The mountainside picnics at The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa are simply unbeatable.

South Africa | Private Game Reserve, Winelands & Cape | 8 Nights Sand Sand Game Reserve, Franschoek & Cape Town

Whether your interests run to the gastronomic or taxonomic, South Africa has something for everyone. This luxury South African safari of eight nights includes ocean views in Cape Town, epicurean delights and wonderful wines in Franschhoek and unforgettable wildlife in the Sabi Sand/Greater Kruger area.

Three nights at Tree Camp

Londolozi Game Reserve, where Tree Camp is located, is part of the renowned Sabi Sand game reserve that adjoins Kruger National Park, and the lack of boundary fences makes for spectacular wildlife viewing. Above all, Londolozi is known for the quality of its leopard sightings, where you can often see big cats up close, and we got off to a flying start on our first game drive from this luxury South African safari lodge, watching a female delicately transport her new cub to a new den. As dusk crept in, we watched those same jaws snap shut just behind a startled guinea fowl. Our guide, Frank, assured us that she would hunt again that night so she could suckle her cub. The following morning, we had a change of pace and mode of transport, setting off on a guided walk to learn how to track animals on foot. True enough, the first spoor we saw was that of a large male leopard, but for safety reasons Frank advised against pursuing it. Instead, we followed giraffe tracks and watched these graceful animals strip acacia leaves from thorny branches. Simultaneously, we had the sensation of being watched, and turned to see the curved tail of a leopard vanish behind a rock on the slope above us. We decided to really relax for our last full day, beginning with an outdoor yoga session that left us both serene and famished. We needn’t have worried – it was just a short stroll to the suspended deck among the leadwood trees with a magnificent breakfast buffet spread. A herd of elephant came down to the far bank of the Sand River to drink, and watching them, plus enjoying a couple of excellent coffees, saw the morning slip by. Not a problem – we were perfectly situated for lunch, too! Massages on our private deck, plus sunset Méthode Cap Classique sparkling wine, completed a perfectly lazy – and perfect – safari day.

Londolozi Game Reserve, where Tree Camp is located, is part of the renowned Sabi Sand game reserve that adjoins Kruger National Park, and the lack of boundary fences makes for spectacular wildlife viewing. Above all, Londolozi is known for the quality of its leopard sightings, where you can often see big cats up close, and we got off to a flying start on our first game drive from this luxury South African safari lodge, watching a female delicately transport her new cub to a new den. As dusk crept in, we watched those same jaws snap shut just behind a startled guinea fowl. Our guide, Frank, assured us that she would hunt again that night so she could suckle her cub.

The following morning, we had a change of pace and mode of transport, setting off on a guided walk to learn how to track animals on foot. True enough, the first spoor we saw was that of a large male leopard, but for safety reasons Frank advised against pursuing it. Instead, we followed giraffe tracks and watched these graceful animals strip acacia leaves from thorny branches. Simultaneously, we had the sensation of being watched, and turned to see the curved tail of a leopard vanish behind a rock on the slope above us.

We decided to really relax for our last full day, beginning with an outdoor yoga session that left us both serene and famished. We needn’t have worried – it was just a short stroll to the suspended deck among the leadwood trees with a magnificent breakfast buffet spread. A herd of elephant came down to the far bank of the Sand River to drink, and watching them, plus enjoying a couple of excellent coffees, saw the morning slip by. Not a problem – we were perfectly situated for lunch, too! Massages on our private deck, plus sunset Méthode Cap Classique sparkling wine, completed a perfectly lazy – and perfect – safari day.

Two nights at Le Quartier Français

Our sadness at leaving Tree Camp was alleviated by the views of Table Mountain as we approached Cape Town International Airport, and the warm smile of the driver who greeted us on arrival. The drive into the Cape Winelands from the city was a beautiful introduction to Franschhoek. Our driver explained some of the fascinating history of this region – and how it (and the rest of the Cape) came to be one of the world’s food and wine hotspots. We’d chosen Le Quartier Français not just for its exquisite garden cottage suites and pristine gardens, but because it was also home to La Petite Colombe, a famous restaurant specialising in adding a delightful – and theatrical – twists to classic dishes. It made for a wonderful – and epic, in the best sense of the word – epicurean evening. A horse ride through some of the neighbouring vineyards helped us work up an appetite – and quite a thirst … which meant we were powerless to resist sampling a few refreshing whites along the way. My partner thought he detected a gleam of envy in the eyes of his mount, as the horses made do with water. I made a mental note of our favourite wines, and we found each of them on the wine list in our boutique hotel’s  ‘second’ restaurant, the relaxed Garden Room. The sommelier helped us pair them with delightful tapas as we whiled away a sunny afternoon. It was a wonderful introduction to wine tasting in the Cape Winelands.

