Our Favourite South African Hiking Trails

South Africa is a top safari and tourist destination for many reasons: the great weather, beautiful landscapes, plethora of activities and the breath-taking hiking trails for the avid hiker to the less enthusiastic walker who is simply looking for a great backdrop. 

Each one of South Africa’s trails beckons travellers with unimaginable vistas; from seaside mountain tops to in-land reserves and magical forest trails. At least one of these picturesque paths will satisfy even the most insatiable nature-enthusiast. 

Most safaris let you explore by vehicle or even horseback – but what better way than by foot. Brush up against rugged mountain or unspoiled wilderness on your next trip! We’ve put together our top 10 hiking trails with a little bit of ocean breeze, wildlife sightings and forest thickets for you here: 

Lions Head – One of the best places to see the sunrise and sunset. 

Hennops Trail Just 40 minutes from Johannesburg is the beautiful Hennops Trail that has streams along the way. There are two main hikes that takes you along hills with beautiful views. Cool off in the swimming pool after. 

Table Mountain’s Three Peaks – For the more avid, hard-core adventurists, this 9-hour hike will have you breaking a sweat. Starting at Devil’s Peak, move along the saddle up to Maclear’s Beacon, then down Kloof Corner to Lion’s Peak. If you aren’t scared of heights, then it’s hard to imagine a more exciting hike. 

Addo National Park – there are two hikes, one-day trails and a two-day hike along the coast. Both are beautiful and memorable. 

Tsitsikamma Hiking Trail – This coastal trail is a magical secret of the garden route. Cross various ridges and rivers and covers 64 kilometres before reaching Storms River Bridge.

The Otter Trail –  The Otter Trail is one of South Africa’s most famous hikes, and takes you through coastal forest, river crossings, and breathtaking viewpoints. Bookings open a year in advance – and sell out quickly. 

Hole in the Wall Hiking Trail – The Eastern Cape boasts a 31 kilometre distinctly memorable hiking experience that covers a combination of estuaries, mangrove swamps and seaside cliffs. The Wild Coast’s luxury trail can be completed over three days and is a bucket-list activity for all seaside lovers. 

Olifantsbos Shipwrecks hiking Trail – This is one of the Western Cape’s easier routes that cover a 5-kilometre distance. The short and sweet trail costs R110 and takes you through the Cape Point Nature Reserve.

Magiebaskloof Hiking Trail – This moderate trail is a beautiful way of seeing Limpopo’s ravines and sub-tropical forests. The full trail is almost 60 kilometres but shorter routes are optional. Forget the outside world under the canopy of trees and prepare for some light rain. 

Dolphin Hiking Trail – This easy 17 kilometre is another wonderful luxury three-night hike based on full board. It’s less daunting than the famous Otter Trail but still takes you to the Storms River Bridge and many other striking landmarks along the route. Perhaps you will even see some dolphins along the way. 

 

If you’ve undertaken one of these trails, or dream of trying one soon – we hope this helps you with your hiking bucket list.

John’s Trip to Franschhoek – Tips & Highlights

As a wine enthusiast himself, our director, John Holley recently visited South Africa’s most visited wine valley – Franschhoek. He and his family spent time at Leeu Estate, Waterford Estate, Delaire Graff and many other heavenly spots.

After a delightful few days spent in this quaint village John has shared some of his exquisite pictures with us and penned some highlights and tips for you below. Make sure you make note of these for your next trip to Franschhoek!

Travel Tips:

  • La Cotte Farm

La Cotte Farm is uniquely situated a stone’s throw from the charming village of Franschhoek. “Both the farmhouse and little cottages are fantastic options and an easy stroll to town.”

  • Leeu Estate

“Leeu Estates is a phenomenal experience! It boasts one of the best gardens and has incredible statues on display. I love that they are pushing South African art.”

Start your day with a tasting on the estate and then stroll into the gardens and enjoy a relaxed afternoon picnic. It’s a sensational experience! The Leeu Estates picnic is a must if you have time in Franschhoek and must be booked 48 hours in advance.”

“The estate is really exceptional and your stay will be magical.”

  • Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff Cellar has been making world-class wines since 2008. The flagship Cabernet Franc is the estate’s bestseller and a must-taste. Delaire Restaurant has a world-class team of gifted chefs and sommeliers to take you on a culinary joyride. Savour the food as each plate is served with the utmost care and teeming with fresh ingredients, picked daily from the farms very own vegetable garden.

“This winery really does boast the best views of the Franschhoek valley and will no doubt leave you wishing you could stay longer!”

  • Safari Waterford Estate

Taste a bottle of Kevin Arnold Shiraz, planted on the rockiest sandstone slopes of Waterford Estate. This complex array of red and dark fruit flavours pairs well with lean red meats. Or book a wine drive safari, which takes you through the 120-hectare Estate on the beautiful slopes of the Helderberg Mountain by a safari-type vehicle. This unique 3-hour trip allows the chance to taste award-winning Estate wines amongst the vineyards of their origin, and you will be expertly guided through all the aspects of what makes this area so biologically diverse and viticulturally unique.

“I cannot recommend the Waterford Wine Safari highly enough. The owner and wine maker Kevin Arnold is a good friend. They take a drive in an open “safari” vehicle around the estate and try the wines in the fields at the actual vines at lovely settings. It’s unique and magical. Anyone doing a day tour or time in the winelands HAS to do the Waterford Wine Safari. This is beautifully complimented by their wine and chocolate tasting! Just brilliant! Their wine is also some of the best in the Winelands and really should be tasted.”

