Senior Marketing Coordinator Austin Vollmer experienced the wonder of South Africa during a 2-week trip. She shares 3 ways to experience the magnificent country below.
When you think of South Africa, most people think of the amazing wildlife and safari drives in the “bush”. But after spending two weeks in this fabulously diverse country, I saw that it offers so much more. From the bustling cities to the wine lands to the notorious wildlife (I’m still dreaming of the lion roars that kept us up at night), South Africa has something for everyone. Foodies, nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike can all find something truly memorable in this country. Dylan and Gavin with Africa Inscribed showed us the highlights of the country in true fashion.
Way 1: Safari – Greater Kruger Park
The lions, the elephants, the leopards—oh my! Who knew such sumptuous luxury could be found within the authentic African bush?!
From tented camps to modern tree-houses, our accommodations were the epitome of “glamping” (I even got to sleep in Elton John’s favorite suite at The Royal Malewane – a totally over the top “elegantly rustic” camp with amazing game-viewing and guides).
With 2 daily game-drives in an open-air vehicle (plus one walking safari and one bicycle safari), we were totally immersed in these wild animal’s natural habitats. Our guides were an indispensable resource as they showed us the “who’s who” and “what’s what” of the bush that they are so passionate about. We were taught the different family dynamics among lion prides, showed a particular elephant’s favorite watering hole, and they even prepared gourmet snacks and drinks at the end of each day (aka “sundowners” in the safari lingo)
Way 2: Cape Town
After an incredible time in the bush, I got to put away my khakis and binoculars to enjoy this bustling water-front city. The Cape Grace is THE hotel to stay in as it puts you right on the famed V&A waterfront and has rooms overlooking the marina. From the azure waters to the striking and dramatic views of Table Mountain, Cape Town boasts a dramatic sky line that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
The shopping was great, the food was fantastic (fresh seafood was a nice change to all the gourmet game we’d been enjoying in the bush), and the people were so friendly. Cape Town reminded me a bit of San Francisco with the steep hills, charming neighborhoods, and laid back vibe.
Way 3: Winelands
Though just a mere 45-minute drive from Cape Town, the South African Winelands feel a world away. With lush, green rolling pastures and stunning vistas, the charming villages in this area felt like a calm retreat from the big city. We got to experience unique tastings (think a chocolate and wine pairing and an olive oil tasting) at a few vineyards.
My personal favorite wine was at a gorgeous historical home called Vergelegen. And good news—Vergelegen is currently working with a distributor in the U.S. so be on the lookout for these delicious wines state-side! Our time in the winelands was highlighted with a stay at the stunning Royal Portfolio property, La Residence, which is located in the charming village of Franschoek. La Residence boasts its own private vineyard with incredible views of the mountains and truly feels like you’re staying in a friend’s (very luxurious) villa. The village of Franschoek is darling and features tons of cute shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
My time is this magnificent country has truly changed me forever. The people are some of the most hospitable and genuine I’ve ever encountered. I’m already dreaming about my next visit!