Zebra, Kruger National Park

Eat. Sleep. Safari - A First Time Visit To South Africa

Incredible is the only way to describe my recent trip to South Africa with our partners at The Africa Safari Co!

Jabulani Safari Lodge - Kruger National Park

My trip started when I arrived in Johannesburg for a short one-night stay. The next day, we flew to Hoedspruit to begin our adventure at Kruger National Park. My first night in Kruger National Park was at Jabulani Safari Lodge, blending luxury with a traditional hunting lodge ambiance and a staff that goes above and beyond. Jabulani is recognised as one of South Africa’s most respected five-star safari lodges. We spent one night here, filled with food, fun and incredible game drives with ranger Tylor. The attention to detail is second to none; the chef kindly went out of the way to prepare an entirely different three-course menu to cater to food intolerances.

Jabulani also played a key role in creating HERD (Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development). This is South Africa’s first dedicated elephant orphanage, providing a safe place to care for and rehabilitate orphaned elephants facing traumatic challenges that have led to abandonment, until they can be integrated into the welcoming Jabulani herd.

During our stay, I had the opportunity to take part in their elephant encounter, where I met and fed three bull elephants from the Jabulani herd. This was undoubtedly the highlight of my stay with Jabulani!

Elephant, Kruger National Park

Kapama Private Game Reserve - Limpopo Province & Kruger National Park 

We were then picked up by our new guide, Rassie and taken to Kapama Private Game Reserve. All the staff were incredibly warm and welcoming, and their big, beautiful smiles were unforgettable. Kapama is a larger property with six different lodges, each offering various accommodation styles ranging from the ultra-luxurious Kapama Karula to the adventurous Romantic Sleepout platform, catering to all tastes.

With our fantastic ranger, Rassie, we had the chance to encounter numerous wild African animals. Each game drive was unique, from spotting a day-old baby giraffe to having lions within arm's reach of our vehicle. In between sightings, Rassie shared stories about his experiences as a ranger.

During our time here, we enjoyed fresh early morning game drives with coffee and cakes, indulged in multiple three-course meals and experienced evening game drives. However, it's not all about safaris - both lodges offer well-designed spa, gym and pool facilities. The staff tended to our every need so well that it was hard to imagine leaving!

Zebra, Limpopo Province

Table Bay Hotel & More Quarters - Cape Town 

Cape Town awaited us with just a short 3-hour flight from Hoedspruit. We were greeted by our transfer driver and taken to our first hotel in Cape Town, The Table Bay Hotel. The city itself has so much to offer - it's a lively and vibrant place that stretches around the iconic Table Mountain and meets the sea.

From fabulous immersive dining experiences to markets packed with traditional African art, jewelry and clothing, to a wealth of history and art galleries, there is plenty to admire, along with a variety of food and shopping options. Our time was filled with all these activities, so my advice is to approach Cape Town with an empty stomach and comfortable shoes for exploring the city streets and the top of Table Mountain!

Lion's Head, Cape Town

Franschhoek Country House & Villas - Franschhoek Valley Wine Region

After our last night in Cape Town, we checked out of our final hotel, More Quarters and hit the road to Franschhoek, deep into South African wine country. Franschhoek's scenery is absolutely stunning. It's the perfect place to taste a variety of wines and nibble away all day without a care. The first winery we visited for a wine and chocolate pairing is one of South Africa’s oldest wine estates, Boschendal, with over 330 years of winemaking tradition. It's beautifully set in the picturesque valley of the Cape Winelands. I want to note that I'm not a wine drinker at all, but I really enjoyed most of the wines presented at our tasting by Boschendal.

Onto the next tasting at Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, just a short drive away and positioned higher in the mountains, providing Mullineux & Leeu with a sweeping view of the valley and mountains. The Straw wine from Mullineux’s collection was definitely a favourite here.

Now onto lunch and… more wine! At Mont Rochelle, amazing wine and food are just the beginning. Our group had the opportunity to inspect the restaurant, accommodation facilities and spa. The work that has gone into building such a wonderful property experience is amazing. The kitchen even prepared a lovely birthday surprise for one of the girls in our group, just a small example of the attention to detail at Mont Rochelle.

Last but not least on our wine-tasting adventure, Klein Goederust. Established in 1905, Klein Goederust has an interesting history as Franschhoek’s first black-owned boutique wine farm.

Our accommodation at Franschhoek Country House & Villas boasts exceptional five-star hospitality and facilities. We filled our last morning with art galleries, photo-taking and of course, shopping! From gorgeous high-end boutiques to African market stalls… money was well spent!

Franschhoek Valley Wine Region

Later that afternoon, it was our turn to say goodbye to Franschhoek and later Africa. As we were transferred to Cape Town International Airport by Jarat Tours again, we all reflected on the once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much. Sharing these experiences, we all became such a tight-knit group instantly.

Eventually, the time came for me to say goodbye to this incredible country and board my flight for Dubai and onto the next adventure, but that’s another story entirely.

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