South Africa

Staying at a lodge in the Kruger National Park makes for a perfect three-night safari experience. But is has to be the right lodge.

It is ideal to combine this with several days in Cape Town and the winelands region of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Alternatively, pair Cape Town with Hermanus, especially in whale-watching season, and follow South Africa’s Garden Route.

The Kruger offers a combination of extraordinary wildlife, including regular sightings of ‘the big five’; world-class luxury accommodation; an exquisite landscape with rivers and rocky boulders and dotted with euphorbia trees. But you need to get it right. What suits one won’t necessarily appeal to another.

With additional days to extend the safari experience, fly twenty minutes further west and add two or three nights in the Sabi Sands region for equally top-class lodges, with great wines – and the opportunity for leopard spotting.

A one-hour light aircraft flight from Kruger to Johannesburg is followed by an onward connection (under two hours) to Cape Town, a garden city by the ocean framed by the majestic Table Mountain. An incredible topography offers beautiful coastal scenery backed by majestic mountains, a wide choice of excellent restaurants, contemporary art, creative dining and relaxed beach life.

A forty-minute drive away or, better still, a short helicopter hop, and you can be in the winelands. Otherwise, take the coastal road and follow the Garden Route to where two oceans meet – the Atlantic and the Indian.

It needs careful planning and curating. Making the right hotel and restaurant choices is just a part of the trip. One bad meal and an evening is wasted; the wrong choice of lodge or hotel and your expectations can be seriously underwhelmed.

We recently returned from South Africa, reviewing our firm favourites and trying the new recommendations. Seeing everything through discerning eyes, shortlisting and contextualising is a part of what we do. It’s all in the details and has become an art form.

South Africa’s summer is starting to wind down, although temperatures reached well into the thirties Fahrenheit on certain days. Right now and next month are ideal times to go.

If South Africa is on your list for 2020 let us plan something unforgettable for you.