Why Southern Africa is a Foodie’s Surprise Holiday of a Lifetime

Africa

Couples enjoying a picnic at Kruger National Park, South Africa

Ask any group of globetrotters to tell you why they want to visit South Africa and most of them will probably say “safari!” A few history buffs might be keen on visiting the former lands of the Zulus, or taking a “walk to freedom,” exploring the country’s apartheid history. A few might even have their intrepid hearts set on cage diving with great white sharks.

After visiting however, you might start asking why more people aren’t going to South Africa for the food.

We’re not just talking about braai (South African barbecue) or the ubiquitous bunny chow, South Africa’s most famous (and delicious) street food. This is a country with serious culinary diversity and credibility, from the output of its fabled Winelands to restaurants that rank among the finest in the world.

Besides being fully escorted tours led by an expert Tour Director, with fabulous accommodations, a chance to sample unique, local experiences off the usual tourist grid, and of course our exclusive “Promise of Something Special,” Goway’s Holidays of a Lifetime are also designed to tantilize your taste buds. The Splendours of Southern Africa is no exception, and several meals on this itinerary take passengers to the finest restaurants in the Western Cape region.

And yes, there are some meals left at leisure for when it’s time to try the bunny chow.

Suggested Itinerary:
12-Day Splendours of Southern Africa

Sunrise over the Western Cape with Cape Town and Table Mountain viewed from the Ou Kaapse Weg, South Africa
Sunrise over the Western Cape with Cape Town and Table Mountain viewed from the Ou Kaapse Weg

Opulence and Elegance: A GOLDen Taste of Cape Town

GOLD Restaurant Cape Town isn’t exactly going for understatement. From its initial smiles to its shimmering main bar, its greeting is bright! Yet this Cape Town institution of African culture and cuisine has atmosphere to spare, weaving the best aspects of a lively music venue into a must-do culinary experience. A visit to GOLD serves up an African feast with live entertainment that is pure South Africa. You might be treated to a program of praise singing, Mali puppetry, or dance, set to the traditional rhythms of Africa. The performances might originate from anywhere on the continent, but they come together to leave a mark on your heart and palate right in the centre of Cape Town. After 14 courses, you might even feel like you’ve tasted Africa in miniature without ever leaving your table.

Served with a smile at Gold
Served with a smile at Gold restaurant

Tasting the Cape: A Five-Course Lunch at the Foodbarn

Just outside of Cape Town, one of South Africa’s most delicious discoveries hides behind an unpretentious name. The flavours at The Foodbarn offers a five-course tasting menu with matching wines, offering creative takes on simple favourites. Taking advantage of Cape Town’s idyllic weather and perfect position at the meeting point between two oceans, the menu brings the freshest flavours of the sea together with traditional favourites made with the best local produce. Wines are carefully selected and paired with each course to enhance those flavours. Respect, expertise, and love are at the heart of Foodbarn’s approach. Yet they also like to keep things simple, allowing all your senses to focus where they should – on your meal and lunchtime company.

Foodbarn Restaurant interior in Noordhoek, Cape Town, South Africa _ Photo credit: Franck Dangereux
Foodbarn Restaurant interior in Noordhoek, Cape Town, South Africa | Photo credit: Franck Dangereux, The Foodbarn

Babylonstoren, Winelands

Recognizable by their whitewashed walls, thatched roofing, wooden shutters, and lengthy horizontal shapes, traditional Cape Dutch houses dot South Africa’s famous Winelands. In some of these attractive buildings, one can find the region’s most lauded wineries, producing the signature flavours of the Cape including its famous chenin blanc. Among the oldest of the Cape Dutch farms is Babylonstoren, dating all the way back to 1692. Livening your table with the freshest fruit, vegetables, berries, and meats, the farm raises ducks, chickens, and more among its gardens, which are also designed to nourish the local bee and native plant populations. 88 hectares (217 acres) of Babylonstoren are devoted to vineyards, cultivating 13 different grape varieties. The property offers cellar tours to give an insight into its process, and of course, tastings! Goway’s Splendours of Southern Africa includes a tasting at Babylonstoren after a light lunch at its Greenhouse restaurant.

Suggested Itinerary:
12-Day Splendours of Southern Africa

Lavender field at Babylonstoren farm, Cape Winelands, South Africa
Lavender field at Babylonstoren farm, Cape Winelands

What About the Rest of the Trip?

A quick look at the Splendours of Southern Africa itinerary reveals that it isn’t just about the Cape, or even South Africa, for that matter. Splendours await you in neighbouring Botswana, and at Victoria Falls, the spectacular curtain of water where Zambia and Zimbabwe meet. One of the first things you’ll notice about the “Smoke That Thunders” is the series of deep gorges the Zambezi River follows after it plunges over the precipice. Each was once a threshold of the falls themselves, so what better place to enjoy a lunchtime view?

Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe

Another quintessential Africa experience is sitting down to dine overlooking a waterhole. It sounds simple enough, but remember that these are gathering places for animals of every kind. There’s truly nothing quite like having the safari come to you while enjoying dinner, lunch, or even just a sundowner.

Being in the African bush doesn’t mean having to skimp on creature comforts. Game drives are exciting, but they can also be grueling, so it’s worth paying that little bit extra for comfortable accommodation to return to in between excursions, whether it’s a tented camp or a safari lodge. That comfort extends to your table. Kapama Southern Camp in South Africa, for example, invites you to dine under the stars, watching their chefs in real time as another atmospheric Kruger night descends. To the north, Botswana’s lodges are all about safaris that offer high value with a low density of fellow visitors. Chobe Game Lodge is positioned right on the Chobe River in the country’s most popular national park, offering a dining terrace area with access to boardwalk lookouts and an open-air patio, so you never know which animals might join you for dinner (from a safe distance of course)!

Kapama Game Reserve suite, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kapama Game Reserve suite interior, Kruger National Park, South Africa

While the cuisine of Southern Africa will delight and surprise you, it’s just one aspect of Goway’s Splendours of Southern Africa trip. Visiting Kruger National Park, South Africa’s Cape region, Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park, you’ll see multiple sides of this incredible region. As one of Goway’s signature Holidays of a Lifetime, each departure features its own “fun theme” to bring out the aspects of Southern Africa that inspire you. Add in the exclusive “Promise of Something Special,” and Splendours of Southern Africa will be one of the most memorable, and delicious trips you’ll ever take.

Suggested Itinerary:
12-Day Splendours of Southern Africa