Luxury

The Romance of Rail in South Africa

South Africa offers romantic rail journeys for any budget. Taking the road less travelled always has its advantages and exploring South Africa by rail could open your eyes to some amazing and unique experiences. A journey by rail across the South African countryside provides the traveller with luxurious, elegant surroundings while taking in the scenic beauty just outside the window. Add to this, exceptional dining cars, pampering and the kind of exceptional service normally reserved for royalty and you have a recipe for a truly unforgettable experience!

Each train, and their range of routes, is different. Rovos Rail, for instance, is pure nostalgic elegance harking back to the 1930’s. Royal Suites take up half the carriages, and are named after famous money-men of the British Colonial era. A 3 day safari from Pretoria to Durban will set you back $1,675 – this includes accommodation, meals and excursions as well as all beverages, including alcohol, while on board. Tuck yourself away in your small but comfortable apartment, or sit in the observation car at the back of the train and take high tea or sip a glass of bubbly as lovely scenery unfolds outside the big windows.

Rovos RailImage source: Rovos Rail

The Shongololo Express is marketed as a ‘fully serviced travelling hotel’ and offers Economy and Deluxe Sleeper packages to suit all budgets. The Shongololo Express offers a range of amazing experiences – from battlefield tours to hot-air ballooning and a score of other exotic adventures in between! The Good Hope Tour is  a 13 day journey offering guests a comprehensive view of South Africa and incorporates virtually every internationally regarded ‘must see’ sight and highlight, with prices starting from $4,280 pp.

The Shongololo Express

Image source: The Luxury Train Club

The Premier Classe Trains are another affordable, but luxurious option available to travellers. Premiere Classe offers all the deluxe trimmings offered on luxury trains and is popular with budget-conscious travellers.  The Cape Town and Johannesburg weekly train ride is $295 and includes exclusive use of a cosy private sleeper and all meals and afternoon tea in the elegant restaurant car as you pass the fabulous South African scenery.  The trains also run to other popular South African cities including Durban and Port Elizabeth. A truly unique way to travel and experience South Africa.

The Blue Train is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious trains in the world, and when you meet your personal on-board butler, experience the fine dining and superb service, you’ll know you’ve died and gone to Romantic Holiday Heaven! During peak season the day and a half trip from Cape Town to Pretoria can cost around $1,800!

Blue Train

Blue Train SuiteImage source: The Blue Train

When travelling by rail in South Africa, a must-see is the town of Matjiesfontein a beautifully preserved Victorian village which sits on the fringe of the Great Karoo and which has been preserved as a National Heritage Site. Visitors wander around the museum, visit the historic Lord Milner Hotel and the coffee shops of this quaint little Victorian railway village in the desert. One of the many romantic stops on the rail journeys of South Africa, it’s a must-see.

Have we inspired you to take the road less travelled?

Who to contact?

Rovos Rail

Tel: +27 (0) 12 315 8242
Email: reservations@rovos.co.za
Website: http://www.rovos.com/

The Shongololo Express
Tel: +27 (11) 486 4357
Website: http://www.shongololo.com/

The Premier Classe Trains
Tel: +27 (0) 87 802 6674
Email: mai123@southafricanrailways.co.za
Website: http://southafricanrailways.co.za/premier_classe.html

The Blue Train
Tel: +27 21 449 2672
Email: info@bluetrain.co.za
Website: http://www.bluetrain.co.za/

The Romance of Rail in South Africa

South Africa offers romantic rail journeys for any budget. Taking the road less travelled always has its advantages and exploring South Africa by rail could open your eyes to some amazing and unique experiences. A journey by rail across the South African countryside provides the traveller with luxurious, elegant surroundings while taking in the scenic beauty just outside the window. Add to this, exceptional dining cars, pampering and the kind of exceptional service normally reserved for royalty and you have a recipe for a truly unforgettable experience!

Each train, and their range of routes, is different. Rovos Rail, for instance, is pure nostalgic elegance harking back to the 1930’s. Royal Suites take up half the carriages, and are named after famous money-men of the British Colonial era. A 3 day safari from Pretoria to Durban will set you back $1,675 – this includes accommodation, meals and excursions as well as all beverages, including alcohol, while on board. Tuck yourself away in your small but comfortable apartment, or sit in the observation car at the back of the train and take high tea or sip a glass of bubbly as lovely scenery unfolds outside the big windows.