A few more tips:

  • If you’re visiting the winelands during peak season, make your dinner reservations 6 months in advance as getting into restaurants can be tricky!
  • Visit Big Dog Café for the best coffee in Franschhoek and a delicious piece of cake too!
  • If you’re on a romantic getaway, or simply have a weakness for beautiful sunsets, visit Dieu Donne- whose wine tasting setup is phenomenal or Franschhoek Pass Winery. Both have lovely Cap Classiques – perfect for that crimson sunset!
  • Le Lude also have a great Cap Classique.
  • Add Babylonstoren to your must-visit list! The gardens are exquisite and they have a fantastic Chardonnay.
  • Take in everything the Franschhoek has to offer, from five-star accommodation, delectable food and great wine to the magical red-orange sunsets and the wonderful people.

Scroll down and let John’s pictures transport you to the picturesque Franschhoek Valley even for a few brief moments. For more on Franschhoek and the Cape Winelands click here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Le Quartier Francais in Pictures

Less than an hour from Cape Town International, is the beautiful town of Franschhoek, also known as the “food and wine capital of South Africa”. Here is it’s most central, hidden gem – Le Quartier Français. Winner of TripAdvisor Certificate Of Excellence and TripAdvisor 2015 Hall of Fame, this property is a definite sensory exploration, set in the heart of the Valley with its unmatchable tranquillity.


Central Sophistication

Cape Provençal meets French Chic as the angelic architecture stands tall above the vibrant rose, daisy and lavender bushes. White verandas draped with “broekie” lace and actual streetlamps light up the cobbled paths providing the feeling of a time gone by. From either the terracotta tiled, Victorian courtyard or the lovely Mediterranean pool you are spoilt by sensational views of the Franschhoek Mountains. The secret garden feel is enhanced by the exquisite rabbit statues, soft sputtering fountains and big bright cushions dotted around the lawn.

Awesome Accommodation

Complete with 21 suites of four categories, from the more modest Auberge Rooms to the four state-of-the-art “Four Quarters” suites, this luxury treasure has something for everyone. Each bespoke suite is fully equipped for only the most lavish of stays, extra-large beds fitted with the best linen and popping colours release a great energy and vibe. Upstairs suites offer furnished rooftop balconies and downstairs suites offer spacious patios or gardens. On arrival to your room you are welcomed by a thoughtful handwritten note and a chilled bottle of Miss Molly champagne. With a 24 hour reception, complimentary bar and shuttle service in the area you are fully equipped to have a luxuriously great time!

Topping the Tops with Food

We have left the best for last, a best that has won so many international awards… there are in fact too many to mention. Introducing, “The Tasting Room” a world-class culinary extravaganza like you have never experienced before. Highly acclaimed chef, Margot Janse is excellent at having fun with her profession, her unique 8 course, contemporary African inspired tasting menu promises only to astonish and amaze. On entering, you are immediately transported, the blues, teals and reds wash over you and you are drawn to the statement rope installation of Table Mountain. Brutal simplicity, each place is set with only a small black plate and a glass retaining the air of mystery for as long as possible. You will feel as though you have a relationship with each dish as they are so unexpected and inviting packed with stimulating flavour and texture combinations.

For foodies and wanderers who want to experience the breath-taking Franschhoek village, you don’t have to wait! Take a look at our hand-picked images of this exquisite destination to begin this relaxing retreat and culinary extravaganza…

 

Golfing in South Africa on Your Next Safari

Longstanding as a top safari destination, South Africa boasts exceptional weather and offers magnificent golf courses set in beautiful scenery, doubling it as a golfer’s paradise.  South Africa gives travellers the gift of options – incorporating a golf tour into any well-deserved holiday, romantic trip or family vacation.

Choose from the breath-taking Cape Town or the City of Gold – the perfect start with brilliant shopping for the non-golfers. Or perhaps the appeal of a seaside setting will lure travellers to the Garden Route or for another life-changing bush experience to the world-famous Kruger National Park. Those familiar with South Africa will understand the phenomenal natural beauty of the surroundings that will form the backdrop for your next tee-off.

 

Here are our top three reasons to add golf to your next safari:

Wide Variety of Championship Courses

South Africa is home to more than 500 golf courses – many of which are championship courses. A lot of South African gold courses have been designed by international designers or have the patriotic stamp of resident golfing legends.

Spectacular Settings

South Africa is one of the top countries with many diverse golf course settings. You can tee off inland or near the sea; from a clifftop at Pinnacle Point; or within view of some big game near or in the Kruger National Park, where it is common for wildlife to wander onto the course.

Additional Activities

While your vacation may focus on having an exceptional golfing experience, you will still be able to incorporate traditional highlights such as a Big Five safari or visiting world-renowned tourist attractions, ensuring your visit to South Africa is unforgettable.

Here are our top four golf destinations in South Africa:

Cape Town

The Western Cape is blessed with magnificent mountain ranges and bordered by coastal settings. This creates picturesque sceneries for impeccably maintained courses such as Erinvale Golf Club in Somerset West and Steenberg Golf Club near the Tokai Forest designed by golf-legends, Gary Player and Peter Matkovich.

While you’re in Cape Town, you can stay at one of our beautiful city residences or countryside homes-away-from-home.

