Image Courtesy of Tied Alan Stedman
Many people ask me what is my favorite country. I always liken it to choosing children; I can't possibly choose just one. I love them all for different reasons. However, if they dig deeper, they will get me to admit that I do love all things Africa. That's apparent as we offer three trips to African countries.
I would recommend Africa to anyone and everyone, for various and extensive reasons. I would even take it a step further and suggest that if you have not been to Africa yet, South Africa is an excellent introduction to this marvelous continent. South Africa is also the hub for Southern African travel. So, you will see that many people fly in and out of South African en route to Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe or Mozambique. It's easy to hop on a direct South African Airlines flight right from DC or NY straight into Johannesburg. Transfers are easy and abundant.
PS, the SAA lounge is super fun; their wine is off-the-chain and if your layover lingers, you can count your lucky shopping stars! The terminal is massive and she shops are chock-a-block. The prices in the terminal are not very different from what you will see throughout South Africa. So, if you do come up short in the shopping department, the shopping in Jo'Burg's airport is amazing. I always get a little something.
Back to the travel aspect. If you've never been to South Africa, it is a place made of magic. Dive deep into this country as there is plenty to do and several directions to head in. You can experience the city (Jo'Burg and Cape Town), surf (Durban) and safari (Kruger and KZN). You will have the best pour possible in the Winelands, not to mention great plates throughout the country.
The biggest draw to South Africa is the people. They have the best smiles and are so welcoming! They have a great sense of humor and they are incredible storytellers. I regularly find myself brought to my knees by a story told in passing. I have been to South Africa several times, yet I haven't even begun to sate my appetite for this country.
I can't blame you if you want to see more than South Africa. If you come this far, it's best to make the most of it. We are happy to make any arrangements on the front and/or back end of any African trip, be it South Africa or otherwise. Just let us know.
Africa is our happy place. So, we have lots of great relationships here. Nothing would make us happier than our sharing them with you. Regardless, give what we have on offer for South Africa a good look.
If interested, let us know ASAP. Do not wait until the deadline, as our African trips are extremely limited in space. The lodges will sell out almost immediately. So, this is not the time to dilly dally. Real estate on the safari front is a hot commodity.
If there is anything missing on this itinerary, remember we can custom design anything for you or your crew.
If you have been to Africa, welcome back. If you've never been, get ready to fall truly, madly, deeply. South Africa will be one of the greatest affairs of your lifetime.
The Spirit of South Africa
December 3rd - 11th, 2020
Group size: 10-16
Gallery credits: Image Courtesy of Tierra Hotels/JamieEnsey
About the Trip
The Seduction of South Africa trip has a great mix of things. We kick off things in Johannesburg, which I adore more and more each time I go back. It is a very hip city, rich in history.
We will start off in style at The Fairlawns hotel with a lovely intro dinner and a few local women of influence. It's a relaxing start to the trip after the long journey into South Africa. We will walk in Mandela's footsteps, see the city of Soweto and dip into Maboneng, the Brooklyn of Jo'Burg. There will be local women, history, fashion, food, and new friendships made throughout your visit.
Then we are off to stay in one of the top safari lodges. We will again be privy to local women alongside the wildlife. There will also be downtime so you can soak in that safari silence.
We will cap off the trip in Cape Town. There will be hikes to Table Mountain and winery tours, tastings, and lunch at iconic vineyards. You will have waterfront and beachfront meals in the area. It's the best that South Africa has to offer. Sign up before it's too late!
Dates - December 3rd -11th, 2020
Days - 9 Days/8 Nights
Size - Minimum 10, Maximum 16
Style - Urban, Adventure, Culture, Community, Women, and Wine
Needs - $1,000 deposit to hold your spot. Deadline to book – August 3rd, 2020.
(A first-come basis. Spots may fill up earlier.)
Treats - Meet prominent women of influence and those defying the odds in South Africa and beyond.
