South Africa is hands-down one of our favourite destinations. Whether exploring the Cape and the surrounding winelands on your honeymoon or taking your little ones on their first ever safari, the Rainbow Nation has something for everyone. There is always more to be discovered in South Africa, so to help you out we have compiled a list of our five favourite experiences throughout the country...
Safari in Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Enjoy an exclusive safari experience on the private Sabi Sands Game Reserve, one of the best places in Africa to spot all of the Big Five thanks to its diverse landscape. There are some incredible, luxurious camps where you can wake up to the sounds of the African bush and head out on game drives at sunset to enjoy sundowners. Sabi Sands is particularly famous for leopard sightings and your camp will have expert rangers and trackers on hand to ensure you have the very best chance of ticking them, as well as plenty of other game, off your 'must-see' list.
Wine Tasting in the Cape Winelands
South Africa's wine is celebrated and enjoyed all around the world, so it would be wrong of us to miss this off this list. Head on a wine tasting tour of the Cape Winelands with a local wine expert to explore the historic towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl, while admiring the region's Cape Dutch architecture and European charm. With vineyards come stunning views, and this is no exception, so soak them all in while sipping on your Shiraz or Sauvignon. We can even tailor a wine tour to be suitable for families, visiting some of our favourite family-friendly estates in the Winelands. Enjoy a boerebraai (South African BBQ) for lunch and let the children run around outside and feed farm animals while you sip the region's most delicious wines. And don't worry, a driver is very much included in any of our organised wine tours, so no need for a 'designated driver' for the day.
Whale Watching in Hermanus
According to the World Wildlife Fund the small town of Hermanus, just east of Cape Town, is one of the best whale watching destinations in the world. Here you can spot southern right whales which migrate from the Antarctic in June to calve and mate in the slightly warmer waters around the Cape. The best time to spot them is between June and November, however, the whale population peaks in September and October, once most of the whales have arrived. Head out on a boat tour to get the best views of the whales and, if you're lucky, you might get to watch them display their acrobatic skills as they breach and slap the water with their tails. As well as southern right whales, you could also spot humpbacks, Bryde's whales, dolphins, seals and even great whites.
Exploring Cape Town
Cape Town has without doubt one of the most spectacular natural settings of any city, with the iconic Table Mountain towering over the city and beautiful beaches lining the peninsula. Head up to the top of Table Mountain for sunset to enjoy the very best views of the city while the sky turns from brilliant blue to burning orange. Another site to tick off the Cape Town check list is Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners were imprisoned during the Apartheid era. Last on our Cape Town check-list is a day trip down to Cape Point along Chapman's Peak Drive, one of the most scenic stretches of road in the country. The route hugs the winding clifftop, passing Camps Bay before dropping down into the Hout Bay valley and ending up at the tip of Africa: the Cape of Good Hope. Along the way, drive through the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, with its wild flora and fauna, and enjoy views of the rugged cliffs with stunning views of the ocean stretching for thousands of miles to the west. On your way back into the city, stop off at the world-famous African Penguin breeding colony at Boulders Beach, a particular highlight if you've got children in tow.
Family Safari in Madikwe
Once your children are old enough (we'd say from about the age of six and up, depending on the child), there is nothing quite like taking the whole family on a safari for the first time and seeing their faces as they spot beasts great and small in the wild. The brilliance of the Madikwe Game Reserve is that it's non-malarial so there are no pesky pills to deal with. There are also some fantastic family-friendly lodges with plenty of facilities and activities to keep children entertained in between game drives, such as interactive learning experiences with the guides or camp cooking lessons.