Hey there, it’s Xan! Ah, South Africa – how you’ve gotten under my skin! After visiting last year, I was bitten hard by the Africa bug and can’t wait to return. From the cool (as in hip), cultured and beautiful city of Cape Town, to the gorgeous winelands where I discovered I really do like South African Cap du Classic (don’t call it sparkling wine), and finally two very different and luxurious safari lodges in Timbavati and Sabi Sands private game reserves, I have memories that will last a lifetime. The good news is that there is no better time for you to visit due to the incredibly strong dollar!
Game drives are such an amazing and awe-inspiring experience. To be so close to wildlife in their natural habitat, not behind bars or glass walls, teaches you how powerful and majestic they truly are.
Did I mention we like wine?! A visit to South Africa should definitely include a stay in the winelands area – whether Franschoek, Stellenbosch or Paarl, you will be able to taste several different varietals, including their own Pinotage, a blend of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. In addition to all of the fantastic wines, there are several outstanding restaurants for the foodie to enjoy, as well.
Although I was too lazy to take part in a walking safari (hey, 5am wake-up calls are rough), it’s another opportunity to see and understand the animals from a different perspective.
While I haven’t yet experienced shark cage diving, virtually everyone else at DUE has, and they report that it is a truly thrilling and unique way to see these stunning predators of the sea.
It should go without saying that South Africa has a very rich, cultural tapestry. While certainly it’s not too distant history of apartheid should not be forgotten, my experience in Cape Town exposed me to an incredible amount of diversity, entrepreneurship and hopeful optimism. You can explore the buildings that are symbols of it’s past in order to learn where they have been, but also be sure to take time and explore the burgeoning arts and food scene, where local business owners are supported and encouraged to grow.
One of our favourite family-friendly safari lodge properties in South Africa is Madikwe Safari Lodge, located in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve. A great option for those who may have younger family members, in addition to private game drives for the family, they have a great variety of programs designed for the kids to engage with and understand the wildlife and culture surrounding them.
The spectacular city of Cape Town is a must for any South African itinerary. Check out one of our favorite itineraries here.