Rovos RailImage source: Rovos Rail

The Shongololo Express is marketed as a ‘fully serviced travelling hotel’ and offers Economy and Deluxe Sleeper packages to suit all budgets. The Shongololo Express offers a range of amazing experiences – from battlefield tours to hot-air ballooning and a score of other exotic adventures in between! The Good Hope Tour is  a 13 day journey offering guests a comprehensive view of South Africa and incorporates virtually every internationally regarded ‘must see’ sight and highlight, with prices starting from $4,280 pp.

The Shongololo Express

Image source: The Luxury Train Club

The Premier Classe Trains are another affordable, but luxurious option available to travellers. Premiere Classe offers all the deluxe trimmings offered on luxury trains and is popular with budget-conscious travellers.  The Cape Town and Johannesburg weekly train ride is $295 and includes exclusive use of a cosy private sleeper and all meals and afternoon tea in the elegant restaurant car as you pass the fabulous South African scenery.  The trains also run to other popular South African cities including Durban and Port Elizabeth. A truly unique way to travel and experience South Africa.

The Blue Train is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious trains in the world, and when you meet your personal on-board butler, experience the fine dining and superb service, you’ll know you’ve died and gone to Romantic Holiday Heaven! During peak season the day and a half trip from Cape Town to Pretoria can cost around $1,800!

Blue Train

Blue Train SuiteImage source: The Blue Train

When travelling by rail in South Africa, a must-see is the town of Matjiesfontein a beautifully preserved Victorian village which sits on the fringe of the Great Karoo and which has been preserved as a National Heritage Site. Visitors wander around the museum, visit the historic Lord Milner Hotel and the coffee shops of this quaint little Victorian railway village in the desert. One of the many romantic stops on the rail journeys of South Africa, it’s a must-see.

Have we inspired you to take the road less travelled?

Who to contact?

Rovos Rail

Tel: +27 (0) 12 315 8242
Email: reservations@rovos.co.za
Website: http://www.rovos.com/

The Shongololo Express
Tel: +27 (11) 486 4357
Website: http://www.shongololo.com/

The Premier Classe Trains
Tel: +27 (0) 87 802 6674
Email: mai123@southafricanrailways.co.za
Website: http://southafricanrailways.co.za/premier_classe.html

The Blue Train
Tel: +27 21 449 2672
Email: info@bluetrain.co.za
Website: http://www.bluetrain.co.za/

Safari: Pamper Yourself on a Budget in South Africa

We’ve compiled safari packages to suit all budgets in this week’s blog.

Travelling during May-September is a great time for South African deals as it’s considered to be low season. Although there may be more rain along the coast, inland is dry which makes the animals more visible as the bush is less thick. If you’re looking for deals around this time, the Samara Private Game Reserve has some great off-peak deals which include all the luxuries you would normally pay full price for! Be on the lookout for rhinos, cheetahs and antelopes having a stroll on the reserve.

5586488518_02d8da64b4_z

Choosing a self-drive safari is easier than you think and can help save on costs and gives you the flexibility to see what you want on safari. In South Africa, major parks are in easy driving distance of the big cities. If you’re staying in Johannesburg, you can pick up a rental car and simply drive to Kruger National Park which is three hours away.

4742339298_f18ab47db8_z

If you choose to take the road less travelled, you will be rewarded. There are the popular reserves which cater to international tourists and have been written about countless times on travel blogs. There are also lesser-known reserves such as Madikwe and Marakele in South Africa which is well-known to locals. It’s less visited by international tourists, and it often offers better deals

Visiting the smaller sibling camps of the bigger safari companies is a way of ensuring you’re getting the premium experience, without the price tag. Many leading safari companies are developing smaller sister camps close to some of their pricier flagship properties. If there is a particular safari company you want to book with but can’t afford it, have a look to see if they have sibling properties which are more within your budget.

Staying in national park lodges is a common way for local South Africans to go on Safari, these camp sites and bungalows are run by the state-funded national parks that maintain the reserves. This means you won’t be getting all the luxury of a private lodge however; a self-catering, two-bedroom bungalow can save you a fair bit of money. Staying at a Kruger National Park lodge has prices starting from $70. The beauty of staying at a national park lodge is you save on travel time and have access to hiring national park rangers to take you on organised game drives, another cost saver.

South Africa offers travel experiences for all budgets, the hardest part is deciding which experience you want!

 

Safari: Pamper Yourself on a Budget in South Africa

We’ve compiled safari packages to suit all budgets in this week’s blog.

