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One of Goway’s veteran globetrotters, Dave Zolis, has travelled all over the world. He recently added South Africa and the Seychelles to his list of globetrotting adventures, returning with insights for travelers heading to South Africa, as well as the agents helping to get them there.
1) What cities/places did you visit in South Africa?
We started in beautiful Cape Town at the Southern Sun Cullinan, a wonderful hotel with an amazing pool and cozy lobby lounge. From there, we had the pleasure of spending a few days exploring the city, including Table Mountain, Signal Hill, and Lions Head, plus the coastal areas including the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa in Camps Bay. This is one of the most beautiful locations in the Western Cape to see the sunset and enjoy the views. We also stayed at the Victoria and Alfred Hotel and the Table Bay Hotel, both exquisite properties in their own right, directly on the waterfront and surrounded by magnificent shopping, entertainment, and dining options, all in the heart of the city.
After a magical few days in and around Cape Town, the group then travelled east of the city to Stellenbosch and the Cape Winelands area. Here, we spent a magnificent night at the Babylonstoren Farm Hotel, with incredible vineyards and panoramic mountain vistas. The crisp fall weather was the perfect backdrop for an incredible adventure off the beaten track.
Leaving the Western Cape behind, we then flew about 2.5 hours across the country to the small air strip that is Hoedspruit, located just on the western edge of Kruger National Park. Our home for the following two nights would be the fabulous Kapama River Lodge, sister property to the Kapama Private Game Lodge. The various luxury resorts that comprise Kapama welcomed us with open arms, including Karula and the Buffalo Camp. It was a wonderful way to relax in complete comfort between our safari adventures and game drives.
Rounding out the week, and with much sadness, but also anticipation for what was in store, we left the animals and the wonders of Kapama behind, flying from Hoedspruit back over to Johannesburg. Our final night in South Africa was spent at the Piermont Mondior hotel and entertainment complex, enjoying the indoor promenade with casino and fabulous entrainment and shopping facilities.
2) What was your highlight and why?
Quite honestly, every day was incredible, but I would say the highlight for me was the game drives, and seeing all of the Big 5 at Kapama. The staff, and our guide and tracker, Mike and Mike, were absolutely amazing.
3) What was your favorite property and why?
They all were mind-blowing in terms of luxury, beauty, and hospitality, each in their own right, but I would say the night we stayed at the Babylonstoren Farm in Stellenbosch and the two nights at Kapama were the most notable. To be with the animals in their environment, with the wonders of Kruger surrounding us was life altering. In Stellenbosch, the fresh air and the rows and rows of rolling Winelands, even if you’re not a huge wine drinker, was an experience beyond description.
4) What are some interesting excursions or itineraries you would recommend?
I would absolutely recommend visiting Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto, outside Jo’burg. For those who are more adventurous, parasailing from Lions Head in Cape Town, and the Soweto Tower free fall experience in Jo’burg are both incredible adventures! The drive from Cape Town out to Stellenbosch, even if just to take in the small-town vibe and picturesque landscape is well worth the time also.
5) Finally, what are your ‘top tips’ for those visiting (or selling) South Africa?
Take the time to stay outside the larger cities, like at the 12 Apostles for example, near Cape Town. Stay one or two nights on the waterfront downtown, then leave the city behind and spend some time in the winelands area to enjoy all it has to offer. I highly recommend adding on to your SA vacation as well. I flew from Johannesburg to Seychelles. It’s an easy 5-hour direct flight to Victoria, and a perfect relaxing (and romantic) add on to a South Africa vacation.
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