South Africa – How to Celebrate a Milestone Occasion in Style!

Viv on Rovos Rail Pride of Africa

Viv on Rovos Rail Pride of Africa

South Africa – How to Celebrate a Milestone Occasion in Style!

WAVEJourney’s Top Luxury Travel Picks in South Africa

Where or what in the world does one do to mark a milestone occasion? In our opinion, a milestone occasion such as a major birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, retirement, etc. deserves to be celebrated with a monumental travel experience. Out of all the travel options available in 190+ countries, to celebrate Viv’s 50th birthday she chose South Africa as the ultimate destination to mark this milestone event in her life.

Viv Celebrates Turning 50 in South Africa

Viv Celebrates Turning 50 in South Africa

Arriving in Cape Town via ocean cruise on Viv’s last day to lay claim to being just 49 years of age, we had a two-week itinerary packed with incredible bucket list experiences.

Camps Bay in South Africa

Camps Bay in South Africa

We started with a two-night stay at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa where we soaked up the amazing atmosphere. From there our journey continued with a 3-hour drive north to the Cederberg where we spent the next two nights at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat – the perfect place to decompress, surrounded by nature. Next on our itinerary were five days exploring the Cape Winelands – Constantia, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Continuing our adventure, we enjoyed a night in St James Bay prior to joining Rovos Rail for their luxury train journey from Cape Town to Pretoria. Then it was a short flight from Johannesburg to Durban where we picked up a rental car and drove ourselves to Phinda Private Game Reserve for a Big 5 safari with andBeyond. The icing on the cake for our final two nights in South Africa was staying at the Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga near Durban. This itinerary and each of these luxury experiences made for an exceptional milestone celebration.

Consider any or all of our South African experiences to mark a milestone event in your life and celebrate in style…

CAPE TOWN
The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is a luxury 70-room resort nestled into an isolated location at the base of the majestic 12 Apostles mountain range, just a short 20-minute drive south of the city of Cape Town. This unique 5-star property set amidst indigenous gardens boasts tremendous views of the Atlantic Ocean, Lion’s Head Peak and Table Mountain. Welcoming, friendly staff provides impeccable service and is the epitome of excellence in South African hospitality.

Breakfast is included in the room rate, complete with sparkling wine and freshly harvested oysters. Also make sure to have “Tea by the Sea” (an exquisite afternoon tea) in the Leopard Bar, and for dinner take in the views of the Atlantic over fresh, seasonal cuisine at their fine dining restaurant, Azure.

Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town

Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town

Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa

Tea by the Sea

Tea by the Sea

CEDERBERG
Bushmans Kloof is a Nature and Wilderness Reserve in the Cederberg mountains, a 3-hour drive north of Cape Town. We found the perfect balance between tranquil relaxation and activities in a predator-free wilderness setting. This Relais & Chateaux lodge’s service was top-notch, meals were exceptional, and an included wine tasting featured wines of the region. Activities featured morning and evening nature drives, bushman rock painting excursions, botanical walks, canoeing, archery, fly fishing, hiking, swimming and mountain biking. We stayed in the Ceder Falls II Cottage, a spacious deluxe room with an en-suite bathroom with both a soaking tub and separate shower. A private dinner for two (or for a special small group) at the Kadoro Shepherd’s Cottage is an absolute must.

Cedar Falls II Deluxe Room

Cedar Falls II Deluxe Room

Nature Drive at Bushmans Kloof

Nature Drive at Bushmans Kloof

Bushmans Kloof Kadoro Shepherd's Cottage

Bushmans Kloof Kadoro Shepherd’s Cottage

CAPE WINELANDS
For us, no trip to South Africa is complete without a visit to the wine farms and estates in the Cape Winelands in the Western Cape Province. South Africa most certainly produces some of the world’s finest wines – we just wish it were possible to purchase them at home.

We toured three areas just outside of Cape Town and our recommendations from this visit are:

  • ConstantiaGroot Constantia Estate – the first wine estate to be established in South Africa more than 300 years ago offers wine tasting, cellar tours, museums, restaurants.
  • FranschhoekLa Motte Wine Estate – wine tasting, restaurant, farm shop, museum, hiking trail. Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards – stop here for wine tasting and rotisserie lunch.
  • StellenboschErnie Els Winery – excellent for wine tasting and lunch with superior views. Blaauwklippen Wine Farm – wine tasting, bistro, picnics and gift shop.
Groot Constantia Wine Estate

Groot Constantia Wine Estate

Cape Winelands in South Africa

Cape Winelands in South Africa

ROVOS RAIL
St James Manor House ~ a Rovos Rail property
The elegant and luxurious St James Manor House is a 5-star guesthouse looking out over False Bay. Showcasing classic appeal, the manor is perfectly situated for easy access to Boulders Beach (to see the penguins), Cape of Good Hope, Cape Winelands, Cape Town’s city center and ideal for a night or two before or after taking a Rovos Rail journey.

St James Manor House

St James Manor House

Pride of Africa ~ train journey
Travelling 1600 kms across South Africa on Rovos Rail’s Pride of Africa is one of the world’s greatest train journeys. Rovos Rail, with their theme of luxurious, wood-paneled carriages brimming with old-world charm, makes the Cape Town to Pretoria train journey a most memorable experience. In our opinion, there is something quite nostalgic about watching the Highveld, Karoo and Transvaal roll by as you sit in luxury in one of Rovos Rail’s historic carriages, and the train clickety-clacks along at speeds no greater than 60 km/hr (37 mph).

Rovos Rail Pride of Africa Luxury Train

Rovos Rail Pride of Africa Luxury Train

Rovos Rail Impala Suite

Rovos Rail Impala Suite

BIG 5 SAFARI
When we’re asked for our first choice of an all-inclusive, 5-star safari experience in South Africa, the name that is on the tip of our tongues is andBeyond, as they strive to make every safari experience extraordinary, regardless of the occasion. We booked three nights at Phinda Mountain Lodge at the 56,000-acre Phinda Private Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal, and the facilities were exceptional. Here, the Big 5 (elephant, lion, leopard, water buffalo, rhino) is abundant, and we participated in morning and afternoon game drives in search of these and other animals. Unfortunately, the leopard remained elusive… but that means we must return again soon.

Big 5 Safari at Phinda Private Game Reserve

Big 5 Safari at Phinda Private Game Reserve

andBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge

andBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge

Lions at Phinda Private Game Reserve

Lions at Phinda Private Game Reserve

DURBAN
The Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga near Durban epitomizes everything we seek in a 5-star property – fantastic location (on the beach), excellent service (from the moment we arrived looking disheveled from a morning safari), divine dining (incredible curry buffet and unique cocktails), and singular style (impeccable colonial-style architecture throughout the hotel). The infinity pool with views overlooking the Indian Ocean is one of the best we’ve experienced… anywhere! The genuine warmth of the staff we encountered made us feel right at home… a place we will return to again.

Indian Ocean and Umhlanga Lighthouse

Indian Ocean and Umhlanga Lighthouse

Oyster Box Hotel

Oyster Box Hotel

Oyster Box Hotel Garden Pool

Oyster Box Hotel Garden Pool

Note: WAVEJourney were media guests of  the above properties between November 15-December 2, 2014. Read our full disclosure statement to see that this has no effect on our articles, reviews, and/or opinions.

 

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