Africa

Luxurious South Africa

written by | Posted on February 1st, 2009

South Africa is without doubt one of the most popular destinations on the African continent for North American travelers. And, as one of the largest countries in Africa it’s an amalgam of all that is Africa – lush game reserves bursting with the Big 5, deserts, mountains and rugged coastlines.

But it’s the southern part of the country that offers much of its most luxurious offerings, rich with deluxe boutique properties and elegant safari camps and lodges.

Cape Town, the “mother city,” is the oldest city in South Africa dating back to the 17th century with a cultural heritage reaching back more than 300 years. It’s also an excellent jumping-off point for clients who want to explore all of the offerings in this beautiful region of South Africa—the beautiful east coast and the Indian Ocean islands, the Winelands and the beautiful Garden Route.

african classic encounters African Classic Encounters, a luxury tour operator headquartered in New York City, has a 14-night Safari In Style tour that offers not only luxurious experiences in some of the best venues in Cape Town, the Winelands and the Garden Route, it also includes four luxurious nights at some of the most elegant safari lodges in Africa.

The program starts with a 5-night stay in Cape Town’s beautiful Cape Grace Hotel, famous for its classic elegance and located on its own private quay on Cape Town’s unique and historic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. A member of The Leading Small Hotels of the World, the property’s 122 guestrooms and suites feature exquisite furniture, luxurious fabric and intriguing detail, including double-glazed French doors in all guestrooms that open to beautiful views of the international yacht marina, Table Mountain or Waterfront harbor.

Despite its stylish decor, the overall tone is warm and inviting, with an emphasis on making its guestrooms as elegantly comfortable and relaxing as possible. That same emphasis is reflected at The Spa, owned and operated by the Cape Grace and exclusive to guests only, and located on the top floor of the hotel with sweeping views of the surroundings. The spa offers a menu of South African-inspired innovative treatments, as well as conventional, luxurious massage, facial therapies, body treatments, and hand and foot care.

During their 5-day stay in Cape Town, clients will be able to take advantage of a variety of tours to keep them busy. On the Cape Town half-day tour, they start off at the Lower Cableway to board the revolving cable car for a 5-minute ride to the top of Table Mountain and bird’s-eye views of both the city and Cape Peninsula. Next, they’ll walk through the Company Gardens, a fresh produce garden for ships and locals in the mid-17th century, and home to the SA National Museum, Houses of Parliament, National Gallery, and St. George’s Cathedral. After a stroll to Greenmarket Square to browse African mementos at its bustling market stalls, they drive to the Castle, the oldest building in South Africa with its collection of Old Cape paintings and take in the Grand Parade where Nelson Mandela addressed the nation on his release in 1990. At the District Six Museum, they’ll learn about the city’s history and the forced removal of its residents during the Apartheid era, followed by a visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for lunch in what is arguably the most magnificent of all indigenous plant gardens in the world.

Other options include a Walk with the Baboons on the Southern Peninsula outside of the city, a sustainable project aimed at saving the dwindling baboon population. There’s also whale watching in season, motorcycle sidecar tours, shark diving, golf and more.

There’s also a unique and very special full-day tour of the Winelands. And, because of African Classic Encounters’ close involvement in the South African wine industry, their clients have the exclusive ability to visit the most prestigious wine farms in South Africa, many of which are inaccessible to the public. They can also arrange for lunches, dinners and wine tastings hosted by the master winemakers at many of these elite estates—everything from black tie dinners at La Motte, unveiling of new releases from the barrel at Meerlust, or an informal snoek braai (fish bbq) at Beyerskloof.

On Day 6, there’s a flight to the Garden Route, an extraordinary area of the southern coast of Africa. Here, clients will stay at the Pezula Resort Hotel & Spa, South Africa’s first true luxury resort hotel. The property, what African Classic Encounters calls a “…celebration of African elements and definitely upmarket, distinctive, exceptional, luxurious, and singular.” The game room offers chess and the library a quiet space for literary contemplation and exploration. The wine cellar is stocked with the finest selections from South Africa and afar. The Champagne Bar, Cigar Lounge and Whiskey Bar are all a connoisseurs pleasure-dome with world-class brands, and Zachary’s gourmet restaurant serves up the freshest ingredients and eye-catching presentation. The Pezula Wine Cellar offers over a thousand fine wines, most limited edition handcrafted wines.