Garden Route

The Garden Route offers a distinct climate specific to that area. Combine moderate temperatures with the surrounding greenery and golden beaches and you have yourself a bucket-list destination! This area has a number of beautiful golf courses and at least four of the top ten golf courses in South Africa are located here. Two of our favourite courses include Fancourt and Pezula. The area also offers a treasure of other fun activities for non-golfers and families.

Gauteng

While not as scenic as other parts of South Africa, Gauteng does offer exceptional quality golf courses. Some of the top courses in Gauteng have hosted various competitions, including the South African Open and the PGA Championship. Try a round of golf at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.

Distance from Johannesburg to the Kruger National Park: +- 4 hours by vehicle.

Kruger Park

The Kruger National Park has a range of pristine golf courses bordering the park or nearby in the Lowveld region. This is one of the only areas in South Africa where golf is best enjoyed during the dry autumn and winter months. Often ranked as South Africa’s best golf course, Leopard Creek should be on top of your golfing to-do list.

Here are is a list of our top accommodation in the Kruger National Park.

Add a round of golf – or two – to the itinerary on your next South African vacation. South Africa is the perfect family getaway and your golfing experience will be enriched by the possibility of combining it with the ultimate luxury safari. In between rounds of golf, see the legendary Big Five, do a Cape Winelands wine tour or simply relax on the beach.

 

 

Birkenhead House – In Pictures

Ninety minutes from Cape Town awaits another Liz Biden masterpiece. No trip to the Mother City is complete without a visit to one of the Cape’s treasures, the coastal town of Hermanus. Hermanus offers beauty, history and charm, with authentic African markets, unusual boutiques, galleries and the Old Harbour Museum. The exceptional Birkenhead House is right on top of the reasons to visit and stay in this dreamy seaside village. Stroll on the cliff-top walkways and breathe in the soothing Indian Ocean air while the whales frolic in the bay below and the gulls swoop on the updrafts.

If you want to live like royalty with the comforts of home, this property immediately comes to mind.

This home-away-from-home is perched on a cliff overlooking magnificent Walker Bay. The bay is fringed with pristine white sand beaches and secluded coves while in the water surfers carve the waves and, for several months of the year, hundreds of southern right whales call the waters of the bay home.

Birkenhead House offers 11 individually appointed suites of sumptuous grandeur, lounges of sophisticated home living, a double-level pool, sheltered courtyards and a spa with its breath-taking sea view!  The 11 suites are all individually appointed with exquisite combinations of furniture and art. The bedrooms are fitted with pieces ranging from antique four-poster king and queen size beds, to glamourous red armchairs, original paintings, gilded headboards, leather desks and even a two-seater love couch. Every suite has a panoramic view of Walker Bay, the whales breaching out to sea, or the epic mountains of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve – and sometimes both. The large bathrooms boast freestanding Victorian baths, sunken marble tubs, spacious vanity areas and elegant showers.

This is the very designation of luxury at the tip of the continent, where awe-inspiring nature, gourmet Cape cuisine; exceptional service and ultimate indulgence meet in glorious harmony on the edge of Africa.

And where else will you find gourmet meals that look as beautiful as your hotel?

Meals are a gourmet fusion of African, Cape and French cuisine with touches of Asia and Italy. There is an emphasis on fresh local seafood – crayfish, mussels, red roman and Kabeljou are some of the delicious regular features. Hearty and exotic soups are a comfort and delight – especially in the winter. The Birkenhead chef’s enchantments can be enjoyed in the seclusion of your suite, in a sheltered spot on the manicured grounds overlooking the sea or in the opulent glass-fronted dining room with the ocean stretching to the horizon.

Every detail of your stay at Birkenhead House is beautiful and tastefully done – in more ways than one. Here are our top pictures to get your taste buds watering:

 

Where to Safari – East or Southern Africa?

The idea of a safari was conceived in East Africa, but soon reached Southern Africa where luxury safaris became popular. Today both parts of the continent offer state-of-the-art designed lodges and camps, unparalleled game viewing and bucket-list worthy activities. But with so many countries to choose from, it’s not surprising that one would find it difficult deciding where to go – especially if it’s your first safari. Here’s what makes each region a unique and memorable safari destination:

East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda

East Africa is synonymous with the incomparable Mara-Serengeti triangle and the indigenous ecosystems that fall part of these areas. If you want to experience the seasonal Great Migration between Kenya and Tanzania, then an East Africa safari should be right on top of your travel-list! The seasonal rain patterns are nothing short of awe-inspiring, supporting over a million wildebeest and other game. East Africa, like other parts of the continent, boasts diverse habitats from lush, green forests to aquatic bodies that see large flocks of flamingos, baobab forests, and gorilla families. Not forgetting Mount Kilimanjaro and the famous Ngorongoro Crater where you will find incredible lodges that offer panoramic views. East Africa has many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks with vehicle trails, ensuring exceptional game viewing at a close range. Unlike Southern Africa’s reserves and parks, off-road and night-drives are less likely unless you are visiting a private concession. However, you can look forward to life-changing bush walks with Maasai locals who will show you the area on foot.

