South Africa, for food, wine and animal lovers

Maggie Bush on 19 June 2015

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I was very lucky to be included on an educational trip to Cape Town, the Garden Route and Shamwari Game Reserve, hosted by Your Africa, South Africa Airlines and South Africa Tourism.

After an indirect flight from Heathrow via Johannesburg we landed in Cape Town.

On arrival in Cape Town we were taken on a tour to view the fabulous beach areas of Camps Bay and Clifton just outside the city an idea place to relax and chill at the beginning of a holiday. We visited the wonderfully modern V & A waterfront with it restaurants, bars and modern shopping mall. We went to The Market Place for lunch and we all couldn’t get over how reasonable the cost of food is. This was precedence for the whole of this trip superb quality food at reasonable prices.

We stayed out at the Vineyard Hotel which had a perfect setting at the back of Table Mountain in the quiet suburb of Newlands. This charming classic hotel is set in beautiful gardens, with an outside pool and a gorgeous Spa. A massage here is recommended after a long flight.

On day 2, we started with a short cruise to see a seal colony at Haut Bay, then we drove to Boulder Bay, to see the Jackass Penguin colony, walking amongst them was pretty special. Simons Town offered wonderful scenic coastal views and an outstanding sea food lunch at Black Marlin restaurant. Then we braved the wind and rain at Cape Point, otherwise known as the Cape of Good Hope.

The weather cleared and after two nights we drove inland towards Stellenbosch. On route we stopped at a Babylonstoren for a garden tour, a must for those interested in organic gardening. A special place that used to be a farm. The old farm buildings have been turned into accommodation, very tastefully decorated. There is even a Spa to relax in.

Arriving in Stellenbosch at lunchtime, we checked in to Oude Werf Hotel, which is very traditional and welcoming. The interior and gardens are very spacious for a town centre hotel. There is even a pool to relax by when the weather is warmer. A must in Stellenbosch is the Foodies on Foot Tour. An informative guide walks you round the town, informing on key points and stopping at the local shops to try their delicacies, ending with a stop in a local tea room for a trio of Cape deserts and a tea tasting session.

Our next day we left for Knysna, a six hour drive along the garden route. A pleasant drive with spectacular sea and mountain views. At Knysna we checked into the Protea Knysna Quays hotel in a central location, overlooking the harbour. Knysna waterfront is home to many shops, speciality boutiques and restaurants. Shortly after we set sail on the 'John Benn' for a sunset cruise where some lovely food and refreshments were served. A lovely way to spend an evening. During the day the Featherbed Company arrange trips to the Eco side of Knysna, a great place to explore Mother Nature at her best.

The following morning we set off for a malaria free private game reserve. Arriving at Shamwari Game Reserve we knew we were somewhere special, our base for two nights, two days and three game drives.

We stayed at one of the uniquely styles six safari lodges called Riverdene, a family friendly lodge with interconnecting rooms. They also offer a ‘Kids on Safari’ program. I was very impressed by the food that was served and the friendliness and enthusiasm of the staff. We got to have a look around most of the lodges. Each special in its own way. Over the two days our game driver managed to find all of the 'Big 5' as well as giraffe, zebras, hippos, monkeys, and many more species of wildlife and bird life. We also spent a few hours at Born Free and learnt how Shamwari is supporting this amazing project. Shamwari is all about conserving a vanishing way of life.

South Africa is an amazing country. It has so much variety from interesting cities, to wine lands, to beautiful countryside, to stunning coastline and of course an amazing safari experience. The food and wine is some of the best in the world.

An experience I’ll never forget.

If you want to go an experience something real special, give me a call and I’ll arrange a fantastic holiday to South Africa for you.

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