South Africa on Your Bucket List? Please read this!

I recently took a travel advisor educational trip to South Africa with Relais & Chateau. Not familiar with Relais & Chateau? They are a global association of independently owned, five-star boutique hotels and restaurants.  

South Africa has so much to offer and the places we stayed were fantastic. One favorite was Londolozi Safari Lodges, a private game reserve located in Kruger National Park. Founded in 1926 by one of South Africa’s pioneers, it is still owned and operated by the same family.  Nelson Mandela stayed five months after being released from prison which contributes to the amazing history. You will see the Big 5 up close and personal, especially leopards and rhinos.  Private game reserves allow for better access and no crowds. Londolozi has luxury “camps” that can accommodate families to honeymooners. There is a lot of attention to the smallest details, fabulous food, extremely knowledgeable game drive guides, and attentive staff that have all worked there for years.

Next, “Cape Town’s Most Exclusive Address,” the Ellerman House. If you appreciate art, this is the place to stay. This remarkable property includes the opportunity to view the most famous South African art collection in the world. The views are breathtaking since it is positioned high above the sea offering fantastic sunsets while having gin cocktails.

Cape Town is a fascinating city, you could spend a week and not see and do everything. One fun thing to do is to visit the penguins!

Thirty miles east of Cape Town is the wine region near the Stellenbosch Mountains. Delaire Graaf is located in the heart of the wine lands, is five-star with private swimming pools with spectacular views of the vineyards and mountains. They are a well-known wine producer and will ship back to the States for a nominal fee.

After a quick domestic flight up to Victoria Falls International Airport take the helicopter ride to Royal Chundu River Lodge. You won’t forget the views of the falls from the air and flying through the canyons is really a thrill. Located on the shores of Zambezi River, Royal Chundu has so much to offer. Canoeing where you “shoot the rapids” is a blast.  The trip includes a cooked-to-order gourmet lunch, in the middle of nowhere. Also, the sunset cruise where you see hippos and beautiful birds is something not to be missed.

You’ll also get to meet with a real African village. How they live is impressive! It is humbling for adults and a fantastic hands-on opportunity for children to experience this way of life.

Looking for a romantic getaway?  In addition to their main lodges, Royal Chundu has a few luxury cabins on a private island where you are taken by boat. These are spacious, five-star accommodations with astonishing river views and a gourmet restaurant.  The claw-foot bathtub on your deck that extends over the river is really a special touch. A hot bubble bath is drawn for you nightly where you can sip champagne staring at the stars and listen to the sounds around you.

But, the most romantic setting ever is Royal Chundu has built a platform high above the river that has a bed enclosed with beautiful white blowing curtains, a sitting area that offers memorable views of the sunset, and a small bathroom. After canapes and cocktails served by your butler at sunset, you spend a romantic evening in seclusion. Wow!