Travelling during May-September is a great time for South African deals as it’s considered to be low season. Although there may be more rain along the coast, inland is dry which makes the animals more visible as the bush is less thick. If you’re looking for deals around this time, the Samara Private Game Reserve has some great off-peak deals which include all the luxuries you would normally pay full price for! Be on the lookout for rhinos, cheetahs and antelopes having a stroll on the reserve.

5586488518_02d8da64b4_z

Choosing a self-drive safari is easier than you think and can help save on costs and gives you the flexibility to see what you want on safari. In South Africa, major parks are in easy driving distance of the big cities. If you’re staying in Johannesburg, you can pick up a rental car and simply drive to Kruger National Park which is three hours away.

4742339298_f18ab47db8_z

If you choose to take the road less travelled, you will be rewarded. There are the popular reserves which cater to international tourists and have been written about countless times on travel blogs. There are also lesser-known reserves such as Madikwe and Marakele in South Africa which is well-known to locals. It’s less visited by international tourists, and it often offers better deals

Visiting the smaller sibling camps of the bigger safari companies is a way of ensuring you’re getting the premium experience, without the price tag. Many leading safari companies are developing smaller sister camps close to some of their pricier flagship properties. If there is a particular safari company you want to book with but can’t afford it, have a look to see if they have sibling properties which are more within your budget.

Staying in national park lodges is a common way for local South Africans to go on Safari, these camp sites and bungalows are run by the state-funded national parks that maintain the reserves. This means you won’t be getting all the luxury of a private lodge however; a self-catering, two-bedroom bungalow can save you a fair bit of money. Staying at a Kruger National Park lodge has prices starting from $70. The beauty of staying at a national park lodge is you save on travel time and have access to hiring national park rangers to take you on organised game drives, another cost saver.

South Africa offers travel experiences for all budgets, the hardest part is deciding which experience you want!

 

Romantic South Africa

Whether you and your significant other enjoy sipping wine together at sunset or adventure activities, we’ve compiled a list of romantic experiences to suit all couples.

Hot air ballooning through the Pilanesberg National Park, is the most scenic and relaxing method of experiencing the game reserve which is home to the Big Five.

Mankwe Gametrackers Balloon Safaris is the only Hot Air Balloon Company which launches from within a national park, offering a truly unique experience. Tours depart early morning and offer a 4-5 hour experience including hotel pick-up, 45-minute ride, a sparkling wine celebration on landing and full English breakfast.

The Bachelor Australia embarked on this breathtaking journey over the National Park, drifting over the lush terrain with one lucky lady during his time in South Africa.

Mankwe Gametrackers Balloon Safari’s

Image source: Mankwe Gametrackers Balloon Safaris

A helicopter trip with your partner in South Africa is guaranteed to be a spectacular experience, the only difficulty is choosing a region! The Bachelor Australia treated one lucky lady to this 5-star experience at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town which offers a luxurious package including private helicopter ride, lunch and wine tasting at an award winning restaurant.

Helicopter Ride - 12 Apostles

Image source: The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

If you and your partner are into adventure activities, South Africa is one the few countries in the world which allow cage-free diving tours with Tiger sharks in Protea Banks. Participants will need to have completed a diving course before the dive. This is a unique experience, which will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

SharkExplorers in Cape Town offer a range of cage diving experiences as seen on The Bachelor Australia. The White Shark adventures which take place in False Bay, which is a 30-minute drive from Cape Town is a Great White Shark hotspot. The tour starts out before dawn and you’ll be able to experience the strength of the Great White Sharks launching out of the water to catch its seal prey safely from the boat.

Tiger Shark Diving

Cape Winelands which are located in the Western Cape gives you and your partner the opportunity to sit back and relax with a wine in hand and watch the sun set in this picturesque region of South Africa.

Whether you’re in a couple or travelling with friends and family, the Cape has 18 official wine routes and 2 brandy routes which offer the 3 S’s; Scenery, Serenity and Splendid wines.

Wine tasting, wine making tours, excellent cuisine and magnificent scenery collectively create an irresistible attraction for international and local travellers alike.

Cape Winelands

This region was featured on The Bachelor Australia when Blake romanced one of the final three lucky ladies taking her to the stunning Delaire Graff Estate.

If you’re overcome with the beauty of the Cape and find yourself on one knee proposing to the love of your life, you’ll be glad to know the Cape is a popular location to celebrate your nuptials. Cape Winelands offer breathtaking backdrops, world class food & wine, accommodation, all in a romantic and historical setting.