Host - Karen Loftus
Fees - $6,430 USD (shared). Single occupancy available upon request and at extra cost
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1 | December 3, 2020
A VIP Airside Welcome by the Airport team at OR Tambo International Airport. A private transfer by luxury vehicle from OR Tambo International Airport to the hotel, with assistance from an English speaking guide. Express check-in at the Fairlawns Hotel with fresh fruit and a welcome cocktail
A private vehicle transfer to the Fairlawns Hotel or similar for two nights. Express check-in at the Fairlawns Hotel with fresh fruit and a welcome cocktail. You then have time to unpack, relax, and freshen up. The day is free to relax, visit the spa, and enjoy the poolside or beautiful gardens of the hotel. Tonight, enjoy an elegant yet informal dinner at Amuse Bouche Restaurant in the hotel. It is a three-course set menu dinner or a la carte, to be paid directly on the day. Alternatively, enjoy a private food journey at Into the Woods, the private venue in the hotel.
There will be a special guest, a local woman of influence from the area joining us for dinner to speak and to share stories and insight on the city and the women and organizations that are making a difference. Overnight at The Fairlawn Hotel.
Day 2 | December 4, 2020
Explore Johannesburg, including a coach, a guide, entrances to Apartheid Museum, Mandela House, and the Hector Peterson Museum. The Potato Factory: three-course set menu lunch with gratuity included.
Combining raw historical features and refined contemporary elements, the eatery’s design has an industrial feel. It also celebrates the icons of Newtown and the Market Theatre district around Miriam Makeba Street and Mary Fitzgerald Square. With its craft brewery, open-plan kitchen, and indoor and outdoor dining areas, this space has an informal marketplace feel that harks back to history.
In the afternoon, we will explore Maboneng. This hip little section of the city is known as the Brooklyn of Johannesburg. From the rooftop bars to boutique hotels, an abundance of galleries, and the well-known street graffiti, this part of the city is edgy, interesting, and vibrant. There is an opportunity to shop, explore, and grab some great photos of the area.
The Maboneng Precinct east of the city is one of these transformed areas. Maboneng, a Sotho word meaning “place of light,” is a fitting name for a district that has fast become a center of creative energy for Johannesburg’s urban artists.
A three-course set menu dinner follows at La Petite Maison Restaurant in Melville or similar to with return dinner transfers. Overnight at The Fairlawn Hotel.
Day 3 | December 5, 2020
Johannesburg - Safari
Early morning breakfast. Check out of the Fairlawn hotel. Transfer by luxury vehicle from the hotel to the OR Tambo International Airport. Scheduled safari flight: Scheduled flight JNB/Skukuza. (Exact flight details TBD.)
Three night shared accommodation at the Lion Sands River Lodge in double/twin Suite, with full breakfast, lunch, dinner, two game drives, return transfers from Skukuza, optional safari walk, all local beverages daily. Fully inclusive program on safari.
There is time to relax on this evocative luxury property before our first game drive and dinner that follows. This African oasis comes with eight luxury rooms, six superior luxury rooms, and four river suites, including a family suite. The extraordinary view is standard with any room.
Wooden walkways lead off to a spa, gym, and pool, and back to the main lodge, where the deck’s connected water features give the impression of floating on the river. It’s a great place ot get social with other guests and or go solo in a state of solitude on the property as you watch the animals wander.
The enclaves and options are endless from your suite to the bar, restaurant, Gallery, or firepit lounge.
Day 4 | December 6, 2020
Safari - Lion Sands River Lodge
Life on safari usually consists of a very early morning rise and game drive. We want to be out before the heat is on, and the animals are off. The exact time and details of our drive TBD once on property. Breakfast back on property follows as does downtime.
Before our late afternoon drive, we will head to Ezweni School for a visit to meet the local community and kids. Ezweni is the only privately funded school in the Lilydale area, receiving no government subsidy at all, and is run by three amazing women who have achieved some incredible results with students who have gone through their school, often at great sacrifice to themselves.
Game drive, dinner, drinks, and talks by the fire follow into the night.
Day 5 | December 7, 2020
Safari - Lion Sands River Lodge
Early morning rise today to get the most out of your safari experience. Bring your best lens and binos if you have them as you don’t want to miss a thing. Coffee in the bush and breakfast back on deck will follow.
