Never in my life have I so completely and immediately been taken by any land as I was by South Africa. The incredible varying landscape, joyful people and beautiful wildlife stole my heart immediately. And the wine… oh the wine! Clothes were sacrificed without regret to make more space in my suitcase for wine.
We started out in Capetown for a few days of vineyard excursions, amazing food and shopping. We based out of The Table Bay Hotel, which was incredibly beautiful and conveniently located so we were able to walk almost everywhere we wanted to go.
Vineyard: Steenberg (This brut was my favorite of all time)
Restaurant: Gold Restaurant
Shopping: The Red Shed
Activity: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
Excursion: Boulder’s Beach Penguin Colony
One day we were able to take a bus down to the Cape of Good Hope, where I literally sprinted down to Cape Point to stand at the southernmost tip of the African continent. I almost missed the bus as it was preparing to leave, but it was totally worth it! As you can see, it was pretty windy on the edge!
While in Capetown we also had the opportunity to visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and his closest supporters were imprisioned. It was a privilege to explore the island, see the cell where he was confined and learn more about the incredible group of people who lead the movement to end Apartheid.
After a few days in Capetown we took a tiny plane out to the Sabi Sabi Private Reserve, where we had the opportunity to go out on twice daily safaris with incredibly knowledgable rangers and trackers. There are no fences at Sabi Sabi, the animals are truly wild and are free to roam through the reserve, to and from the surrounding land as they please. However, the rangers are committed to providing a safe place for the animals when they do choose to spend time on the reserve through strong anti-poaching measures and ethical land management practices.
I was amazed at how many animals we were able to see! In addition to seeing all of the “Big Five” (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo) we saw zebra, kudu, springbok, warthog, a variety of birds and even a chameleon!
Two of my favorite moments were coming across a pair of male lions who were lounging after feasting on a kill, and encountering a baby rhino with its mother.
The care demonstrated by the guides and trackers towards the animals was truly touching. Every part of our safari experience was designed to be respectful to the animals and avoid putting any stress on them. Most of the time they just ignored us and went about their business.
In addition to the amazing safari outings, our time at Sabi Sabi was an absolute pleasure.I hope to spend more time there in the future!