Situated at the tip of the African continent and surrounded by two oceans, South Africa boasts breathtaking scenery, quaint coastal villages and cosmopolitan cities. In one trip to South Africa, you can stand in the desert, climb a mountain and relax on a sandy beach backed by tropical forest. Add to this, a truly exhilarating Big Five South African safari, some of the best wine in the world, and a fascinating cultural heritage to discover and you have a destination that is perfect for the entire family.
SOUTH AFRICA ~ the bespoke to do list
Below, are the can’t miss highlights every traveler needs on their list, when traveling to South Africa.
• Spend a few days exploring the stunning city of Cape Town
• Stand in Mandela’s cell on Robben Island
• Toast the sunset from the flat top of Table Mountain – one of the most spiritual places on earth.
•Visit the gently rolling green vineyards blanketing the Franschhoek and Stellenbosch valleys to sample the food and wines of the Winelands.
• Between June and October, travel to Hermanus where the cliffs drop steeply into the the ocean, and the whales come to within 30 metres from the shore.
•Spot the Big Five in Kruger National Park which offers outstanding South African safari.
•Safari in Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve where you have the greatest likelihood of seeing leopard in South Africa.
Discover the empty beaches of the remote and wild Elephant Coast. Between December and February if you want to catch a glimpse of the turtles making their annual migration to nest on the beaches.
hotels we love
makanyia Private game lodge
belmond mount nelson hotel
cape grace hotel
Fairlawns boutique hotel & spa
one & only cape town
Le quartier francais
strandloper oCean lodge
Looking for an unspoiled ocean getaway? The Strandloper Ocean Hotel, one of our favourite little finds in South Africa, is an airy easide escape that exudes beachy minimalism in the form of white linens, pale woods, and animal-hide rugs. Hidden away on the shores of the authentic fishing village of Paternoster, only 90 minutes’ from Cape Town, this is a coastal destination with immeasurable charm. The 14 rooms are a fusion of beach style and contemporary luxury and each has its own terrace or private courtyard that open out onto breathtaking views. Set off on an endless beach walk in search of whales and dolphins, hop onto a bike for a leisurely ride or take to the waves on a kayak. Paternoster is a seafood and lobster Mecca and te hotel creates inspired cuisine with a local and organic slant at their Leeto – meaning “journey” restaurant, which also serves up breathtaking views. A romantic venue for couples, honeymooners or anyone looking for some special me-time, the Strandloper offers the best of West Coast hospitality and fuss-free luxury. Visit the hotel website.
a birkenhead house
Perched on a cliff top in Hermanus, Birkenhead House provides a haven of luxury for those travelling along the Garden Route. Only 1.5hours from Cape Town, this boutique hotel offers 11 beautiful rooms and accommodates guests in the utmost luxury. Decorated to reflect the beauty of its coastal setting, it is adorned with rare maritime antiques and sumptuous fabrics. No expense has been spared in making this the ultimate coastal retreat. Enjoy magnificent ocean views from any of the balconies. The terrace, with pool, offers unrestricted sea views along the bay towards Hermanus itself and is the perfect spot for your evening sundowner. Hermanus is also well-known as being one of the best places on the Western Cape for whale watching in season, from July to November. It is often possible to sit on the terrace and watch the whales in the sea in front of Birkenhead House. It is the perfect destination for those seeking the epitome of stylish seaside living. Visit the hotel website.
bartholomeus Klip farmhouse
Bartholomeus Klip is a restored Victorian homestead on an operational wheat and sheep farm amid the 10,000 acres Elandsberg Nature Reserve in the Cape Winelands, an hour and a half’s drive from Cape Town. The main farmhouse (which is over 100 years old) has only four luxury rooms and a suite, so exclusivity is guaranteed. There is also the Wild Olive House with has two double bedrooms, a single bedroom and two bathrooms, ideal for families. Highlights of a stay are the morning and evening game drives through the nature reserve. Up to ten guests at a time, can enjoy walking, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing and birdwatching, or just to switch off and relax. The farmstead is an excellent base for exploring the Cape Winelands. Visit the hotel website.
