Named one of the top destinations to visit year after year, South Africa truly is a place that has it all. Whether you’re into adventure, food and wine, or experiencing something off the beaten path, this country will leave you wanting more. After spending some time exploring South Africa on my way to Kenya, there are a few things that stand out to me that I highly recommend newcomers experience for themselves. With that, I give you 5 amazing places to unplug in South Africa (and trust me, they really are amazing).
NThambo Tree Camp
One of the coolest experiences during my time in South Africa (and the one thing I continually get asked about) is my stay at nThambo Tree Camp which is a property owned by Sun Safaris. Located in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, (which shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park) the camp caters for only 10 guests at a time ensuring a very exclusive experience. Accommodation consists of five comfortable tree-house type chalets built on stilts offering en-suite facilities overlooking the bush. My tree-house even had it’s own shower/bathroom.
The room was comfortable and truly offered the ‘African bush’ experience in a comfortable setting. Although they do have wifi on property, they also offer two safari tours a day (one at sunrise and one at sunset) and a beautiful pool and lounge area to relax in and take in the great outdoors.
They also have a no cell-phone policy in the main lounge area, which I feel more properties around the world need to embrace.
They also do their very best to be a solar and eco-friendly camp, and after getting to know their staff, I discovered that this is family-run property that’s been around since 1948.They try to have as little impact on the bush as possible and often have animals come and go and around the camp (elephants will even sometimes come to the pool for a drink of water!).
Table Mountain, Cape Town
When it comes to the most beautiful places in the world, Table Mountain is easily at the top of the list. Offering 360 panoramic views of Cape Town, I recommend heading up on the cable car just before sunset when you can experience this beautiful city during magic hour.
This was one of the first things I did when I arrived in Cape Town and I knew in this moment that this country was a very special place I was so lucky to explore.
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Merely two hours outside of Cape Town between the mountain and sea, sits the stunning Grootbos Private Nature Reserve. This five-star eco-paradise truly showcases the incredible flora and marine life of the southern tip of Africa. Home to the “Marine Big 5” this property offers you a one-of-a-kind luxury experience. From the Cave Walks, to the many boat excursions (including Cage Diving with Great White Sharks and Whale Watching) there is no shortage of things to see and experience here. In fact, I was so tired from doing so much in one day, I had to remind myself to take a break.
Creation Wine Estate
Let’s be honest, one of the best ways to unplug and unwind is with a good glass of vino. So I was thrilled to stumble upon Creation Wine Estate on my way from Cape Town to Gansbaii. The name ‘Creation’ is not only a tribute to the riches Mother Nature has bestowed upon the beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, it is also a reference to the virgin land in which their vines were established.
I recommend the lunch wine pairing canapes which gives you a taste of their various types of wine paired with just the right food to bring out their incredible flavours. They do an excellent job educating visitors about wines and what foods bring out their flavours. The menu included pineapple and basil gazpacho with prawns, cauliflower and gorgonzola soup with sourdough herbed croutes and buchu scented duck confit just to name a few.
This region is best known for making the best pinot noir and their wines have won numerous awards. Most recently, Creation won the coveted Great Wine Capitals of the World Award for Most Innovative Wine Estate in South Africa. After spending an afternoon there, it’s clearly evident to see why.
If South Africa is on your bucketlist, I highly recommend checking out one (or all) of the suggestions above. Each experience offers something completely unique from the next, and no matter what type of traveller you are, I can promise that South Africa will not disappoint when it comes to making memories to last a lifetime.