There is a window of downtime before our afternoon drive. The enclaves and options are endless on this property from your suite to the bar, to the restaurant, Gallery, or the firepit lounge. Remember to bring a book and your journal as downtime is delicious on safari.
Final game drive and a special farewell dinner follow.
Day 6 | December 8, 2020
Safari - Cape Town
Image Courtesy of Tierra Hotels/JamieEnsey
After early morning breakfast at the lodge and final safari, you will go to the Skukuza Airport (or Hoedspruit) via private transfer (2.5-hour flight). There will be warm welcomes on arrival at Cape Town International Airport and assistance with boarding the luxury touring vehicle for the transfer to the Table Bay hotel. Enjoy a short City Orientation tour en route to the hotel
You will be staying in shared accommodations at The Table Bay Hotel for three nights in a luxury double/twin sea-facing room with full breakfast daily. Private rooms are available for an additional fee.
If time allows, we can wander around the iconic Victoria and Albert waterfront in Cape Town. It’s a great place for shopping, a waterfront wine, and capturing the spirit of the city.
Late in the afternoon, guests transfer to the cableway station for a cable car ride to the summit of the iconic Table Mountain, one of the city’s greatest landmarks. The excursion includes a coach, guide, and a return cable car ticket. A three-course dinner at Life Grand Café on the waterfront will follow.
Day 7 | December 9, 2020
Image Courtesy of Tierra Hotels/JamieEnsey
We start our first full day in Cape Town with an early morning hike up Lions Head, a mountain between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. The Lions Head peak, which is 2,124 feet above sea level, forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town and is part of the Table Mountain National Park. The hike ot the top rewards hikers with 360-degree views of Table Mountain, Robben Island, the Atlantic, Camps Bay, and the city itself. Thee is no better way to wake up in Cape Town.
After we have breakfast at the hotel, we head out to the Winelands to Tokara Wine and Olive Estate, where we meet with Coralize Coetzee, the Executive Chef who innovates terroir focused contemporary cuisine paired with the estate’s award-winning wines.
Tokara, an exceptional vineyard in the Stellenbosch Mountains, is a feast, be it the plates, pours, and the abundance of art onsite. A private transfer back to Table Bay Hotel provides a wee window of downtime on the property between the decadence of the day and the activities of the evening.
Before heading back, we take in Stellenbosch on foot, exploring the shops and galleries that make the quaint town so notable.
After a day in the Winelands, we head to Camps Bay Strip for dinner. Our three-course set Mediterranean menu at Bilboa is a sophisticated slice of local South African life. Bilboa’s beachfront view and ocean breeze are tough to top.
Day 8 | December 10, 2020
After an early rise and breakfast at Table Bay, we head out for a full day Cape Peninsula Tour. We depart by coach along the spectacular scenic route to the glamorous area of Camps Bay, to Hout Bay, with a visit to the famous market in the harbor. We drive along the spectacular Chapmans Peak Drive, one of the most scenic roads in the world.
On arrival at Cape Point, guests enjoy a stroll up to the lighthouse for the spectacular view of the meeting of the two oceans. Then we have lunch at Harbour House in Kalk Bay or similar, overlooking the ocean. Back on the coach guests will be transferred to the unique Boulders Beach African Penguin Colony
Aside from the tour, a Private Kayaking excursion is available at Boulders Beach as well for an additional fee. The excursion provides an additional view and a different perspective ot the beach and the penguins. (Inquire if interested.)
There is time back in town by the waterfront or on the property before the evening’s outing. In the early evening, stroll down to the quayside, and board the 40-foot power catamaran, for an exclusive cruise out into the famous Table Bay, with magnificent views of Table Mountain and the city nestled below, and also of Robben Island. Elegant substantial canapes will are served on board along with wine throughout the cruise.
Day 9 | December 11, 2020
Cape Town - Departure
After breakfast, today, depart for a visit to the amazing Kayalitsha Cookie Company. We will meet with founder Adri Williams. This unique company employs over 900 women who hand make cookies. Enjoy a tour of the factory, meet and interact with the bakers, and hear their compelling stories.
