Luxury Vacation to South Africa and Zimbabwe
Sitting 5 feet away from a pack of lions or watching a mother elephant care for its baby is something words truly cannot describe. Visiting South Africa, including the culture and diversity of Cape Town, is a trip you will never regret taking (even if the flight is VERY VERY long!).
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Where to stay
Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town
A historic standout in pink at the base of Table Mountain, stay here for the storied history, art-focused activities and luxe spa.
Daily breakfast for two.
Afternoon/evening tea for two.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
La Residence is surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and plum orchards, with a spectacular mountain backdrop and breathtaking views of the undulating countryside.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Stanley & Livingstone Boutique Hotel
A sanctuary of refined opulence amidst Africa's untamed beauty.
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Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town
You are likely to arrive in Cape Town in the late afternoon. Check into your hotel to freshen up before heading out to dinner. I recommend staying at the Belmond Mount Nelson which provides a vast property and an amazing view of Table Mountain. Their pool and breakfast is also something to write about about.
If you are able to snag a reservation, dinner at Kloof Street House is a great way to kick off the trip! Adventurous eaters, try the ostrich filet! I recommend Uber-ing home as the streets of Cape Town can be a little unsafe at night.
Day 2: Shark diving or Table Mountain
Trying to get ahead on the jetlag, if you are an adventurous person, shark diving is a must! Pick up is early (~5am) to ensure ample time to drive to the coast and returning around 2pm.
This was an amazing experience that I will never forget. If you are not into shark diving, use this day to visit Table Mountain. Options up and down include hiking (~3 miles) or cable car up and down. You can catch an Uber to the base very easily from town.
For dinner, I recommend The Pot Luck Club which is set high above the city and offers small plates to try a little of everything!
Day 3: Winelands
If your time in Cape Town is over (3 days may be plenty) consider spending a day or 2 out in the Winelands. It is a brief hour drive to countless of Wineries that offer tastings and bottles for purchase.
Winelands Guide is an amazing boutique tour company that will handle transportation and can be as involved as you'd like in your day. You can even opt to bike from winery to winery if you prefer.
Clouds Estate is a boutique hotel with unique rooms and a pool/garden overlooking the vineyard. The service was exceptional and they handled any additional transportation we needed during our stay. If a larger hotel is preferred, check out La Residence.
Day 4: Zimbabwe
If your itinerary permits, take a short plane ride to Zimbabwe and stay a few days at Stanley and Livingstone Boutique Hotel. The grounds are next to a watering hole and I hate to admit it, but I watched animals visit for hours! You can choose to never leave this all-inclusive or allow them to schedule some excursions for you!
Visit Victoria Falls (guided or unguided), Bunge Jump off the Victoria Falls Bridge (I'm still dizzy!), attend High Tea at Hotel Victoria, or take a sunset dinner cruise on the river. A guide can also take you into "town" where you can shop souvenirs from local vendors.
Day 5: Johannesburg
If you chose to visit Victoria Falls, then you will need to have a layover in Johannesburg. The Four Seasons: The Westcliff is the perfect time to R&R after a fast pace few days. Check out their in house spa or lay by the pool before heading to their on-site restaurant for dinner.
Additional Days: Safari
With your remaining time, head to a South African safari. I personally recommend &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge which is situated on Kruger National Park. This all-inclusive will handle everything for you, and I truly mean everything, from the second you step off the plane in Hoedspruit. &Beyond offers various promotions for special occasions (large groups, Honeymoons, etc. so be sure to factor that in when working with your travel agent). Words cannot describe the animals and experiences you will see on this safari, but it truly is a MUST. DO. Take a good camera or look into renting one since your phone will not do anything justice. Try to see if you can spot the Big Five or the Super Seven while there!
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora's Advisor Alexandra Farrington's guide, Uncharted Africa: A Luxurious Safari Adventure Through Zimbabwe and South Africa.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to South Africa.