Widely known as Cape Town’s hidden gem, Tintswalo Atlantic is a 5 star, award-winning boutique lodge nestled at the base of the ocean-facing Table Mountain National Park. Sitting at the foot of Chapman’s Peak, the lodge is perched on a pebbled beach and enjoys panoramic views of the picturesque Hout Bay harbour, the dramatic Sentinel mountain peak, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond. Visit the hotel website.
Inhale the tranquillity of this award-winning lodge, only 168 miles from Cape Town. Surrounded by timeless beauty that exudes a mystical energy, the reserve offers a wilderness experience of healing and well-being. Delicious organic cuisine created from the freshest produce is served in breathtaking dining locations, while the holistic spa offers pampering treatments. A sanctuary to more than 130 Bushman rock art sites, the retreat allows guests to interact freely with nature and participate in exhilarating outdoor adventures amidst open plains, clear waterfalls and majestic rock formations of the Cederberg Mountains. Visit the hotel website.
What Our Bespoke travelers Are Saying
Don’t just take it from us, let our bespoke clients do the talking!
“We made it to our camp in Botswana. Already encountered as we were driving to our camp, a leopard, baboons, African Buffalo’s, jackal, impalas,….Had a wonderful dinner, fish for me and game meat for Marc with a sky full of stars. Five star dining. Great wines, Porto for dessert and Amarullo to complete our evening.”Marc & Danielle Caron, April 2018. Africa Safari Destination: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana.
“We are so lucky to have had this extraordinary adventure on the other side of the globe Africa. Thank you to Marie-France Gravel of Bespoke Travel Design, for planning this trip of a lifetime for us!”D. Friesema, Summer Family Safari. Destination: Africa
“We are back from our Moroccan getaway and the trip was incredible! I wanted to pass on a thank you to you for your help in organizing such a diverse itinerary. Tanya and I feel we were able to enjoy the beauty and diversity of Morocco while also having a chance to understand the people, their background and customs. A special shout out to our tour guide (Said) and driver (Moustafa) who were courteous, insightful and always on time. They were a pleasure to tour with and provided enjoyable company esp. over some of the longer drives. The accommodations were incredible (every location was unique). Kasbah Tamadot in particular was a real treat and Eve Branson was there as well so you can see her passion for the property and the local Berber’s her foundation supports. Again, much appreciation from Tanya and myself. Now we can begin planning for Hawaii in March!”Richard & Tanya, Oct 2016 - Romantic Getaway. Destination: Morocco, Africa.
“After a few more amazing trips you’ve planned for us to Tahiti, Bora Bora, Australia (again) and just back from Morocco, it’s time to update this review. Actually, not much has changed. You’re still a 5 star trip planner and, if anything, it’s even more apparent now how much you care about researching amazing places for us to go, things for us to do and hotels for us to stay at. These trips are definitely not “run of the mill” and you put so much work into making sure they’re perfect for us and not cookie cutter trips. You care about making sure we’re absolutely happy with everything, available to help while we’re travelling and do a wonderful job. Please keep it up! We can’t wait for our next trip.made it to our camp in.”Michael, Katherine, Cole and Alannah - August 2018. Large Family Adventure. Destination: Morocco and Israel
“Our trip to Morocco was great and definitely exceeded my expectations. All the hotels were fabulous and the staff extremely helpful. The Branson retreat (Kabash Tamadot, Atlas Mountains) was amazing! I’d go back there in a flash. It was my favourite part of the trip. I always recommend you to friends and will be in touch again soon, to plan our next adventure.”Patricia, Jack & Joshua Kay, August 2018
Looking to extend your trip?
A holiday or safari in South Africa combines well with beach time in Mozambique or Mauritius, or safari in neighbouring Botswana or Namibia …