We have a visit set into the township of Kayalisha, which includes a transfer, a local guide, and a tour.
A scenic helicopter ride and a Robben Island visit, are also available at an additional charge. (Inquire if interested as both require pre-bookings.)
Some guests may choose to stay longer in Cape Town, continue their travels to other parts of Southern Africa; Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia or Namibia (inquire if interested). Otherwise, those heading home will head to the airport with us. After breakfast, we check out of Table Bay Hotel. A coach transfer from the hotel to Cape Town International with assistance follows.
At this time, we sadly say goodbye to South Africa and each other until we travel together again.
There are several bells and whistles attached to this opulent property. Set in a portion of what once was a ten-acre estate complete with rolling hills, stables and horses, The Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa still provides that same secluded and stately ambiance. It is a go to for the business savvy and the jet-set alike, situated in the sophisticated enclave of Sandton’s Morningside Manor suburb.
It is quite the respite after a long journey into Jo’Burg. Be sure to take advantage of the Balinese spa and its incredible cuisine. You’re sure to have a deep and restful sleep in one of the chic suites, be it the Euro-inspired courtyard, or the premier, the latter reflects a different part of South Africa’s history.
Lion Sands River Lodge
This award-winning luxury resort is located on the renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The property offers a chic interpretation of the traditional safari lodge, complete with water features that give the illusion of floating on the river.
When not out on safari, guests can enjoy the resort's spa, pool, gym, and gallery. Nights are best spent relaxing at the fire pit lounge or socializing at the bar.
Breathtaking views, luxurious amenities, and top-notch cuisine make the Lion Sands River Lodge the perfect place to stay during our safari adventure.
Table Bay Hotel
Superbly located in a prime position along the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, this magnificent world-class hotel of contemporary Victorian design embodies the traditions of a bygone era while encompassing the indulgence of today's sophisticated, modern age.
Guests will be able to choose from 330 bedrooms, half of which will face the Victoria and Alfred’s working harbor and the other half to the world-renown Robben Island, where President Nelson Mandela spent most of his prison days.
Standard features of the bedrooms are bathrooms en suite, color television, radio, direct dial, voice mail, two incoming telephone lines and individually controlled air conditioning. With in-room dining available 24 hours a day, guests need not leave the room at all should they please.
Images are courtesy of Karen Loftus, except if otherwise stated.
Accommodations, Rates, Availability
SHARED ACCOMMODATION: $6,430 USD
Single Accommodations available for extra fee upon request
Booking deadline: August 3, 2020.
Payment: 50% due 120 days before departure,
complete payment due 60 days before departure.
Please note: A $1,000 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Availability - Our exclusive program welcomes a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 16 guests.
*To to limited space, we highly recommend booking early to secure your spot*
Hover over the image below to see the full BIO on Your Host, Karen Loftus
Karen in South Africa
Your Tour Operator
We are in the best hands possible while in South Africa. We have partnered with a South African owned and operated tour operator. They are from the area and have been running tours and coordinating travel in the region for decades.
Throughout almost 40 years as a family-owned and managed company, their business has built an enviable reputation based on trust and delivering exceptional service to their clients.
The company is fortunate to have a committed, enthusiastic and loyal team, many of whom have been with the company for more than 10 years.
They also share WAT's same core values and are actively involved in a number of community projects in the region.
Again, I cannot say enough great things about South Africa. If I absolutely had to pick one place on the planet that was my all-time favorite place, this may be it. (Shhh, don't tell the others .-) It really does have it all. You are hard-pressed to have the local and cultural experience, the wildlife, the chic city scene, the historical together with a surf scene and a breahtaking wine region.
We worked hard with the local tour operator to pack it all in and within a reasonable price. You are hard-pressed to do a safari trip for less than $10k. This is an upmarket trip, but we worked hard to maintain the style, amenities, and ambiance, yet all within a reasonable price. We want you to be able to afford this and we want you to explore more of it in the region.
My only complaint about South Africa is that every time I leave, I only wish I had planned to stay longer. If you have the time and the interest, let us know so we can extend your stay in South Africa and or in the neighboring countries.
Get ready for the trip of a lifetime!