After a big day of activities, whether it be hot air ballooning, diving with sharks or enjoying a glass of red while the sun sets over the Cape Winelands, there are plenty of luxurious hotels for you to lay your head down…in style!

Pilanesberg National Park is a fascinating location, born out of a crater of a long extinct volcano. The Ivory Tree Game Lodge as featured on The Bachelor Australia is located in the heart of Pilanesberg and offers excellent service, range of amenities and stylish interiors for a night of rest and relaxation. The lodge has a range of activities for you to take advantage of during the day including archery, quad biking and of course, safari.

Ivory Tree Lodge

Image source: Ivory Tree Game Lodge

The Tsala Treetop Lodge is a unique Garden Route boutique resort which can be found in the treetops, as the name suggests. This five-star luxury resort offers unique lodges in the remote wilderness, wrap around decking and private infinity pools which offer birds eye views of the forest.

Tsala Treetop Lodge

Image source: Tsala Treetop Lodge

If you’re looking for a luxury safari lodge, Singita Ebony located in the Kruger National Park has incredible views of the river where wildlife bathe and drink with all the features of a five star lodge. Each room at Singita Ebony has a private pool, open fireplace, indoor/outdoor shower and game-viewing deck.

Singita Ebony

Image source: Singita Ebony

Follow the links below to book your romantic experience in South Africa.

Hot Air Ballooning

Mankwe GAMETRACKERS
Tel: +27 14 552 5020
Email: suncity@mankwegametrackers.co.za

Helicopter Ride

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 437 9000
Email: horst@12apostles.co.za

Shark Diving

SHARKEXPLORERS
Telephone: +27 82 564 1904
Email: info@sharkexplorers.com

African Dive Adventures (include Tiger Shark Diving adventures)
Tel: +27 (0)39 317 1483
Email: afridive@venturenet.co.za

 Accommodation

Ivory Tree Game Lodge
Tel: +27 11 781 1661
Email: res3@anthology.co.za

The Tsala Treetop Lodge
T : +27 (0) 44 501 1111
F : +27 (0) 44 501 1100
res@hunterhotels.com
www.hunterhotels.com

Singita Ebony
Tel: +27 (0)21 683 3424
Fax: +27 (0)21 671 6776
Email: enquiries@singita.com
http://singita.com/

Romantic South Africa

Whether you and your significant other enjoy sipping wine together at sunset or adventure activities, we’ve compiled a list of romantic experiences to suit all couples.

Hot air ballooning through the Pilanesberg National Park, is the most scenic and relaxing method of experiencing the game reserve which is home to the Big Five.

Mankwe Gametrackers Balloon Safaris is the only Hot Air Balloon Company which launches from within a national park, offering a truly unique experience. Tours depart early morning and offer a 4-5 hour experience including hotel pick-up, 45-minute ride, a sparkling wine celebration on landing and full English breakfast.

The Bachelor Australia embarked on this breathtaking journey over the National Park, drifting over the lush terrain with one lucky lady during his time in South Africa.

Mankwe Gametrackers Balloon Safari’s

Image source: Mankwe Gametrackers Balloon Safaris

A helicopter trip with your partner in South Africa is guaranteed to be a spectacular experience, the only difficulty is choosing a region! The Bachelor Australia treated one lucky lady to this 5-star experience at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town which offers a luxurious package including private helicopter ride, lunch and wine tasting at an award winning restaurant.

Helicopter Ride - 12 Apostles

Image source: The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

If you and your partner are into adventure activities, South Africa is one the few countries in the world which allow cage-free diving tours with Tiger sharks in Protea Banks. Participants will need to have completed a diving course before the dive. This is a unique experience, which will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

SharkExplorers in Cape Town offer a range of cage diving experiences as seen on The Bachelor Australia. The White Shark adventures which take place in False Bay, which is a 30-minute drive from Cape Town is a Great White Shark hotspot. The tour starts out before dawn and you’ll be able to experience the strength of the Great White Sharks launching out of the water to catch its seal prey safely from the boat.

Tiger Shark Diving

Cape Winelands which are located in the Western Cape gives you and your partner the opportunity to sit back and relax with a wine in hand and watch the sun set in this picturesque region of South Africa.

Whether you’re in a couple or travelling with friends and family, the Cape has 18 official wine routes and 2 brandy routes which offer the 3 S’s; Scenery, Serenity and Splendid wines.

Wine tasting, wine making tours, excellent cuisine and magnificent scenery collectively create an irresistible attraction for international and local travellers alike.

