EPIC ROAD'S SAFARI BLOG

Entries in south africa winelands (2)

Thursday
Oct082015

When to Travel to South Africa

If you're planning a luxury holiday in South Africa, you want to make sure to pick a time that allows you to make the most of your vacation. So first things first, before choosing when to travel to South Africa, start compiling a list of things you want to do during your stay. You can then use this guide to decide when the best time to travel to South Africa is for you. *Northern hemisphere dwellers wanting to know when to travel to South Africa should keep one important fact in mind: seasons are reversed below the equator, so Christmas happens during the summer while July brings occasional snow showers. 

The Best Time to go on a South African Safari 

Kruger National Park is one of Africa's most popular attractions. During the spring and summer holidays, thousands of families flock to this 20,000 square kilometer game reserve with hopes of seeing some of Africa's most famous wildlife including lions, giraffes, zebra, hippos and rhinoceroses. Consequently, the best time to go on a safari in South Africa (i.e. peak season) is June through November - though April & May and December & January are also very good. The weather is beautiful and the low vegetation and plentiful water sources guarantee great game viewing. (Also, you won't have to deal with mosquitoes). And for marine life lovers, the best time for whale watching in South Africa coincides with their migration season - July to September. 

When to go Hiking in South Africa

If you want a clear view of South Africa's majestic mountaintops, late April through early June offers crisp hiking weather in Cape Town. If you dare to hike the mighty Drakensberg, the best time to go hiking South Africa's top tier is anytime other than mid-summer or mid-winter. That being said, be prepared for all types of weather patterns at all times. 

Best Time for a Beach Holiday in South Africa

The warm waters of the Indian Ocean invite people to the city of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal all year round. Cape Town's beaches are most popular between the months of November and April, including Christmas & New Year's. Nightlife and international tourism peak in January, making it the best time to visit Cape Town for those who love to mingle. During late summer and early autumn, beaches are less populated and far more conducive to a quiet getaway. 

When to Visit South Africa's Winelands

South Africa's wineries are well stocked all year long. For nature lovers, the best time to visit the South African winelands is during autumn and spring as you'll get to see the lush flora fill the sweeping hillsides. For foodies, the best time to go to the winelands is during the cooler months between June and August. You'll have an easy time getting reservations at Cape Town's five star restaurants, and you'll get to enjoy winter events such as the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, a 10-day celebration of South African dance, theatre, film and music. 

RECAP: When to Travel to South Africa

There are dozens of seasonal attractions that bring different types of travelers from all over the globe. For example, the world renowned Namaqualand daisies bloom in September, which also happens to be the month of the famous Zulu reed dance festival. If you want to go scuba diving, the annual sardine run between May and July is the best time to swim with South Africa's sharks and dolphins. So, as you can see, the best time to travel to South Africa widely depends on how you want to spend your time. 

Thursday
Jun062013

Wine and Dine in Africa

winelands south africa

Harvesting of grapes at a winery in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Embarking on a safari might top your to-do list while visiting South Africa, but don't forget about the local African wine and cuisine. Great food paired with great wine may be considered a luxury in our daily lives, but on this continent it is not such a rare find. The farm-to-table movement sweeping U.S. gourmet cuisine is alive and thriving in South Africa, and has been for years. Farm-to-table means using fresh, local ingredients to enhance taste, health, and sustainability. 

Primarily along the Cape, high-end chefs are cooking with vegetables from their on-premise gardens, seafood from the near coasts, and meat raised in local valleys. From traditional South African food to experimental gastronomy, only the freshest of ingredients are dominating top restaurants. And dinner is rarely complete without a careful pairing of one of the country's best wines. 

Some of the finest restaurants and wineries in the world can be found in the winelands surrounding Cape Town, and many of them incorporate their own luxury lodgings. Delight in exquisite African wine and cuisine while enjoying Africa's top hotels.

Delaire Graff Estate

Lodging overlooking the vineyards of the Delaire Graff Estate.

Where to Stay

Le Quartier Francais

On the Western Cape, Le Quartier Francais’ cottage-inspired suites are nestled in lush gardens that offer tranquility amidst the liveliness of Franschhoek. The luxury hotel houses two award-winning restaurant experiences: innovative fine dining in the Tasting Room and tapas-style cuisine in the Common Room. Both are run by Food Network’s 2012 Chef of the Year, Margot Janse. Both are notably vegan and vegetarian friendly. Even the hotel’s available cooking classes use locally grown and seasonal produce. 

The Steenberg Luxury Hotel

Surrounded by gorgeous views of the Constantia Winelands, The Steenberg is situated on the Cape’s oldest running farm. The location allows for both the freshest local cuisine and best African wines, with an emphasis contemporary South African flavors. Guests are welcome to have an impromptu wine tasting at the Wine Tasting Bar or schedule a longer experience in the ambiance of the Wine Tasting Lounge. Catharina, The Steenberg’s acclaimed fine dining restaurant upholds chef Garth Almazan’s philosophy that a meal should be as fresh and minimal as possible. 

One & Only Cape Town

For a more urban experience, One & Only offers modern elegance while maintaining the authenticity of South African city life. The accommodations are exquisitely furnished with color palettes inspired by the vibrancy of African culture. This same tribute to Cape Town can be felt in the food at Reuben’s, the hotel’s on-site restaurant, which prides itself on beautifully crafted dishes with big flavors. Beloved South African chef Reuben Riffel collaborates with the country’s top winemakers to host Wine & Dine Evenings that allow guests to indulge in the diverse tastes of South Africa. 

Delaire

One of South Africa’s most historic wine regions, Stellenbosch, is the backdrop to the Delaire Graff Estate. Once exclusively a farm, the lodge now houses two gourmet restaurants, a spa, two boutiques, and a winery. The estate’s executive chef Christiaan Campbell creates what he likes to call ‘sunshine cuisine’, meaning his clients are brought to life through his food, which uses only ethically sourced ingredients. Owner Laurence Graff also displays his personal collection of South Africa’s contemporary artwork, making Deliare an incredibly unique culinary, hospitality, and fine art destination.