Our sadness at leaving Tree Camp was alleviated by the views of Table Mountain as we approached Cape Town International Airport, and the warm smile of the driver who greeted us on arrival.

The drive into the Cape Winelands from the city was a beautiful introduction to Franschhoek. Our driver explained some of the fascinating history of this region – and how it (and the rest of the Cape) came to be one of the world’s food and wine hotspots. We’d chosen Le Quartier Français not just for its exquisite garden cottage suites and pristine gardens, but because it was also home to La Petite Colombe, a famous restaurant specialising in adding a delightful – and theatrical – twists to classic dishes. It made for a wonderful – and epic, in the best sense of the word – epicurean evening.

A horse ride through some of the neighbouring vineyards helped us work up an appetite – and quite a thirst … which meant we were powerless to resist sampling a few refreshing whites along the way. My partner thought he detected a gleam of envy in the eyes of his mount, as the horses made do with water. I made a mental note of our favourite wines, and we found each of them on the wine list in our boutique hotel’s  ‘second’ restaurant, the relaxed Garden Room. The sommelier helped us pair them with delightful tapas as we whiled away a sunny afternoon. It was a wonderful introduction to wine tasting in the Cape Winelands.

Three nights at The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa

From Franschhoek our driver took us out of the valley, towards Cape Town, with the remarkable Table Mountain looming over us. En route, we exchanged the floral bouquet of the Cape Winelands for the bracing Atlantic sea air. Choosing between an ocean- or a mountain-view room at The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa had not been easy, but our shared love of the sea just swung it for us. We arrived in good time to enjoy the sound of the waves and the crying gulls from our private terrace, before repairing to the Leopard Bar for high tea. We happily made plans for how to spend our time here. I made use of the Sport Buddy facility later in the afternoon – when a member of staff came and exercised with me – while my partner checked out the menu for the Azure Restaurant, where we dined that evening. We’d arrived in the Cape in the middle of whale season, so we decided to go on a whale-watching excursion on our second day at The 12 Apostles. Our cruise got off to a perfect start as dolphin cavorted in the spray beneath the prow, and a little while later we caught our first glimpse of their rather larger cousins. To be close to such immense yet peaceful creatures was a humbling experience, and we felt an immense sense of peace as the southern right whales surfaced not far from us, or exhaled in a cloud of spray. Contrary to many people’s expectations, there is still a lot of South Africa to explore to the south of Cape Town. The guide for our private tour of the Cape Peninsula proved to be an expert on everything from shipwrecks to penguins. He knew a secret picnic spot just away from the Cape Point lighthouse, and the hamper of treats from the hotel fortified us for the drive back to the city, where we had an even more delicious feast in store: dinner at the legendary Test Kitchen restaurant. This meal alone would justify Cape Town’s inclusion on any list of the world’s gourmet capitals.

From Franschhoek our driver took us out of the valley, towards Cape Town, with the remarkable Table Mountain looming over us. En route, we exchanged the floral bouquet of the Cape Winelands for the bracing Atlantic sea air.

Choosing between an ocean- or a mountain-view room at The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa had not been easy, but our shared love of the sea just swung it for us. We arrived in good time to enjoy the sound of the waves and the crying gulls from our private terrace, before repairing to the Leopard Bar for high tea. We happily made plans for how to spend our time here. I made use of the Sport Buddy facility later in the afternoon – when a member of staff came and exercised with me – while my partner checked out the menu for the Azure Restaurant, where we dined that evening.