Cape Winelands

This region was featured on The Bachelor Australia when Blake romanced one of the final three lucky ladies taking her to the stunning Delaire Graff Estate.

If you’re overcome with the beauty of the Cape and find yourself on one knee proposing to the love of your life, you’ll be glad to know the Cape is a popular location to celebrate your nuptials. Cape Winelands offer breathtaking backdrops, world class food & wine, accommodation, all in a romantic and historical setting.

After a big day of activities, whether it be hot air ballooning, diving with sharks or enjoying a glass of red while the sun sets over the Cape Winelands, there are plenty of luxurious hotels for you to lay your head down…in style!

Pilanesberg National Park is a fascinating location, born out of a crater of a long extinct volcano. The Ivory Tree Game Lodge as featured on The Bachelor Australia is located in the heart of Pilanesberg and offers excellent service, range of amenities and stylish interiors for a night of rest and relaxation. The lodge has a range of activities for you to take advantage of during the day including archery, quad biking and of course, safari.

Ivory Tree Lodge

Image source: Ivory Tree Game Lodge

The Tsala Treetop Lodge is a unique Garden Route boutique resort which can be found in the treetops, as the name suggests. This five-star luxury resort offers unique lodges in the remote wilderness, wrap around decking and private infinity pools which offer birds eye views of the forest.

Tsala Treetop Lodge

Image source: Tsala Treetop Lodge

If you’re looking for a luxury safari lodge, Singita Ebony located in the Kruger National Park has incredible views of the river where wildlife bathe and drink with all the features of a five star lodge. Each room at Singita Ebony has a private pool, open fireplace, indoor/outdoor shower and game-viewing deck.

Singita Ebony

Image source: Singita Ebony

Follow the links below to book your romantic experience in South Africa.

Hot Air Ballooning

Mankwe GAMETRACKERS
Tel: +27 14 552 5020
Email: suncity@mankwegametrackers.co.za

Helicopter Ride

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 437 9000
Email: horst@12apostles.co.za

Shark Diving

SHARKEXPLORERS
Telephone: +27 82 564 1904
Email: info@sharkexplorers.com

African Dive Adventures (include Tiger Shark Diving adventures)
Tel: +27 (0)39 317 1483
Email: afridive@venturenet.co.za

 Accommodation

Ivory Tree Game Lodge
Tel: +27 11 781 1661
Email: res3@anthology.co.za

The Tsala Treetop Lodge
T : +27 (0) 44 501 1111
F : +27 (0) 44 501 1100
res@hunterhotels.com
www.hunterhotels.com

Singita Ebony
Tel: +27 (0)21 683 3424
Fax: +27 (0)21 671 6776
Email: enquiries@singita.com
http://singita.com/

Experience the Cape Winelands
South Africa boasts a number internationally acclaimed wines, and a visit to the Cape Winelands is a treat for wine connoisseurs and wine lovers alike.

18 May 2014 by Lethabo-Thabo Royds

Enjoy a delicious glass of wine at one of South Africa’s many wine estates. Image courtesy of jose romeu de abreu, aka Jose Romeu, shared with our Love South Africa Flickr group

A tour of the Winelands can easily be incorporated into a holiday to Cape Town – or visiting wine estates can be the main focus of the holiday.

Here is a selection of some wine-tasting venues…

Spier wine estate (pictured below) is situated in the Stellenbosch region. Here you can choose from four wine-tasting options (one of which is a children’s grape-juice tasting), view contemporary art, enjoy a Segway tour through the vineyards, learn about agricultural practices, enjoy a meal at Eight restaurant, and more. Delicious food platters to pair with your wine tasting are also available. Besides producing award-winning wines and being one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa (its history can be traced as far back as the late 17th century), Spier is concerned with sustainable tourism practices – evident in the fact that it is recognised by a number of fair trade and sustainable tourism organisations, including Fair Trade Tourism South Africa.

If you’re looking for award-winning South African sparkling wine, then look no further thanThe House of JC Le Roux in the Devon Valley near Stellenbosch. Here you can choose from four wine-tasting options, one of which is a tasting in which sparkling wines are paired with nougat and turkish delights. Another option is pairing of sparkling wines with a variety of marshmallow and meringues. Le Venue, the restaurant at The House of JC Le Roux, serves breakfast and lunches.

In the Robertson Wine Valley you will find the Graham Beck Robertson estate (there is also a vineyard in Stellenbosch and offices in Franschhoek, but tastings are only available at the Robertson estate). Here you can enjoy a wide selection of award-winning Graham Beck wines, including its world-class Cap Classique. Cellar tours are also available by appointment, so remember to book ahead of your wine tasting.

