Visiting South Africa: From City Luxuries to the Bush

Apr 08, 2011 Avatar  TravelStore

We arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, via London after almost 24 hours of flight time, tired but well pampered by British Airways. We were greeted and transferred to the Hotel Mount Nelson by our friendly and efficient guide. All of our travel arrangements were handled flawlessly.

The iconic Hotel Mount Nelson is situated within a lush and sprawling garden estate close to the heart of the city. The hotel is a bit of a colonial relic and the decor reflects this — you may either find it fun and charming or annoying. The 28 suites and 131 bedrooms are all individually furnished. We felt it added to the experience and gave us a sense of the past. The gardens and pool area are the perfect movie set. The hotel is also walking distance to several of the National Museums. Not to be missed are the Formal High Tea as well the Planet champagne and cocktail bar, which are also very popular with locals and added greatly to our very positive enjoyment.

The first day of sightseeing took us to Hout Bay, the Cape Peninsula and the most southwestern point of Africa, Simonstown, Boulders Beach and it’s penguins. On the next day we set off to the winelands, the historic town of Stellenbosch and the gourmet capital of South Africa in Franschhoek, where we had a delightful lunch at Le Quarter Francais. We visited several other wineries and were totally enchanted by the sights of this world renowned wine producing region.

While in Capetown we also visited the brand new One&Only Capetown, in the heart of the waterfront. The main building has splendid views of Table Mountain, two private islands contain additional rooms and suites as well as the spa and a gorgeous pool. It is a contemporary urban resorts in great style, two celebrity chef restaurants are Maze by Gordon Ramsey and Nobu by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa.

After our visit to Botswana (see separate post) we arrived to the Westcliff Hotel Johannesburg, just for one night. As is typical for Johannesburg, the hotel is set on a hillside in an exclusive residential suburb. A symbol of elegance and refinement, the restaurant and pool area have great view over the surrounding area, especially at night. Rooms and service are truly worthy of a luxury, 5 star resort.

On we go – private air to Sabi Sands Reserve and 2 nights at the Savanna Lodge. The 5-star Savanna lodge encompasses a few thousand hectares of pristine African bush in the private Sabi Sands game reserve, which borders the world famous Kruger National Park. The lodge has three executive suites with their own plunge pool, four luxury suites, each with its own garden area, plus the Savanna suite which comprises 2 separate, ensuite bedrooms with their own plunge pools (ideal for families).

Game drives in state of the art landrovers are conducted by extremely qualified game rangers. Lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino, hippo and crocodile plus a multitude of general game and over 450 bird species could be viewed from the comfort and safety of the open game drive vehicle. Savanna for us was the ultimate safari experience to top it all.

On to our last night in South Africa, The Saxon Hotel Johannesburg,, an exclusive, international award-winning boutique hotel and spa located in the affluent suburb of Sandhurst, with its tree-lined avenues and gated mansions. Situated on six acres of landscaped gardens, it is a quiet retreat with discreet service that leaves nothing to be desired, as we experienced. The Saxon is in a class on its own, and for the past 6 years has been voted the worlds leading boutique hotel.

Wow -15 days, 13 flights, 6 bedroom suites, 1 helicopter – countless animals, photos and memories!