We’d arrived in the Cape in the middle of whale season, so we decided to go on a whale-watching excursion on our second day at The 12 Apostles. Our cruise got off to a perfect start as dolphin cavorted in the spray beneath the prow, and a little while later we caught our first glimpse of their rather larger cousins. To be close to such immense yet peaceful creatures was a humbling experience, and we felt an immense sense of peace as the southern right whales surfaced not far from us, or exhaled in a cloud of spray.

Contrary to many people’s expectations, there is still a lot of South Africa to explore to the south of Cape Town. The guide for our private tour of the Cape Peninsula proved to be an expert on everything from shipwrecks to penguins. He knew a secret picnic spot just away from the Cape Point lighthouse, and the hamper of treats from the hotel fortified us for the drive back to the city, where we had an even more delicious feast in store: dinner at the legendary Test Kitchen restaurant. This meal alone would justify Cape Town’s inclusion on any list of the world’s gourmet capitals.

What sets it apart

South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation because of its cultural diversity, but this moniker could equally apply to the spectrum of experiences and activities on offer. As we travelled across our favourite African country (and that is high praise, believe me!) we frequently experienced new and marvellous things, but expert guides and first-rate, friendly service ensured that we were never out of our literal comfort zones, no matter how astonished our senses were.Our luxury South African safari was a sequence of superlatives – the best of everything this country has to offer. On previous safaris, we had not had much joy with spotting leopard – in contrast, Londolozi Game Reserve lived up to its reputation as one of the very best places to view these cryptic cats. While our eyes were sated by seeing no fewer than seven leopard in three nights at Tree Camp, it was the turn of our senses of touch and taste to be all but overwhelmed in Franschhoek and then Cape Town, as we allowed ourselves to sink into the comfort of Le Quartier Français and then The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa. Limbs that had been energised by walking safaris were rejuvenated by massage treatments. Palettes that had been cleansed by G&T sundowners overlooking the Sand River became the stage for dramatic and delicious interplays between exquisite food and the best vintages of the Cape Winelands, uncorked specially for us. All in all, it was a holiday in the best possible taste.

South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation because of its cultural diversity, but this moniker could equally apply to the spectrum of experiences and activities on offer.

As we travelled across our favourite African country (and that is high praise, believe me!) we frequently experienced new and marvellous things, but expert guides and first-rate, friendly service ensured that we were never out of our literal comfort zones, no matter how astonished our senses were.

Our luxury South African safari was a sequence of superlatives – the best of everything this country has to offer. On previous safaris, we had not had much joy with spotting leopard – in contrast, Londolozi Game Reserve lived up to its reputation as one of the very best places to view these cryptic cats.

While our eyes were sated by seeing no fewer than seven leopard in three nights at Tree Camp, it was the turn of our senses of touch and taste to be all but overwhelmed in Franschhoek and then Cape Town, as we allowed ourselves to sink into the comfort of Le Quartier Français and then The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa.

Limbs that had been energised by walking safaris were rejuvenated by massage treatments. Palettes that had been cleansed by G&T sundowners overlooking the Sand River became the stage for dramatic and delicious interplays between exquisite food and the best vintages of the Cape Winelands, uncorked specially for us. All in all, it was a holiday in the best possible taste.

Day 1–3

© Londolozi

You’ll be met as you disembark from your international flight at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, and assisted through customs and immigration. After a scheduled light aircraft flight to Sabi Sand in the Greater Kruger, you’ll take a transfer to Tree Camp, where you’ll spend three nights.

Day 4–5

Le Quartier Français is centrally located in Franschhoek. © Leeu Collection

After a transfer from Tree Camp to the airstrip, you’ll take a scheduled light-aircraft flight to Skukuza, and a connecting scheduled flight to Cape Town. You’ll then take a transfer to Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, where you’ll spend two nights.

 

Day 6–8

The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa has a prime position. © Red Carnation Hotels

A private transfer will take you from Le Quartier Francais to The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town, where you’ll spend three nights.

Day 9

South Africa is famous for its big-cat sightings. © Andrew Schoeman

A private transfer will take you from The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa to Cape Town International Airport, where you’ll take a scheduled flight to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and connect with your ongoing international flight.

  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, taking into account when you’d like to travel, how long you’d like to be away for, who you’d be travelling with, what safari lodge style you’d prefer, and more.
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