 

What you can expect from a safari in East Africa:

  • Massive herds of wildebeest and zebra
  • Two dry seasons: January to March and June to October
  • Great for family safaris as most accommodations allow young children; there are fewer internal flights and the interactive game drives keep kids interested
  • All of our safari guides and spotters are exceptionally trained and experienced professionals
  • Enjoy overland expeditions in 4-wheel-drive vehicles with English-speaking guides
  • Hot air balloon safaris over the Mara plains
  • Gorilla trekking in Rwanda
  • Fun walking safaris in some private reserves
  • Numerous cultural encounters with local tribes

Angama Mara East Africa Kenya Safari Tour

Click on the links below to see our top accommodation in East Africa:

Kenya– Great Migration, Maasai warriors, pink flamingos, Giraffe Manor, hot air balloon safaris.

Mozambique– Snorkelling, diving and untouched coral reefs.

Tanzania– Great Migration, Mt Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and Tarangire National Park, hot air balloon safaris.

Rwanda– Gorilla trekking, golden monkeys, chimpanzees and canopy walks.

Gorilla Treks Rwanda Uganda Iconic Africa

Southern Africa: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe,

Southern Africa has an array of different geographical features and weather conditions. You can tailor-make your safari to include the Kruger’s savannah grasslands, Zambia’ s woodlands, Zimbabwe’s thundering Victoria Falls, the dry desert of the Kalahari or the Okavango Delta’s heavy rains. Or combine the rugged mountains and luscious winelands with beautiful golden beaches and the bustling city life of Cape Town. You can have it all in one Southern Africa trip!

Lions Sands Ivory Lodge Iconic Africa Luxury Safaris

Guests look forward to low -volumes of people and smaller camps or lodges that often only accommodate up to a dozen people at a time. With the abundance of private concessions, you can create a more exclusive and personalised safari.

Contrary to East Africa’s vast open landscapes found in the Serengeti or Mara region and high concentration of wildlife, Southern Africa focuses more on personal encounters and walking safaris which can be done in Botswana and Zambia. You will also have the chance for exciting night game drives to spot elusive nocturnal animals, charming water safaris and nights out under the stars. While cultural experiences are limited unlike the many found in East Africa, you can plan a visit to the San Bushman of the Kalahari which is equally as rewarding.

What you can expect from a safari in Southern Africa:

  • Varied topography and habitats
  • Smaller concentration of herds in private concessions
  • One dry season: May to October
  • South Africa is great for family safaris with some lodges and camps located in malaria-free areas
  • Many camps outside of South Africa require minimum age of eight years old, unless you reserve the entire camp
  • All of our safari guides and spotters are exceptionally trained and experienced professionals
  • Enjoy overland expeditions in 4-wheel-drive vehicles
  • Choose from many small, remote and exclusive private camps with limited guests of 8-12
  • Guides usually share meals with guests at small lodges/camps developing close relations
  • More private concessions with fewer tourists which makes for great wildlife viewing
  • Wider variety of safaris activities such as walking safaris, mokoro tours, night drives, hot air ballooning, kayaking and food safaris

Click on the links below to see our top accommodations in Southern Africa:

Botswana–, Madikwe Game Reserve, Mokoro trips in the Okavango Delta, Big 5 safaris, hot air balloon safaris, boating trips.

South AfricaKruger National Park, Table Mountain, Cape Winelands, Big Five safaris, marine safaris, hot air balloon safaris, Garden Route.

Zambia– Trekking, Lake Malawi, adventure activities in Victoria Falls, Devils Pool, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, village tours, safaris in South Luangwa.

Zimbabwe– Adventure activities in Victoria Falls, Mana Pools, Batoka Gorge.

Both East and Southern Africa offer amazing opportunities to spot the Big 5 wildlife, amongst other game and indigenous fauna and flora. Each region has its own unique wildlife and landscape attractions, but East Africa definitely has a higher density of animals in one area – especially considering the Great Migration and gorillas. Needless to say you will see plenty of cool animals in both parts of the continent and Southern Africa will entice you with its diverse topography in a single city such as Cape Town. So which is better for safari? Whether you’re interested in seeing tens of lions on your first day or basking in opulence at small, private lodges with low visitor concentration, you can’t go wrong with either choice.

A Babymoon Safari for Expecting Parents

For some expecting parents, one of the priorities on the to-do list is planning the ultimate babymoon before the stalk arrives. For some it’s a relaxing weekend getaway and others are ready for a long-haul flight and an action-packed two-week stay in the bush.

This is your chance to unwind properly and enjoy each other’s company undisturbed. Whether it’s a quick trip or an extensive vacation, you could expect to indulge in couple’s massages, gourmet dinners, theatre performances, art galleries, outdoor yoga and not forgetting a memorable game drive that will leave you wanting to return with your little one.

 

Create a babymoon bucket-list filled with all the activities that won’t be as easy when two becomes three such as turning up the romance in a luxurious honeymoon-worthy villa overlooking a waterhole or lodges that don’t accommodate under 12’s/young rangers.

 

We’re here to help you plan that final romantic hoorah. If you’re ready to hop on a plane, South Africa is the ideal destination for a pre-baby escape because of its malaria-free game reserves and access to great medical care (just in case). And if you or your better- half are incapable of sitting on a lounger for more than a couple of hours, we’ve incorporated a little bit of adventure for you too…

The best time to experience an unforgettable safari in South Africa is September, when spring is in full force in the Western Cape. You’ll have clear blue skies and temperatures in the early 20s – perfect for exploring and relaxing in the sun.

Begin your babymoon exploring Cape Town where you will find a great balance between fun activities and sophisticated pleasures. This city has everything to offer you, from mocktails on glistening beaches and an incredible city-life to countryside day-trips and time to relax by the pool – which is pretty essential when you’re pregnant. Not only does Cape Town house many great tourist attractions such as Table Mountain and Robben Island , you are centrally located to great smaller towns that are only an hour and a half drive away such as the coastal town of Hermanus and the French-inspired Franschhoek.

