South Africa in Style – Suggested 10 Nights Travel
South Africa’s motto is ―A World in One Country. Now, the motto ―A World Opened Up‖ would also be fitting. Long sequestered because of its politics, it is now gloriously unlocked. It is indeed a world in one country—and a new and hugely inviting one at that. Its stunning diversity of peoples, landscapes, flora, and fauna are unmatched by any other place on the planet. South Africa’s infrastructure is exceptional, offering a blend of sophistication and warm hospitality.
One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town is strategically situated at the south-western tip of Africa. When the world carried out its trade by boat, Cape Town was an important stopping-off point on the spice route to and from Asia. The city lies about 30 miles north of Cape Point, in a natural bowl with the magnificent Table Mountain to the rear and the vast Atlantic Ocean to the front.
Where to Stay
With a classically inspired exterior and graceful elegance within, the Cape Grace Hotel offers the ultimate experience for discerning travellers. Set on its own private quay in the vibrant Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, the hotel’s charm lies in its intimate atmosphere, stylish décor and personalised hospitality. You will find the staff warm and flexible with a spirit of unrivalled generosity. All 122 rooms have harbour or mountain views. The Cape Grace is centrally located with quick and easy access to the airport, city center and popular tourist destinations. The African-influenced Spa is exclusive to hotel guests. It is located on the top floor of the hotel, commanding panoramas of Table Mountain, the city and the yacht marina.
What to do
A private guide and vehicle will be at your disposal for your first two full days in Cape Town, allowing you to maximize your time here. Visits will be made to key points of interest such as the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, the famous Cape of Good Hope, Boulders Beach penguin colony, the Cape wine region and the summit of Table Mountain. Your final day will be at leisure; you may wish to visit Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years), play some golf, browse Cape Town’s eclectic shops and galleries or soak up the sun on Camps Bay beach.
One of the world’s great train journeys, the route from Cape Town to Pretoria traverses South Africa’s varied landscape combined with all the luxury and comfort of a five-star hotel.
The Blue Train has an aura of mystique about it. Kings and presidents have travelled on this magnificent moving five-star hotel. Its very name has become synonymous with the ultimate in luxury and personal service. The routes of the Blue Train take guests through some of the most breathtaking countryside to be found anywhere in the world. As the ever-changing scenery flashes past the windows, guests can savor exquisite meals freshly prepared on board by top chefs. Meals are complemented by the best wines South Africa has to offer. The suites on the Blue Train live up to its reputation for magnificence and splendor. The finest bed linen, marble tiles and gold fittings in the bathrooms and sheer opulence all ensure that guests will never forget this experience.
En route to Pretoria, there is a stop at the village of Matjiesfontein for an off-the-train excursion. The Victorian buildings and original nineteenth century London lampposts impart to the traveler the uncanny sense of entering a colonial time warp – an oasis suspended in a different age.
Although it is quite close to Johannesburg, Pretoria has a totally different feel to South Africa’s commercial capital. Avenues of purple-flowered jacaranda trees are wide enough to allow a team of oxen pulling a cart to turn in them. Such wagons belonged to the large numbers of voortrekkers (pioneers) who arrived here in the 1850s. Sculptures and monuments attest to Afrikaner history, and great care has been taken to preserve the fine architecture in the city center such as Church Square. Overlooking the whole of the city from a hilltop are the magnificent Union Buildings (designed by Sir Herbert Baker and built in golden stone with Italian tiled roofs, a Romanesque amphitheatre and African sculptures).
Where to Stay
Clico Guest House is an engaging mix of old and new – from the original Oregon pine floorboards and antique Moroccan side tables to custom-made, comfortable couches and modern, whimsical sculptures. The luxurious rooms are individually furnished in warm, earthy browns, creams and soft greens while the bathrooms are luxuriously appointed, from the designer taps to the light fittings which double as heaters. The modern décor complements the old-fashioned house, gently juxtaposing old and new in a manner guests will find relaxing and familiar. The restaurant’s fine French cuisine adds another element to Clico’s appeal.
The types of housing in Soweto range from shacks to large mansions and there is one street where you can find the houses of two Nobel Peace Prize winners; Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Also located in Soweto is Baragwanath Hospital, thought to be the largest hospital in the Southern hemisphere. Despite this, almost 85% of the local residents still consult traditional healers, who concoct medicines in their age-old tradition. Soweto tours are, for good reason, the single most popular tourist attraction in the city of Johannesburg. Although the township’s historical buildings are visually unimpressive, they afford the visitor historical insights into a way of life far removed from the realities of most Westerners.
What to do
Visit the fascinating Apartheid Museum a multi-disciplinary team of curators, filmmakers, historians, museologists and designers was assembled to develop the exhibition narrative which sets out – by means of large, blown-up photographs, artefacts, newspaper clippings and some extraordinary film footage – to graphically animate the apartheid story.
Sabi Sabi Game Reserve
The Sabi Sabi Game Reserve is one of the premier game viewing areas in Africa. Globally renowned for its diversity and concentration of big game, the reserve features broad, open savannah interspersed with acacia thornveld, rocky outcrops and riverine forest. Wildlife viewing is second to none including leopard (the most elusive of predators), elephant, lion, rhino, Cape buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra and a vast variety of antelope and other species.
Where to stay
Nestling in the shade of indigenous riverine trees on the banks of the Msuthlu river lies Little Bush Camp. Six luxury suites, each with a private viewing deck and heated spa bath overlooking the riverbed, are decorated in contemporary African design, complete with luxury furnishings, full bathroom en-suite, indoor and outdoor showers and air-conditioning. Thatched roofs, romantic mosquito nets draped over the comfortable beds and beautiful wooden finishes complete the picture of an exclusive safari getaway.
Delicious dinners eaten outside under gently lit trees are a wonderful experience loved by all. This jewel of the South African bushveld boasts all of the features associated with an exceptional safari lodge – beautiful setting, excellent cuisine and abundant wildlife. Little Bush Camp offers not only luxurious creature comforts, but a host of adventures as well. Tracking Africa’s big game including the Big Five in open vehicles by day and at night accompanied by qualified game rangers and Shangaan trackers, and going off road for exceptional close wildlife encounters, make for a truly memorable experience.
What to do
For the real African experience, nothing compares to the exhilaration of a game drive through the bush in an open-topped Land Rover. Tracking the often-beautiful, sometimes-rare wildlife is exciting, but never more so than when it is one of the elusive Big Five (leopard, lion, Cape buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros). They share the ragged bushveld with cheetah, hyena, wild dog, zebra, wildebeest, baboon and antelope, in a primordial alliance that captures the heart of Africa. Each morning and evening you will depart into the wilderness, either by open Land Rover or on foot for a walking safari, accompanied by your armed and knowledgeable game ranger and Shangaan tracker. Close enough to share in a thrilling encounter with Africa’s beautiful wild creatures.