The Nederberg wine estate in Paarl is also a popular wine-tasting venue. Choose from a variety of wines to enjoy in beautiful and lush surroundings (pictured below). You can enjoy one of its cellar tours, which outline the history of Nederberg wines, the wine estate and more. Tours take place daily from Monday to Saturday. From July 2014 the estate will be open on Sundays too. The estate also offers food and wine pairings, and the Red Table restaurant, located in the Cape Dutch-style Manor House, offers Bistro-style dining. It is best to pre-book for tours and to make reservations for the Red Table to avoid being disappointed.

The well-known region of Franschhoek offers a number of great vineyards, restaurants and accompanying views. A visit to Franschhoek, even a short trip, will quickly make it clear why this region is so loved. The views in Franschhoek are magnificent, the wines are delicious, and the food exquisite. Try the  Boschendal Wine Estate – here you can indulge in some delicious wine and chocolate pairings, as well as cellar tours. Between November and March you can also enjoy vineyard tours. Booking for the vineyard tours is essential.

Image courtesy of Patrick Meier, aka herr meier aus frankfurt, shared with our Love South Africa Flickr group

Why not try some of these, and other, estates in the  Cape Winelands. You’ll be glad you did.

Image taken in Franschhoek. Image courtesy of Jon Reid, aka Nomadic Vision Photography

Experience the Cape Winelands

South Africa boasts a number internationally acclaimed wines, and a visit to the Cape Winelands is a treat for wine connoisseurs and wine lovers alike.

18 May 2014 by Lethabo-Thabo Royds

Enjoy a delicious glass of wine at one of South Africa’s many wine estates. Image courtesy of jose romeu de abreu, aka Jose Romeu, shared with our Love South Africa Flickr group

A tour of the Winelands can easily be incorporated into a holiday to Cape Town – or visiting wine estates can be the main focus of the holiday.

Here is a selection of some wine-tasting venues…

Spier wine estate (pictured below) is situated in the Stellenbosch region. Here you can choose from four wine-tasting options (one of which is a children’s grape-juice tasting), view contemporary art, enjoy a Segway tour through the vineyards, learn about agricultural practices, enjoy a meal at Eight restaurant, and more. Delicious food platters to pair with your wine tasting are also available. Besides producing award-winning wines and being one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa (its history can be traced as far back as the late 17th century), Spier is concerned with sustainable tourism practices – evident in the fact that it is recognised by a number of fair trade and sustainable tourism organisations, including Fair Trade Tourism South Africa.

If you’re looking for award-winning South African sparkling wine, then look no further thanThe House of JC Le Roux in the Devon Valley near Stellenbosch. Here you can choose from four wine-tasting options, one of which is a tasting in which sparkling wines are paired with nougat and turkish delights. Another option is pairing of sparkling wines with a variety of marshmallow and meringues. Le Venue, the restaurant at The House of JC Le Roux, serves breakfast and lunches.

In the Robertson Wine Valley you will find the Graham Beck Robertson estate (there is also a vineyard in Stellenbosch and offices in Franschhoek, but tastings are only available at the Robertson estate). Here you can enjoy a wide selection of award-winning Graham Beck wines, including its world-class Cap Classique. Cellar tours are also available by appointment, so remember to book ahead of your wine tasting.

The Nederberg wine estate in Paarl is also a popular wine-tasting venue. Choose from a variety of wines to enjoy in beautiful and lush surroundings (pictured below). You can enjoy one of its cellar tours, which outline the history of Nederberg wines, the wine estate and more. Tours take place daily from Monday to Saturday. From July 2014 the estate will be open on Sundays too. The estate also offers food and wine pairings, and the Red Table restaurant, located in the Cape Dutch-style Manor House, offers Bistro-style dining. It is best to pre-book for tours and to make reservations for the Red Table to avoid being disappointed.

The well-known region of Franschhoek offers a number of great vineyards, restaurants and accompanying views. A visit to Franschhoek, even a short trip, will quickly make it clear why this region is so loved. The views in Franschhoek are magnificent, the wines are delicious, and the food exquisite. Try the  Boschendal Wine Estate – here you can indulge in some delicious wine and chocolate pairings, as well as cellar tours. Between November and March you can also enjoy vineyard tours. Booking for the vineyard tours is essential.

Image courtesy of Patrick Meier, aka herr meier aus frankfurt, shared with our Love South Africa Flickr group

Why not try some of these, and other, estates in the  Cape Winelands. You’ll be glad you did.