Move on to a luxury safari in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve where there is phenomenal game-viewing.  Just 3.5 hours north of Johannesburg and bordering Botswana near Gaborone, this 75 000 hectare reserve is one of South Africa’s largest and finest game reserves. Madikwe Private Game Reserve has become world famous for its Lion and African Wild Dog viewing. The exclusive Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe Hills and Jamala Madikwe are equally famous for their bespoke romantic experiences and have become synonymous with luxury and attention to detail. Here you are ensured a romantic, lavish safari retreat.

You can also add the beautiful Kalahari to your itinerary. Located just south of Botswana’s border, it’s the largest private game reserve in South Africa, yet only allowing 30 guests at a time within its borders. Tswalu Kalahari’s lodges were named together as one of National Geographic’s 24 Unique Lodges of the World!

A new baby brings with it great changes and joy for new parents! Soak up these romantic moments with a luxury babymoon safari.  You know what you seek, whether it’s pristine beaches or a brush with the Big Five, our team is here to help you take advantage of the small pleasures.

Iconic Africa’s Ultimate 2019 Bucket-List

2018 took us to some breathtaking destinations so choosing our favourites for you has not been easy. We hope this inspires you to start planning your once-in-a-lifetime safari, African romance or island getaway! From heaven in the tropics to awe-inspiring wildlife experiences, unforgettable adventures and cultural immersions, it all starts here, now.  Click on the link below to scroll through our top destinations for 2019! The magic of Africa awaits you…

Iconic Africa Bucket List 2019

For any questions or queries please contact us here. 

In Pictures – La Petit Ferme

You don’t need to travel far to escape the city lights, noise and life’s distractions. Just 50 miles from Cape Town lies a haven of sophisticated homeliness. Midway up the Franschhoek Mountain pass is every country-lovers dream destination!

La Petite Ferme is more than just ‘a small farm’… it’s a spectacular restaurant that offers mouth-watering cuisine; a winery offering first-class Sauvignon Blanc; a luxury hotel and so much more.

Set on the slopes of the Middagkrans Mountains, this hotel has the perfect viewing spot under the lofty gums, above the Franschhoek vineyards and overlooking infinite green lawns and white benches. Whether you are just dining out or staying in the luxurious suites –here the world stops around you.

Look down onto a quiet village while eating the most delicious food paired with world-celebrated wine cultivated from the finest grapes that thrive in the valley’s ripe soil and perfect climatic conditions. La Petite Ferme Winery is intimate and welcoming showcasing only conscientious and hand-crafted methods.

And while La Petite Ferme reawakens your senses with quietude, food, wine and views of the entire Franschhoek Valley in all its glory, this elegantly rustic boutique hotel has a setting like no other that is best described with pictures!

It radiates authenticity with its rustic character but remains luxuriously lavish at the same time. There is nothing more intimate and tranquil than limited rooms with boundless views of nature. With only 15 rooms spread out amongst the vines, you are provided total privacy. Winding paths link each suite with the vineyards, restaurant and garden ensuring a wonderful sense of space and entitlement for guests.

Each suite reflects the countryside with a stylish combination of wood, wicker and neutral colours. Raw roof beams and unpretentious wooden floors give a foundation of comfort contrasting with the luxury trimmings that each room displays. The suites integrate the outside beauty and fresh air with the interior, ensuring a soothing sense of space. Should you wish to take a day relaxing by your very own pool perhaps order a bottle of wine and a cheese platter and sample the best the valley has the offer.

Here are our hand-picked images for you to get you excited:

If you’d like to investigate this exquisite property further please contact us here.

 

The Romantic Getaway of a Lifetime

Africa is synonymous with an old-world charm and romance; where passion is created or rekindled. There is something dreamy and intoxicating about adventurous escapades in Africa’s wilderness, whether on safari or relaxing away from all the distractions of this world. What better way to show your better half how special they are than under the warm sun and blue skies, with endless beaches, breath-taking sceneries and excellent cuisines?

We have infused all of this into one unmistakable Royal Romance Package and have combined the beauty, wilderness, adventure and pioneering excitement of Africa with four destinations that define supreme luxury permeated with complete privacy and opulent romance.

Royal Malewane

There’s no way you can get it wrong this Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re planning a romantic gesture or celebrating a special anniversary, we have you sorted! Three luxury accommodations in exotic settings will have your partner swooning – book a relaxing spa treatment in the great outdoors or plan a candle-lit dinner under the stars…

Be seduced by the perfect itinerary that will inspire your wanderlust and spoil you and your partner rotten:

Africa’s Southern Africa Luxury Romance Package is a grand tour of this inspirational region at the bottom continent. From cosmopolitan Cape Town to the timeless winelands of Franschhoek, the Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls – we offer you the most luxury and that Africa has to offer. Ellerman House is the definition of modern sophisticated living on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the marvels of Cape Town all around. La Residence is the jewel of Franschhoek – abject indulgence suspended in an impossibly beautiful valley of vineyards. Royal Malewane is impeccably tasteful grandeur surrounded by the majesty of the African wilderness. Royal Chundu is the ancient mystery and magic of the Zambezi in luxurious island seclusion.

