Chicago, Illinois Travel Agent
South Africa: Past & Future
Almost twice the size of Texas, South Africa offers surprises people with its diversity of experiences. In many ways, South Africa offers the best of everything: diverse cultures, crafts and foods, terrains that range from cliff-backed beaches to wild lands where lions still rule and sophisticated cities as well as vineyards that produce some of the world’s most acclaimed wine lands. And the living record of the struggle to defeat of Apartheid and the legacy of Nelson Mandela are everywhere: Robbin Island and The Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto are especially moving.
Cape Town surprises visitors with its beauty, and it has some truly awesome hotels. Among the top-rated hotels is One&Only Cape Town, located on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. The resort has its own spa and marina and a heated infinity-edge pool and awesome views of Table Mountain. It makes a great home base for exploring everything Cape Town has to offer, from world-class art galleries, to Robben Island, to whale watching cruises and even excursions to nearby vineyards.
For those who want a more natural setting, The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, named for the line of mountains rising majestically on one side of the property, is also flanked by the Atlantic Ocean Marine Park, where you may spot breeching whales and playful dolphins. And at your doorstep are the miles of flowered wilderness trails of the Table Mountain National Park, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. And although it feels quite removed from Cape Town, it’s actually quite nearby, so you can easily pop in to shop along the waterfront, check out Long Street’s eclectic buzz and investigate the hundreds of museums and galleries.
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, which offers painting classes and yoga sessions on Table Mountain and has a hosted guests including John Lennon, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela, is another great choice. Many of my clients also enjoy a stay at Ellerman House, an elegant Edwardian mansion, overlooking the Atlantic and within walking distance of two beaches.
In addition to driving through wine country, many clients enjoy visiting South Africa’s hip beach city, Durban, with its boardwalk—built for the 2010 World Cup. And no one should miss Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Here, the Royal Malewane is the place for lovers of the luxe. Each suite has a private infinity pool and terrace as well as spacious marble bathrooms and there’s an onsite spa. But most important, in addition to a butler and chef who can prepare a private Bedouin tent dinner under the stars, you’ll have also have your own driver and tracker to help you spot the big five in Krueger Park in South Africa, and even take you on a wildlife walk through the bushveld. And if you like, they’ll even set up a visit to a local school and some wildlife photography coaching.