South Africa in Style
So South Africa has been on your bucket list for years and you've finally got around to planning the perfect trip? Try this one! Combining the most luxurious hotels the country has to offer with the very best cultural and scenic experiences, this twelve day itinerary makes for a real trip of a lifetime.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Look out across Cape Town from your room in the spectacular Silo hotel.
- Sip a crisp Sauvignon at Leeu Estates in the heart of beautiful Franschhoek valley.
- Spot a herd of elephants frollicking in a waterhole on a game drive from Singita Boulders in Sabi Sands.
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When To Travel
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Day 1: Arrive and Table Mountain
Welcome to South Africa. After the long journey, meet your transfer driver at arrivals. The drive into town from the airport is less than half an hour so you'll be at your hotel and checked in before you know it.
For your stay we've chosen The Silo, Cape Town's already iconic Waterfront hotel. This contemporary hotel is built in the old elevator portion of the historic grain silo complex - once the tallest building in Southern Africa - and above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. The signature feature of all the rooms at The Silo is their 'pillowed' glass windows, which curve outward and showcase both beautiful views and a stunning architectural feat allowing you to peer out in all directions. Inside, the hotel's décor is stylish and quirky, but with all of the opulence you'd expect from such a slick new hotel.
Day 2: Cape Town
After a good night's sleep, spend today exploring the 'Mother City' and all her cultural highlights.
If you happen to be in town on a Saturday The Old Biscuit Mill Market is open from 9am -2pm and is an absolute must visit for a morning filled with vintage shopping, delicious food and live music. Otherwise, pick one of the many museums and galleries in town, the Slave Lodge museum is a really interesting introduction to South Africa's turbulent history.
Then it's time to hit the beach, after lunch in a superb beachfront restaurant, of course. We will recommend and reserve lunch again, if you would like. Of the various beaches, Glenn's Bay is lovely and rather less crowded than the likes of Camps Bay or Clifton Beach, although these two are busy for a reason - they're gorgeous.
Day 3: Cape Point
Today we thought you might like to get of the city and see some of its surrounding natural beauty.
On a private guided tour to Cape Peninsula you'll be heading south along the coast, in fact you'll eventually find yourself at the south-western point in all of Africa, Cape Point. During the day's touring you'll stop at a series of charming little seaside towns, have the opportunity to go on a short boat ride to Seal Island and then spend the majority of the afternoon exploring Cape Point itself. With zebra and Chacma baboons among the possible wildlife sightings, and rocky cliffs and an array of beautiful plantlife surrounding you, it all feels a world away from Cape Town's city buzz. Enjoy the fresh sea air and magnificent scenery before heading back to town for dinner.
Day 4: Head to Franschhoek
It's time to say goodbye to Cape Town this morning, so after a last city breakfast (try Clarke's Dining Room for a hip alternative to your hotel) meet your transfer driver and hit the road headed for Franschhoek. The drive is about an hour and a half long so sit back and enjoy the stunning countryside views as you arrive into the Winelands.
For your stay we've chosen Leuu Estates, on the outskirts of Franschhoek. This beautiful hotel is made up of just seventeen rooms and sits on the grounds of a vast working winery, in the restored 19th Century Manor House. All rooms overlook the vineyards and are beautifully styled in natural colours and with luxurious furnishings, so dump your bags and flop onto the bed before heading out to explore the estate. Since the onsite Dining Room offers you fantastic wine from the vineyards - which you'll be able to see from your table - and elegant and excellent cuisine, there is really no need to venture anywhere else tonight.
Day 5: Franschhoek
Full of little boutique shops and gourmet restaurants (48 to be exact) Franschhoek is one of the most fashionable foodie destinations in the world.
The striking French colonial architecture adds to the charm and is the cherry on the top, making this an incredibly sought after place to explore. Spend the day doing just that, either on foot or with hired bikes, which will let you get out into the lush landscapes a little further.
Day 6: Winelands Tour
Of course while you're here it would be a crime not to do some wine tasting.
With a plethora of wineries to choose from in Franschhoek, as well as the nearby Paarl and Stellenbosch, it can be hard to know where on earth to start. Thankfully we have a brilliant guide on hand to offer his top tips and extensive knowledge, while still letting you tailor the tour to your tastes and - perhaps most crucially - driving you between vineyards.
So whether you're a sparkling or sauvignon fan, prefer chocolate over cheese, or simply want to take it easy with a leisurely lunch at a single winery, your guide will ensure you go home today happy - and probably a little tipsy!
Day 7: Head to Sabi Sands
Having embraced the Winelands culture fully, it's now time to head to Sabi Sands Game Reserve.
Your driver will pick you up and take you to Cape Town Airport where you will catch a direct two and a half hour flight to Nelspruit airport. When you arrive a driver will be waiting to collect you and take you two and a half hours north to your lodge, Singita Boulders.
Taking its name from the huge rocks that the lodge is built around, Singita Boulders is an authentically styled African lodge with some serious added luxury. The lodge consists of twelve suites, all which come with their own private deck and plunge pool. While the bathrooms and amenities are the very best in luxury, the décor is rustic, incorporating natural stone and wood materials with sheep skin rugs and floor to ceiling wraparound glass windows that really make you feel at one with the African bush.
Day 8: Safari!
As utterly wonderful as the lodge might be, the main attraction at Singita Boulders is always going to be the wildlife.
With twice-daily game drives the expert rangers and trackers ensure that you have the very best chance of seeing the region's big game. From elephants to hyena and cheetah to rhino, Sabi Sands Game Reserve is teeming with wildlife and consequently makes one of the best places in South Africa to safari. Spend today fully embracing the game driving opportunities by getting up for the early morning drive and heading out again before dinner, while relaxing at the lodge in the heat of the day.
Day 9: Culture Fix
It's another early start today, so that you don't miss the morning game drive and the chance to spot more of your favourite animals from yesterday - plus, hopefully a couple of new ones!
This afternoon join Singita Boulders' community visit for a taste of African culture outside of the wilderness. The Justicia and Lillydale communities that border Sabi Sands are fantastic examples of the line that Africa's greatest asset is its people, so spend the afternoon playing with the children and interacting with the inspiring adults. You'll also learn of the work that Singita's own Community Development Trust does in improving education for the children through partnership with READ Educational Trust. After an hour or so with these happy, smiling locals you'll leave with a smile fixed firmly on your own face.
Back at the lodge you've got time to go on the evening game drive if you want to, or simply enjoy a leisurely evening at the lodge.
- Guided Walking Safaris Guided Mountain BIking
Day 10: Sleep, Spa AND Safari
We thought you might like a morning without an early start today, so enjoy a lie in and a leisurely late breakfast.
Then spend the afternoon enjoying the lodge itself as you laze by your pool in the sun and pay a visit to the spa. The signature treatment here is the Ndzi Lorhe Africa or, 'I Dreamed of Africa', and it involves a full body exfoliation, soothing body wrap and full body massage - essentially the dreamiest of treatments which will leave you feeling totally rejuvenated.
Afterwards, head out for the final evening game drive, where your ranger will do their very best to make sure you see any animals you might have missed and ensure your last sundowner is in the perfect spot.
Day 11: Home Time
You're probably going to have a hard time accepting it, but unfortunately the time has come to pack your bags and head back home.
A driver will collect you from Singita Boulders and take you to Nelspruit airport, where you will catch a short 50 minute flight to Johannesburg, before a couple of hours in transit and then onwards back home.
Isabel, Matt and Charlotte C are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.