THE ROYAL ROMANCE TOURS & SAFARIS ITINERARY

DAY 1-4: EDWARDIAN PASSION, LUXURIOUS EXTRAVAGANCE

Ellerman House is a sumptuous Edwardian mansion resting on Lion’s Head Mountain, above the ultramarine waters of the Atlantic Ocean. No expense has been spared; it truly is a Relais & Chateaux haven of unparalleled luxury. Ellerman House boasts arguably Africa’s greatest art collection as well as a world-class wine selection and cellar. Cape Town’s endless sights, activities and beauty will keep you enthralled.

DAY 4-6: AFRICA’S MAJESTIC WINELANDS

Nestled in the vineyards and plum orchards of Franschhoek, La Residence is the most gorgeous boutique hotel in the most picturesque valley in South Africa. The hotel is infused with colour, fabulous antiques, luxurious finishes and vaulted ceilings from which Indian chandeliers twinkle. The little village of Franschhoek is the undisputed culinary capital of South Africa and boasts great exceptional wine and delicious food. Here you really have the best of both worlds: an unmatched view combined with the pleasures of being in a hotel.

DAY 6-9: AFRICA’S WILD ROMANCE

At Royal Malewane, a private concession bordering the world-famous Kruger National Park the Biden’s Royal Portfolio has achieved perfection again. A marvel of wilderness, romance and seclusion blends seamlessly into this ancient land. It is by far the most private and romantic accommodation in the concession with the best views.

Enjoy gourmet, starlit dinners under the giant Leadwood trees or step foot in The Royal Malewane Spa – world-renowned and the ideal way to unwind with a uniquely healing African treatment.

Royal Malewane’s guides and trackers are some of the most highly qualified in Southern Africa.

DAY 9-11: THE ROYAL VICTORIA FALLS RETREAT

Royal Chundu is Zambia’s first Relais & Chateaux property – defined by sumptuous luxury that blends seamlessly into the private stretch of the Zambezi River Bank. Island Lodge is set on its own private island in the languid waters of the Zambezi, offering just four exclusive and indulgent villas that will make your heart soar. Each palatial haven boasts a private deck suspended over the river. A little down river from Royal Chundu, the Zambezi falls over the Victoria Falls to create one of the greatest demonstrations of nature’s power on planet earth.

For a selection of our other Tours and Safaris please click here. 

Stargazing in Southern Africa

We all love catching flights, meeting new people and seeing new places; but have you ever thought that maybe there was a different, perhaps better form of travel? Once in a while we should all move beyond the urban noise and light pollution and look up – you’ll be surprised what you can see! From here you will embark on a spectacular journey, going through space and time. It doesn’t matter whether you’re only spotting little speckles up above or simply looking at moon craters… what you’ll find will be equally intoxicating, and even sentimental.

Many travellers may associate South Africa’s little treasures with the Big Five, pristine private coves and great food. But travel beyond the city lights and just two hours later, in one of the semi-remote areas that’s free of air and noise pollution you will have no distractions from what’s twinkling in the sky.

Despite frozen toes and cold noses, winter evenings are our particularly favourite time to discover the artistic blotchy sky.

Next time you’re visiting, take a moment to look up – whether you’re looking to find the brightest star, Earth’s closest neighbouring galaxy or just want to see a brightly-lit sky with the naked eye or a giant telescope, here are our top five locations where stargazing conditions couldn’t be better to see scattered diamonds:

  1. Madikwe Game Reserve

If you’ve been to the North West Province, you’ll know that there’s very little availability in the reserve at one time. While this is primarily perfect for those seeking privacy, it is also the perfect location for some stargazing. Easily spotted star formations include the Southern Cross and the Milky Way. And if you want a closer look, Royal Madikwe allows guests to use their telescope.

  1. Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is synonymous with iconic game-viewing – South Africa’s favourite travel destination and the second-largest park in Africa.  This unpolluted expanse of sky is perfect to see celestial constellations with the naked eye. So while you’re out on one of your night drives, glance up at the star-studded skies.

  1. Maropeng, Cradle of Humankind

Just two hours from Johannesburg is Maropeng, the visitor centre of the Cradle of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although it is considerable close to the bright lights of the city, it is still a great stargazing location. So you don’t have to travel far to go on a celestial safari! And the next time you layover in Johannesburg, be sure to include stargazing to your to-do-list.  Maropeng has regular overseen stargazing sessions presented by astronomer, Vincent Nettmann.

  1. Sutherland

Sutherland holds the southern hemisphere’s largest telescope and offers extraordinary views of the Milky Way. This small Karoo town is on every list of prime stargazing locations. The dry climate and cloud-free nights means unparalleled observations 80% of the year.

  1. The Cederberg

Just two hours from Cape Town and protected from light pollution, the Cederberg is a haven for professional and amateur stargazers. Guides will show you how to trace over constellations with a powerful emerald laser so you’ll always remember where to find them.

The Celestial Big Five

Did you know that the African sky has its own big five? They are the amazing star clusters, gas clouds and galaxies visible from Africa. The Celestial Big Five are the Southern Pleiades, the Omega Centauri star cluster, the Eta Carinae nebula, the Coalsack Nebula, and the Southern Milky Way. They can all be seen with the naked eye, but are more spectacular when viewed through binoculars or a telescope. We’ve named just a few of our favourites – South Africa is full of remote spots that are ideal to see brightly-lit skies. Make that magical connection between you and the amazing universe and let us know where you’ve been!

