17 Oct This is Why You Will Love South Africa
Adventure and travel is what inspires me the most. I live for it. I never don’t have a holiday planned, when one holiday is done I have to have the next one locked in to look forward to.
When it comes to my preference of holiday types I’m a bit of a mixed bag, I absolutely love beach holidays that involve no more than eat, sleep, beach, repeat for 7 days straight, and yet I also adore active holidays climbing mountains and exploring new cities.
South Africa is such a big country that has so many different adventures to offer in the one holiday.
This was my first trip to SA and I packed a lot into it. I hiked mountains, visited day spas, saw beautiful beaches, enjoyed the amazing food and wine that South Africa is so famous for, and of course went on safari.
OMG South Africa is nothing short of AMAZING!
The sunsets, the food, the wine, the people, the accommodation and the animals, ALL unforgettable!
Going on safari is a must when you visit SA.
We stayed at Biyela lodge in the Umfolozi game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal.
Biyela lodge sits on the edge of the white imfolozi river where you will often see elephants, giraffe, rhino and crocodile just strollin’ on by right below your room. Biyela is pretty luxurious, but it still has big authentically safari vibes.
The beautifully furnished rooms are more of a private villa with your own private pool, and each have a stunning view so you can actually see plenty of wildlife from your room.
But the real excitement happens on the morning and afternoon drives through the game reserve. There are plenty of ‘pinch me’ moments when you’re up close and personal with the wild elephants and when you spot a rhino darting through bush. Pumbaa was always my The Lion King favourite and I was quite excited at seeing warthog families cruising around the savannah. We also had one albeit brief leopard spotting too. The excitement of not knowing what you’re going to see and when you’re going to see it is what makes it so thrilling.
A visit to the Africanology Day Spa is a must if you visit Biyela, each room has a view over the savannah so who knows you might be lucky enough to have an animal encounter while you have your manicure! I indulged in an African hot stone massage after our morning game drive.
South Africa has a lot to offer when it comes to wellness. It offers everything from healthy food, hiking, horse riding, relaxation, plenty of outdoor physical activities, and it’s also home to dozens of luxury day spas.
I love a good hike, and in SA I was spoilt for choice. The first one I did was through Golden Gate Highlands national park in the Free State and it was the perfect cure for my jet lag. The Golden Gate national park has hikes for all levels from beginner to those who prefer a longer more intense hike.
Another great hiking destination is Cathedral Peak in KwaZulu-Natal. I stayed at The Cathedral Peak Hotel which is nestled into the Drakensberg Mountains. Around the hotel there are dozens of hiking trails from 1 hour treks up to 10 hour treks to the summit.
The Cathedral Peak Summit sits at an altitude of 3,004 m above sea level. While staying at cathedral peak I did a couple of 1-2 hour hikes around the breathtaking countryside in which it sits, and I did happen to make it to the summit, although I may have cheated a bit….
If I had a spare 10 hours I would have done the hike to the top, but instead I scored a helicopter ride which was very spesh indeed!!!! Definitely something I’ll always remember. The view from the top was as amazing as you’d expect, with an eerie silence from being so high you can’t hear the world below.
If you’re not up for hiking there are plenty of day spas throughout South Africa. While some day spa’s are world class there are also plenty that are a little more humble yet still offer really amazing beauty treatments that are well worth it.
For me the combination of relaxation and physical activity (followed by an evening wine or two) was the perfect holiday mix!
The Food (and drinks)
South Africa is famous for it’s food and wine and from personal experience I’m now aware it’s well deserving of it’s acclaim.
If you’re a vego you might at first get the impression that South African food isn’t for you, their most famous and popular dishes are quite meaty. I made sure I tried all the local delicacies like springbok, biltong, local beef and river trout. There are still plenty of great raw food restaurants, and vegetarian dishes available on most menu’s. No matter what you order it’s sure to be delicious!
South Africa also produces beautiful wine. I discovered two new varieties native to SA that I adored. A crisp dry white called Chenin Blanc and South Africa’s signature red variety Pinotage. Both delish!
I stopped in for a tasting and lunch in the sun at Cathedral Peak Winery. There are plenty of vineyards all over the country serving delicious wines and gourmet food.
South Africa is a pretty long plane ride away from Australia (20-ish hours from Sydney) but I promise it’s the perfect destination for your next adventure.
It’s thrilling and it’s breathtakingly beautiful.
If you’re planning on booking a trip to South Africa I’d highly recommend you check out the Australian government website Smartraveller.gov.au so you are up to date with the latest travel advice. SA is very different to Australia, so I’d encourage you to be fully aware of what to expect and what precautions to take, particularly if you’re travelling to major cities.