Image taken in Franschhoek. Image courtesy of Jon Reid, aka Nomadic Vision Photography
Four Friends, Ten Days and Twenty Unforgettable Experiences – Part 2

Last week the four friends experienced Johannesburg and Soweto, this week they head out of the city and along the Garden Route.

More →

Four Friends, Ten Days and Twenty Unforgettable Experiences – Part 2

Last week the four friends experienced Johannesburg and Soweto, this week they head out of the city and along the Garden Route.

More →

12 Decades Hotel Johannesburg

The 12 decades of Johannesburg’s existence are reflected in the 12 rooms making up a new boutique hotel at Main Street Life, one of Joburg’s newest places to be seen, and the brainchild of the same developer who brought the successful Arts on Main to the inner city.

The 1960s was the decade the miniskirt hit the world; a man stepped on the moon; Sharpeville happened and Nelson Mandela was jailed. In Joburg, smoking in cinemas was banned, while bikinis were forbidden at swimming pools. And the Carlton Centre was opened.

That spectacular building is the theme of one of the 12 specially decorated rooms in the 12 Decades Art Hotel at Main Street Life in Johannesburg’s CBD. The room is referred to as 50 Storeys, and was put together by clothing designer Colleen Alborough.

More →

Bushmans kloof scores double honour in condé nast traveller uk readers’ travel awards 2010

Readers of Condé Nast Traveller in the UK have rated Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat amongst the top 20 travel experiences in the world, as well as the Number 1 Hotel in the Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, in the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Top 100 Travel Awards for 2010.

Placed number 18 in the world on the coveted Top 100 list with an impressive score of 92.58 points, the accolade follows hot on the heels after Bushmans Kloof was announced a joint winner of the coveted title of Best Hotel for Food in Africa, Middle East and the Indian Ocean, in the 2010 Condé Nast Traveller UK Gold List earlier this year.

 

The Condé Nast Traveller UK Readers’ Travel Awards, now in its 6th year, is widely regarded as one of the ultimate guides to the world’s best hotels and travel destinations. The Readers’ Travel Awards questionnaire is based on criteria such as overall guest satisfaction with travel facilities, service and value for money. The results of the 2010 Readers’ Travel Awards were published in the October issue of Condé Nast Traveller magazine. With an estimated readership of over one million readers worldwide, it is the foremost authority in unbiased travel and destination reporting, and globally renowned as one of the world’s leading travel magazines.

 

Says Bushmans Kloof General Manager, Graham Kennedy: ‘We are very proud of this achievement and especially as the ‘panel of judges’ is comprised of thousands of real-time individuals whose passion is travelling. We strive to offer our guests a multi-dimensional and authentic wilderness experience, and being rated among the world’s best travel experiences is a significant feather in the cap of our team at the Bushmans Kloof lodge.’

 

Since its inception in 1996, this luxurious Relais & Châteaux property has consistently received world-wide recognition for its signature world-class hospitality and warm, caring service, and was voted Best Hotel in the World 2009 by Travel + Leisure in the USA.

Bushmans kloof scores double honour in condé nast traveller uk readers’ travel awards 2010

Readers of Condé Nast Traveller in the UK have rated Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat amongst the top 20 travel experiences in the world, as well as the Number 1 Hotel in the Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, in the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Top 100 Travel Awards for 2010.

Placed number 18 in the world on the coveted Top 100 list with an impressive score of 92.58 points, the accolade follows hot on the heels after Bushmans Kloof was announced a joint winner of the coveted title of Best Hotel for Food in Africa, Middle East and the Indian Ocean, in the 2010 Condé Nast Traveller UK Gold List earlier this year.

 

The Condé Nast Traveller UK Readers’ Travel Awards, now in its 6th year, is widely regarded as one of the ultimate guides to the world’s best hotels and travel destinations. The Readers’ Travel Awards questionnaire is based on criteria such as overall guest satisfaction with travel facilities, service and value for money. The results of the 2010 Readers’ Travel Awards were published in the October issue of Condé Nast Traveller magazine. With an estimated readership of over one million readers worldwide, it is the foremost authority in unbiased travel and destination reporting, and globally renowned as one of the world’s leading travel magazines.

 

Says Bushmans Kloof General Manager, Graham Kennedy: ‘We are very proud of this achievement and especially as the ‘panel of judges’ is comprised of thousands of real-time individuals whose passion is travelling. We strive to offer our guests a multi-dimensional and authentic wilderness experience, and being rated among the world’s best travel experiences is a significant feather in the cap of our team at the Bushmans Kloof lodge.’