Our Year in Pictures

Walter Benjamin understood that photographs could “meet the beholder halfway”. For those who cannot make it to Africa’s bush right now, we can deliver masterpieces straight to your screens! Carefully packaged in digestible form to examine over a morning coffee or in between dreary meetings – we’ve put together a select list of some of this year’s best captured wildlife, adventure and luxury moments. This is Africa for you – it’s the stuff dreams are made of!

Feel intoxicated with wildlife images so perfect it appears almost staged; or travel the world in a lunch break through the eyes of our talented photographers! These raw, candid pictures transport us every time to a different place.

This year provided us with jaw-dropping sunsets, meaningful wildlife moments and classic African landscape views. The power of these images can storm our consciousness and start transporting us to open savannahs, sparkling oceans and mountain tops. What starts off as an iridescent distraction soon remoulds our thought processes and invokes wanderlust in us.

Capturing some of 2018’s most iconic moments, we have seen a fantastic collection of photographs these past few months. Here are a few of our favourites selected just for you:

 

 

 

10 Things to Consider When Planning A Safari

As you may already know, planning a safari adventure isn’t without its complications. It’s difficult to know what to expect and there are a number of things that you need to organise in order for your trip to be a success. Because planning a safari can be a daunting task, we have compiled a list of the top ten things that you should consider while you are in the planning stages of your African adventure.

Lions Sands Ultimate Luxury Safari

1. Plan your trip way in advance
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that there is a huge demand for safaris. Depending on where you are planning to go on safari, you will need to book your stay in advance. Some camps require you to book at least six months in advance, whereas others might require you to even book a whole year in advance. So, if your dates aren’t flexible, you need to keep this in mind.

2. Do your own research
Part of planning your trip is doing your research. It is important to do your own research so that you know what you can expect. Luckily, there is a vast amount of information on the internet for you to look at. It can be daunting, and you may have more questions than answers after doing your research, but at least you’ll know what you want to ask your safari specialist.

3. Consider visiting Africa in the shoulder season
This is a really great time to visit the parks because there are fewer vehicles and visitors and the prices are often much less. Because there are fewer vehicles, you will also be able to spot wildlife more easily – you might even have the whole park all to yourself.

Buffalo Walking Safaris Iconic Africa

4. Manage your expectations
Seeing the Big Five is never guaranteed, but that’s part of the appeal of going on a safari. Who wants a boring and predictable trip anyway? However, what is guaranteed is that you will definitely see wildlife wherever you choose to go in Africa. So don’t get too hung up about what you see or don’t see while you’re in Africa. You’ll have a splendid time sighting all kinds of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

5. Remember that you will get what you pay for
In most cases, the more you pay, the better your experience. Usually the more expensive places have better game viewing or better guides, and they certainly have better service. If you’re unsure of a place to choose, you can always contact us for advice and we’ll recommend the best place to suit your needs.

Rock Fig Safari Lodge Timbervati Pool

6. Make sure that you have the right malaria tablets or vaccines
This is very important! Nothing will rescind the joy of your safari more than contracting malaria. Most of the parks in Africa are malaria areas, with the exception of South Africa. Visit a travel clinic for advice about the best malaria medication for you, and ensure that you have enough time to start your medication a few weeks before your trip to allow time for it to work.

7. Think about combining your safari adventure with a beach holiday
Safaris can be quite tiring so it’s always a good idea to plan a little beach trip for while you’re in Africa. There’s no better way to unwind after a spectacular safari than on some of the best beaches in the world, so it’s definitely worth considering. Visiting the seaside also extends your African holiday a bit, and it isn’t excessively expensive.

8. Don’t make your safari too long
This is something that we can’t stress enough! Safaris soon lose their appeal when you start to feel tired, so we like to suggest that the best amount of time to spend on safari is three to seven days. Remember, time slows down in the bush, so although three to seven days may seem too short, we can guarantee that it isn’t.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa

9. Start your safari the day after you arrive in Africa
This is one of the best tips we can give our clients. Long flights can be so exhausting. It’s a good idea to spend your first night in a nice hotel to recover from any jetlag or exhaustion that you may have from travelling. After all, you need to be wide awake to spot all of those animals on safari!

Golden Monkeys Gorrila Treks Rwanda Iconic Arica

The right safari specialist is key. Contact us to answer any of your questions, and we will guide you on when to go, where to go and what to do on your next adventure. In fact we can plan every step for you!

Top 5 Foodie Destinations

Africa boasts 54 beautiful countries, each contributing to the hundreds of different cultures and ethnic groups. Unique views and landscapes are merely a windfall in comparison to the world-class service, chefs and cuisines. For all the self-proclaimed foodies, Africa offers you a variety of cherry-picked destinations and accommodations whose connoisseurs fuse together tastes and flavours that will blow you away. Gone are the days of having to step away from your luxurious suite to experience great food!

Every country has something special and unique to offer – the kind of experience that requires only one meal before spending every other rehashing the details to all your friends. From conservative dinners and 5-course menus to laid back log-fire grills, Africa is renowned for food as fascinating as its history, cultures and traditions.

Sample our top foodie accommodations and destinations that will tell you a sensory story as you taste some of Africa’s finest creations. If you set foot in any of these hotels or cities, don’t leave without indulging…

Angama Mara in Kenya will show you a whole new food vocabulary…  Sit around the boma and enjoy ‘bitings’ (snacks) and ‘kuku’ (chicken) grilled right in front of you, a Tusker beer in hand. The chefs marry luxury travel comforts such as Pinotage and Chenin Blanc with classic safari cuisine, providing you the best of both worlds – rugged authenticity that is uncomplicated and deeply tasty. Choose between sophisticated cucumber sandwiches and buttery scones or succulent roasts. All dishes at Angama Mara are served in 5-star fashion and come from local produce and the juicy prawns and seafood straight from the Indian Ocean waters.

