Travel future

My South African travel wishlist

South Africa travel wishlist

South Africa’s been on my travel wishlist for longer than anywhere else in the world. The beaches, the scenery, the wildlife, the wine – it’s got pretty much all my favourite things rolled into one. Which makes it about time I got out there and saw it for myself! It’s such a huge and diverse country though and I’ve only got 11 days out there, so there’s no chance I’m going to be able to see everything I want to. But it’s long enough to give me a taster of some of the country’s highlights – here’s what I’ve got planned so far.

The cities

Our South African adventures start in Cape Town where we have five days to explore the city. The number one piece of advice I’ve been given so far is to head up Table Mountain the minute the weather is clear, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for sunny skies. Also on the Cape Town agenda are a visit to Robben Island, a wander around the V&A Waterfront, a tour of the colourful Bo-Kaap neighbourhood and a beachside brunch at Camps Bay. I’d also like to head down the Cape Peninsula to see the Cape of Good Hope and the penguins at Boulders Beach. Then right at the end of the trip we have a day in Johannesburg to check out the Apartheid Museum and Nelson Mandela’s house before flying back home.

Cape Town, South Africa

Beautiful Cape Town

The wine

It’s no secret I love a good glass of wine (or two). So a trip to the Cape Winelands was a must when I was planning this trip. This area just outside Cape Town is home to some of South Africa’s best wine producers. It’s got a gorgeous setting for them too, with vineyards and Cape Dutch-style buildings backed by mountains. But even if I just stuck to the main three towns Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek, each has hundreds of different wineries. So I’m going to have to be a bit selective and take a tour to show me some of the highlights – including the all-important question of who does the best Sauvignon Blanc?

Cape Winelands, South Africa

Cape Winelands

The journeys

Another of my travel loves is a good train journey, so it’s always a bonus if I can fit one into a trip. South Africa is home to one of the world’s most luxurious rail routes. But unfortunately a trip on the Blue Train would probably blow my whole trip budget in one fell swoop. But there’s a budget-luxury alternative on the same route called the Premier Classe, with a few less frills and a far lower price tag. So I’ll be joining them for the 25-hour journey from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Multi-course meals, afternoon teas and plenty of views of the wild Karoo countryside out of the window will keep us occupied along the way.

Train across South Africa

Train across South Africa

The wildlife

South Africa’s biggest draw has to be its wildlife. I’ve only ever seen a rhino, lion, leopard or zebra in a zoo so it’ll be an amazing experience to see them in the wild. We’re going to be spending three days towards the end of the trip staying in a safari lodge in the Balule Private Game Reserve right on the edge of Kruger National Park. It’s AirBnB apartments all the way for the rest of the trip so this foray into luxury is going to be a bit of a change of pace for me! There’ll be dawn and dusk game drives, bush walks with a tracker, sundowners by the pool and hopefully plenty of wildlife sightings. Do you think they’ll let me move in?

Elephants in Kruger National Park

Elephants in Kruger National Park

Is there anything else I shouldn’t miss in South Africa, or any tips for the places I’m going?

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 My travel wishlist for South Africa, featuring city sightseeing in Cape Town and Johannesburg, touring the Winelands, an overnight rail trip and safari.

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Noelle
    November 9, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Looks like a great wishlist to me! I would also recommend Muizenberg beach on you way to the Cape of Good Hope – it’s a really pretty little beach town.
    One thing I would say also is be prepared for the wealthy disparity you see – beautiful large beaches houses just minutes from shantytowns. Also be careful to not leave valuables openly visible in your car.
    Otherwise have a great time!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      November 10, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      Muizenberg Beach looks lovely! Our plan is to get a car for the day and drive down the Cape so will add that to the itinerary. Thanks for the tips too, really useful.

  • Reply
    Angie Silver (@SilverSpoonLDN)
    November 9, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Your list is perfect!! If you need restaurant recommendations I’ve got a tonne on my blog. South Africa is my favourite place πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Lucy
      November 10, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      Excellent, I will check them out!

  • Reply
    Heyjude
    November 9, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Sounds great and Noelle has some good advice for you. On Travel Words (half way down) https://smallbluegreenwords.wordpress.com/road-trips/ you’ll find my SA trip – you might be interested in the Cape Town ones and Franschhoek. You will find lots of good food and wine about and I hope you get to see some wildlife. My one piece of advice is to never walk anywhere unless you know it is safe to do so.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      November 10, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      Great thanks I will check them out! Keeping my fingers firmly crossed for some good wildlife sightings along the way.

  • Reply
    Tanja
    November 9, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    a great wishlist!:)

    • Reply
      Lucy
      November 10, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    beingbuttons
    November 9, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Sounds great – I’m so jealous. There used to be a lovely Chinese restaurant at the V&A Waterfront that had views over Table Bay. Look out for Dassies (Hyraxes) when you are up Table Mountain – they are quite cute and mischievous, and also believe or not the closest relative of the elephant! Have fun! I’m looking forward to reading all your posts about the trip.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      November 10, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Thank you, I’ll keep a look out for both the Chinese restaurant and the hyraxes (off to Google those now as can’t imagine what they look like!).

  • Reply
    Ayla
    November 10, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    This sounds like such an amazing trip Lucy and seems like you have so much to already look forward to. Definitrly take a drive down the coast to Cape Peninsular as it’s one of the most beautiful drives ever. And I highly recommend roadtripping along some of the Garden Route if you get time. South Africa is one of my most favourite countries in the whole world and I am so so envious! Take me with you!!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      November 10, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      Thank you! A drive down the Cape Peninsula is definitely on the cards but I don’t think we’ll get chance to do the Garden Route this time (I’m clearly going to have to come back again!).

  • Reply
    atravelingb
    November 10, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Sounds fabulous! South Africa was one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. Add Chapman’s Peak to your list – it’s a beautiful stretch of the coast not far from Cape of Good Hope. The sunset over Table Mountain from watched Signal Hill is really beautiful. Kirstenbosch Gardens are nice for an afternoon if you have the time and the most beautiful view of all is from the air – if you can swing a helicopter ride the views of Cape Town are stellar! I wrote about some restaurants on my blog, but Pot Luck Club was one of my favorites – make reservations well in advance. Have a great trip!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      November 11, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      Thanks for all the great tips. A helicopter trip was on my maybe list but it’s been pretty windy so far so doesn’t look too promising. Chapman’s Peak, Kirstenbosch and Signal Hill all sound fantastic though – more to add to the list!

  • Reply
    Maddy
    November 11, 2016 at 9:22 am

    This must be one of the only times we have been there done that before you Lucy Have a great time would second Chapman’s Peak and Kirstenbosch, also have you considered doing any whale watching while there? If you can get to Hermanus you can view from anywhere on the harbour or also take a boat trip out – watching a whale larger than your boat ducking under the boat is quite an experience! Maddy X

    • Reply
      Lucy
      November 11, 2016 at 8:28 pm

      It is! Kirstenbosch and Chapman’s Peak are definitely on the list now. I don’t think we’ll get chance to make it as far as Hermanus (and I’m not the biggest boat fan!) but we did see dolphins and seals from the V&A Waterfront today which was fab x

  • Reply
    Beverley
    November 12, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Die Strandlooper in Langebaan. Great seafood restaurant.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      November 13, 2016 at 6:43 am

      Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply
    MummyTravels
    November 12, 2016 at 10:27 am

    I think that’s a pretty good list- I’ve done most of these (though keep failing to book far enough in advance for Robben Island). I did a township tour which was fascinating and another architecture walk which was an interesting way to trace the history as well.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      November 13, 2016 at 6:57 am

      The township tour sounds really interesting too – don’t think we’ll get chance to do everything we’d like so looks like I’ll have to come back!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    November 20, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    South Africa is one of my favourite countries! Sounds like you have an amazing trip planned. Cape Town is one of the most stunning places in the world – make sure you’re in Camps Bay for a wine by the beach at sunset.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      November 23, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      I absolutely loved Camps Bay! Actually I loved the whole of South Africa, I’m already planning on making a return trip and am really looking forward to blogging all about it.

  • Reply
    pam
    February 1, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    I am interested if you went to Robbins Island. I am going to Cape Town in April and we have a choice of two excursions. Robbins Island or the Stellenbosch wine area. I have heard good and bad on Robbins Island and the boat trip out so have chosen the wine country day. Any advice/comments?

    • Reply
      Lucy
      February 2, 2017 at 11:05 am

      It was very windy most of the time we were in Cape Town so we didn’t do the Robben Island trip – I hear its great but you are a bit weather dependent (and need to be good with boats!). We did visit the winelands though and really enjoyed it – if you’re a wine fan I’d definitely recommend it, plus there are some fantastic restaurants and the scenery is beautiful.

  • Reply
    pam
    February 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    Thanks for the reply. I am not good with rocky boats and love wine so I am glad with my decision to do the wine lands. Did you go up on Table Mountain. What time of day? Was it clear or cloudy?

    • Reply
      Lucy
      February 2, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      Because of the wind, the Table Mountain cable car was closed for the whole five days we were there! Frustratingly it was perfectly clear most days too. The advice I was given was if you get a clear, still day then go up as soon as you can as conditions change very quickly up there. Sunset is good for views but it does get cold very quickly. Hope you have better luck than we did!

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