 

Since its inception in 1996, this luxurious Relais & Châteaux property has consistently received world-wide recognition for its signature world-class hospitality and warm, caring service, and was voted Best Hotel in the World 2009 by Travel + Leisure in the USA.

Hotel: Monarch, Johannesburg
Pastedgraphic-1
The Monarch will surprise you – a boutique hotel presenting a juxtaposition of classical European elegance and important works of South African contemporary art.
Pastedgraphic-3
I was lucky enough to sample Chef Keith Fisely’s 7 course tasting menu – it was beautifully architected food both visually and in taste and managed to not become overly filling – definitely worth a splurge.
The 12 suites are all unique and have separate lounges and dining rooms, making meeting and entertaining much easier.  My shower is completely over the top with no less than 6 heads – brilliant.
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Hot tip: The 40 person cocktail / cigar lounge is the place to rub shoulders with Johannesburg’s hip crowd towards the end of the week.

 

Some more information:

 

T +27 11 341 2000   E info@monarchhotels.co.za

 


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Hotel: Monarch, Johannesburg

Pastedgraphic-1
The Monarch will surprise you – a boutique hotel presenting a juxtaposition of classical European elegance and important works of South African contemporary art.
Pastedgraphic-3
I was lucky enough to sample Chef Keith Fisely’s 7 course tasting menu – it was beautifully architected food both visually and in taste and managed to not become overly filling – definitely worth a splurge.
The 12 suites are all unique and have separate lounges and dining rooms, making meeting and entertaining much easier.  My shower is completely over the top with no less than 6 heads – brilliant.
Pastedgraphic-2
Hot tip: The 40 person cocktail / cigar lounge is the place to rub shoulders with Johannesburg’s hip crowd towards the end of the week.

 

Some more information:

 

T +27 11 341 2000   E info@monarchhotels.co.za

 


View Larger Map

SABI SABI Earth Lodge

On a recent trip to the Sabi Sands game reserve in  Mpumalanga I enjoyed the luxury of SABI SABI Earth Lodge. Earth Lodge has been described as the ‘the most environmentally sensitive lodge in Africa’ and it blends in so well with the bushveld that you wouldn’t know it was there. Sabi Sands game reserve is home to the Big 5 – Leopard, Lion, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo – as well Cheetah, Wild Dog plus hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, insects and plants.

A great thing you can do while at SABI SABI is learn wildlife photography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Web Site: http://www.sabisabi.com

For rates and packages to SABI SABI contact Bench International http://www.benchinternational.com.au or 1800 221 451

SABI SABI Earth Lodge

On a recent trip to the Sabi Sands game reserve in  Mpumalanga I enjoyed the luxury of SABI SABI Earth Lodge. Earth Lodge has been described as the ‘the most environmentally sensitive lodge in Africa’ and it blends in so well with the bushveld that you wouldn’t know it was there. Sabi Sands game reserve is home to the Big 5 – Leopard, Lion, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo – as well Cheetah, Wild Dog plus hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, insects and plants.

A great thing you can do while at SABI SABI is learn wildlife photography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Web Site: http://www.sabisabi.com

For rates and packages to SABI SABI contact Bench International http://www.benchinternational.com.au or 1800 221 451

Resort: Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa
On the May 2010 trip we stayed at the luxurious Pezula Resort Hotel which sits atop 1,000 hectares of the Knysna headlands along the Garden Route.

where were greeted with a wonderfully relaxing spa treatment

 

 

 

 

That evening we dined at Zachary’s restaurant (named after a labrador) on some exquisite food, all locally grown. The few remnants that we didn’t devour, were to be fed to the local pigs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was so much to this property that we’ll be following up with additional posts.

Web: Pezula Resort Hotel
Style: Luxury
Region: Western Cape (Garden Route)

Resort: Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa

On the May 2010 trip we stayed at the luxurious Pezula Resort Hotel which sits atop 1,000 hectares of the Knysna headlands along the Garden Route.

where were greeted with a wonderfully relaxing spa treatment

 

 

 

 

That evening we dined at Zachary’s restaurant (named after a labrador) on some exquisite food, all locally grown. The few remnants that we didn’t devour, were to be fed to the local pigs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was so much to this property that we’ll be following up with additional posts.

Web: Pezula Resort Hotel
Style: Luxury
Region: Western Cape (Garden Route)