If there’s a place that feeds your taste-buds with a silver spoon, it’s Singita Sasakwa in Tanzania. Relive scenes from Out of Africain authentic style from the damask to the decanters. And while you bask in the filmy setting and breath-taking views, be assured the food matches up. Enjoy out-of-this-world sweet and savoury treats from sweet crepes to gourmet macarons. Everything from pre-dinner drinks to main course platings is romanticised and enlivened with unique flavours and pairings. Make sure you try ‘mtori’ – traditional beef and green bananas.

Locked by mountain and sea is Cape Town’s Cape Grace. Here the chefs play with South African flavours such as rooibos and Cape-Malay spices in a new way. Try rooibos-infused salmon fish cakes or springbok bobotie. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask your waitress for kudu or ostrich dishes. Using Cape Town’s history as a source of culinary inspiration, try the delicious layer cake that is topped with sugar crystals and sweet lemony syrup.

Further up country you’ll find Delaire Graff– home to olive groves and bespoke oils.  Some may call its setting ‘bistro chic’ but it is more of a rustic paradise. You cannot leave this green estate without having the home-baked breads, crafted from stoneground flour. The chefs create dishes using sophisticated gastronomical techniques and best produce. Try unique whiskey jelly after indulging in some fresh oysters or tender lamb. And if you think Delaire Graff is renowned for its olive groves only, you’ll need to have a glass of their wines!

If you’re heading on a Mozambican island getaway, find your way to Maputo. Mozambique is surely a seaside paradise, but many forget a foodie destination too. The cuisine accentuates African and Portuguese flavours that will leave you wanting more. A must-have is the ginormous Tiger prawns or the classic piri-piri chicken – marinated in lemon juice, garlic, coconut milk, and spicy sauce.

If we’ve gotten your mouth watering and stomach rumbling, start planning your next foodcation! Africa’s story can be found in its array of tastes and spices; always surrounded by beautiful sceneries, unforgettable sunrises and majestic wildlife. From safari lodges to city hotels – all our chefs are preparing luxurious tastes of local culture for you. Read more about our especially crafted Food Safari here.

 

Getting to know the Cape Winelands

The Cape Winelands, more commonly known by locals as the Boland (‘upland’), is a landlocked region of the Western Cape located upwards from Cape Town. Just a short 40 minute drive from Cape Town, the Cape Winelands are without doubt one of the most beautiful regions in the world. Leave the high-risers and promenade of Cape Town and wander towards a collection of green pastures that lie in the shadow of a continuous belt of Cape Fold Mountains.

 

These deep valleys make up a collection of little towns, with little Cape Dutch hamlets on big farmsteads that provide infamous South African wines to the world. Here, unlike the grid-street-plan of Cape Town’s CBD, you will ascend, descend and go around rugged mountain passes before reaching century old vineyards resting at the foot of majestic mountains.

The Cape Winelands is made up of European-influenced little towns such as Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Somerset West, Tulbagh and Worcester. There are many routes to take, but the easiest way to get to the Cape Winelands is along the N1 from Cape Town which will pass through all six quaint destinations. Depending on the direction you’re coming from, this enticing portal is centrally located from all other major districts.

 

With an abundance of tours departing to and from Cape Town every day, it’s no problem getting around. But it’s advised to have your own vehicle as it makes exploring the winelands according to your own schedule that much more interesting. There’s also so much more to do than taste cheese and drink wine. Besides the beautiful views (that you will never get used to), there is always events happening.

Spend your summer days on bicycles or on foot wondering from vineyard to vineyard, each offering views more spectacular than the last. Every angle of the mountain creates a new and unique backdrop, but more importantly is one of the main reasons the wines are of such high quality. The mountain’s mineral composition provides suitable soil conditions that influence the taste and quality of the wine.

Or spend time in-doors in one of many art galleries, gift shops, theatres and spas. Either way, whatever season you decide to visit the Cape Winelands, there will be plenty for you to see, do and eat.

Both a romantic and family-friendly destination, there is no shortage of luxury accommodations. The Cape Winelands offers cherry picked boutique hotels near endless kilometres of walking, hiking and cycling routes. Stretched out along Route 62, any one of Iconic Africa’s bespoke properties will transport you to an artist and photographer’s paradise.

Surprise the kids with a trip to the butterfly enclosure, monkey town or the lion park or your significant other with a hot air balloon or helicopter ride. Traverse through vineyards on a horse-and-carriage or simply rest next to a damn and a family of ducks with a picnic basket – the list is endless.

The Cape Winelands is definitely a fruitful destination. As the main export hub of fruit, the Cape Winelands has an abundance of it, each season bearing something new to titillate your taste-buds. Forget local cheese, take your pick of citrus and berries, cherries and olives and even golden apples. This is no surprise in the culinary capital of South Africa and a stone’s throw away from Ceres and Bonnievale.

This area with unsurpassed scenery is a sought after location for families, couples, weddings, and anniversaries as travellers flock here to celebrate milestones and create everlasting memories. Start planning your trip to the Cape Winelands now! Discover more here: