Searching for adventure-luxe in South Africa

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Last night we watched the awe-inspiring documentary, Searching for Sugar Man, and immediately wanted two things: to become rock stars and visit South Africa. Preferably at the same time. But in the end, with striking tone deafness and no guitar skills, we’ll settle for adding a bit of rock-star luxury to a trip to South Africa instead.

We had always thought of the country as an adventure holiday spot, but we have recently discovered that it is possible to balance that adventure with luxury as well. There are spa-safari resorts and five star tree-house options to rival any luxurious destination, with the relaxing pace of South Africa to make it all the more enjoyable.

Oh, the vineyards

When we think of luxury in South Africa, the first thing that comes to mind is wine. South Africa is known for its wines, particularly in the regions of the Cape Winelands, located just 45 minutes from Cape Town. Vrede en Lust is first on our list as the oldest wine estate in South Africa, established in 1688. In 1996 some of the older buildings were renovated and now the accommodation looks like a French chateau overlooking the towering Simonsberg mountain range.

Stellenbosch vinyard by Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire on
Stellenbosch vinyard by Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire on

For something a little more modern, try the Maison Estate. This contemporary estate run by furniture guru Chris Weylandt is perfectly minimal with unique splashes like the wine bottle chandeliers in the dining hut, which spills out beautifully onto the surrounding land. 

On the green

From the green of the vineyard to the putting green, the fairways of the De Zalze Estate in the Western Cape is the ticket to book. Zigzagging between hilly wine country is a unique experience for golf and wine lovers alike.

For something a little wilder why not walk with the animals? “Beware!” reads the sign at Skukuza, the golf course nestled deep in the African bush. The course runs through Kruger National Park, and the animals roam free, so you might need to swerve the golf cart. Golf safari sounds like a totally unique way to see the national park, if you ask us! 

Mountain Zebras, Mountain Zebra National Park
Mountain zebras by Clive Reid on

All Aboard the Blue Train

The Blue Train rides from Pretoria to Cape Town and isn’t any ordinary train. This is pure luxury with stunning views and your own butler, too. Bring your finest attire and prepare to be spoiled as you dine on breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Priority on the Blue Train is food and relaxation, plus all meals can be washed down with the train’s signature bright blue cocktails. The journey takes 28 hours and is a once in a lifetime way to see South Africa fly past you.

Blue Train - Dining table via Simon Pielow on
Blue Train – Dining table via Simon Pielow on

Relax in a Safari Spa

Think safari is all about the animals, think again! Safari-spas can be all about you. Karkloof Spa near Pietermaritzburg and just an hour from Durban is a 3500 hectare reserve combining luxury treatment rooms with views of the grazing wildlife. There are 17 treatment rooms available and this is the perfect way to wind down after a day out on Safari.

Luxury is often overlooked in South Africa, but we’d love to add splash of the finer things to our first trip to this incredible country!

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