the neighboring Johannesburg Zoo, and lions can be heard roaring before sunrise.  There is a 24-hour fitness center, spa, heated lap pool and family pool.  Choose from five different dining options or enjoy 24-hour in-room dining.

The Residence - Houghton

This unique, one-of-a-kind boutique hotel in the historic suburb of Houghton was once three private residences.  There are a variety of  rooms and suites, several outdoor pools, tennis courts and lovely gardens.  Those coming off a long international flight can book a massage at the spa and relax in the many lounges.  Guests are invited to make themselves at home.  

Eastern Cape

This large province stretches from the end of the Garden Route at Plettenberg Bay east to Port Edward and north to the Lesotho border. Nelson Mandela was born here and much of South Africa’s history was forged here making it attractive to history buffs. There are private reserves offering Big 5 safaris here in this malaria-free region.

Photo: Shamwari

Shamwari

Shamwari Game Reserve
Shamwari offers luxury accommodation options in 6 different lodges on this 80-square mile managed reserve. Game viewing and birding are both excellent here and there are also a number of conservation education programs for guests – the Ian Player Rhino Awareness Center, the Born Free Foundation and Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.  Families with children can take advantage of the extensive “kids on safari” program.

                                                                                                                         

Photo: Gorah Elephant Camp

Gorah Elephant Camp

Addo Elephant Nation Park
Gorah is the only private concession and camp situated in the middle of the famous Addo Elephant National Park, home to the densest population of elephants on earth. The 11 tented suites are under thatched canopies and feature a décor recalling the golden era of safaris at the beginning of the 20th century.   Gorah and the surrounding area offer exciting activities, scenic drives, quaint towns and more stories of the intrepid travelers that made the Eastern Cape their home.

Photo: Addo Elephant Lodge

Addo Elephant Lodge

Addo Elephant National Park
The Addo Elephant Lodge accommodations are perfectly designed to blend discreetly into their surrounding valley bushveld environment. The private and exclusive suites, some nestled in the Yellowwood forest and others set on the hillside offering extraordinary views, are housed on elevated wooden decks. Elephant Back Safaris offer an exhilarating experience of riding these magnificent animals. Revel in the natural beauty of the environs and its wildlife from your lofty seat as these gentle giants amble through the African bush.

Photo: Great Fish River Lodge

Great Fish River Lodge

Kwande Private Game Reserve
More than 7,000 large mammals have been translocated to this privately owned reserve. The lodge sits along the banks of the Great Fish River after which it is named. The suites have been designed to take full advantage of the spectacular scenery with floor-to-ceiling framed glass doors which fold back to reveal wilderness views.   Suites have indoor and outdoor showers and private plunge pool on the deck so you can watch majestic kudu meander down to the river.

Photo: Ecca Lodge

Ecca Lodge

Kwande Private Game Reserve
This small, contemporary lodge is designed to be chic and laid-back, making it nice for families.  There is an interactive kitchen for mealtime fun and a play center for children which keeps little hands busy for hours.  There is a swimming pool for hot afternoons. There are only six suites and all have views over the valley.

Travel Information

When to go to South Africa
South Africa enjoys a pleasant climate and is on record as one of the sunniest places in the world.  Situated on between two oceans, the east and west coast weather can be quite different.  The Western Cape has a Mediterranean climate and receives most of its rain from June to August.  The rest of the country has more rainfall from October to March that usually comes in afternoon thunderstorms.   The warmest days are experienced from November to February when the average daytime temperatures reach the high 80s.  August to October is considered an excellent time for observing wildlife and the wildflowers in the Western and Northern Cape.  Southern Right whales can be observed from June to October. 

Passport & Visa
A valid passport is required to enter South Africa. Your passport must have at least two blank facing Visa pages. Blank Amendment pages will not suffice. Tourist visas are not required for stays of up to 90 days.
For further information: The Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in Washington, D.C.  & U.S. State Department

Traveling with Children
All children under the age of 18 traveling to or departing from South Africa are required to carry an original or certified copy of their birth certificate along with their passport.  Additional requirements are necessary in the event of a child traveling:
- With one parent
- With someone who is not their parent i.e. family member or friend
- With their adopted parents
- As an unaccompanied minor

Medical Information
Before traveling to Africa, please consult with your physician. As of February, 2015, South Africa no longer requires proof of yellow fever vaccination for travelers coming from Zambia or Tanzania.  Those who have been in transit through a yellow fever risk country (Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda) will be required to show proof of vaccination.  This applies to all travelers over one year of age (unless they have a valid waiver).  Depending on where you will be in the country, you may need a malaria prophylaxis.
For further information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-South Africa