A land where the wildest elements of nature meet the most sophisticated human elements, South Africa offers the most amazing of treasures, that is diversity. From the modernism of skyscrapers to the charming old colonial houses or African huts, from the wildlife in Kruger Park to the sandy beaches, tropical forests, and vast deserts, culminating with the silent splendour of the Drakensberg Mountains, everything here contributes to dazzle the traveller.
The possibilities are so numerous when it comes to deciding what to visit in South Africa that it is difficult to make a selection. Depending on the time you have, there are a few places or activities that should not be missed.
South Africa is a paradise for travellers wishing to explore the wildlife of the African continent. Nature reserves are very numerous, the most famous being the Kruger Park in the North East of the country. Luxury safari lodges can be found in many areas of South Africa. One of the lodges you may consider for an authentic luxury experience in the heart of South Africa is Singita Ebony, located right in the Kruger Park. Originally a private home in the heart of the bush, Singita Ebony now includes several lodges located on the banks of the Sand River. With its stately leather chairs and fabrics in warm colours, Ebony Lodge is decorated in the purest colonial style. World class food and wine, a nice spa and a gym suite complete the picture.
If you are passionate about wines, you should not miss the opportunity of going on a sophisticated holiday on the famous Wine Route. Located in the Western Cape, the Wine Route is the place where some of the best South African wines are made. A historical reason for this is that the area was the place where the Huguenots who fled France settled after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. One of the best places to stay amid the spectacular wine lands of South Africa is Le Quartier Francais, a Provencal-style retreat where you can enjoy a peaceful stay as well as spectacular wine and South-African cuisine. The 15 rooms here are distributed around the lovely pool in small one-storey buildings. The main attractions of this retreat are the award-winning Tasting Room and Commons Room, both of which featuring menus designed by Executive Chef Margot Janse.
Whale watching is a favourite activity for sea lovers and one of the most picturesque locations where you can do this in South Africa is Birkenhead House, a luxurious and sophisticated hotel nestled on the fabulous cliff tops overlooking Walker Bay. This boutique hotel is located in the coastal town of Hermanus, a mere 90 minute drive from Cape Town. Some of the activities you may try here are kayaking along the coast, sailing around Dyer Island and heading under the ocean in a secured cage in an adrenaline-charged shark dive.
Alexandra Matts is a Director at Exsus.