Next Stop: South Africa!
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Next Stop: South Africa!

by Travelbag on 25 July 2017, 15:07PM

From bustling cityscapes and charming townships to rural wilderness and natural wonderlands; South Africa is a place of diversity and beauty. The region is mostly renowned for housing some of the best game reserves in the world, but on closer inspection, is there even more to discover? There most certainly is.

We caught up with four of our in store Travel Experts after their recent trip to Johannesburg, Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Durban and the Eastern Cape, to find out what they would recommend:

South African Airways

Which airline did you fly out with and was it a good start to your trip?

Emily (Travelbag Knutsford): We flew out with South African Airways and took Economy Class. Thankfully it was a direct service and the seating was quite spacious.

Laura (Travelbag Chester): The service was really good.

Phoebe (Travelbag Brighton): The cabin crew were great from the get-go which really helped ease me into the start of the trip.

You each had the chance to stay at a few different hotels, which was your favourite?

Lucian (Travelbag Solihull): The Spier Hotel & Spa in Stellenbosch was a definite favourite of mine. The hotel is really spacious but still manages to have an air of intimacy about it. The rooms themselves are huge and are really nicely decorated. The restaurants also have some of the most delicious food choices.

Emily: The Bay Hotel in Camps Bay was amazing. It was perfectly located across from the beach in the Camps Bay area of Cape Town, surrounded by the sea and views of the mountains. It had a nice pool area and the rooms were also really well designed.

Phoebe: I really loved the amount of entertainment options the Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg had. Plenty of restaurants and shop outlets to choose from and even had its own casino. With it being only a short distance from the airport I see it being a great stopover destination.

Laura: With all the safari tours and expeditions I felt the Fairmont Zimbali in Durban was the best simply for how great it was for relaxing before and after each adventure.

As this was a first time visit for you all to South Africa, what were your first impressions?

Phoebe: South Africa is amazing. I didn’t really know what to expect, but it is such a warm and welcoming country. With everything from safari drives to shark cage diving, there’s just so much to do. It’s such a diverse country.

Laura: Yeah, it’s such a lovely country, the hotels and the food were standout highlights for me. I can’t wait to go back again.

Emily: I honestly had no idea what to expect. I think a lot of people get the impression the place might not be safe, but that was so far from the truth. I found everywhere we went to be safe and friendly, the beauty of the country completely blew me away.

South Africa is a pretty huge place, and while it’s mostly known for its safari trails and natural landmarks, there are plenty of hidden gems to be found everywhere. Were there any that piqued your interest?

Laura: Camps Bay is well worth the visit. The whole place has a laid-back Miami vibe to it with the beautiful beaches and everything that gives it a real holiday feel.

Phoebe: The vineyards of Stellenbosch are a must-see highlight for sure. The whole town was beautiful, but the vineyards in particular were just incredible, a great destination for wine lovers.

Emily: I have to say that the views from Table Mountain are what made the trip just that little bit more special for me. We got taken to the top of the mountain in a rotating cable car which let you look out across Cape Town. Once at the top you can walk around different paths to see the surrounding area from different perspectives. If you’re going to visit South Africa, Table Mountain is a must.

They say the best way to experience South African cuisine is to have it in South Africa. How did you find the food out there?

Emily: We ate a lot our meals in the hotels we stayed at and they were of an incredibly high quality. The game lodges made sure we got the full South African dining experience by throwing a braii (BBQ) meal for us. There was always huge variety in the dishes and the ingredients were usually grown and sourced from the local community. Foodies and wine connoisseurs are sure to love it.

Lucian: The food we had was amazing, especially in Cape Town and Stellenbosch. Always a huge amount of choices and at great value too.

Phoebe: One night we went to the Belthazar Restaurant & Wine Bar on the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. That place had some of the best steak I’d tasted, and the wine complimented it perfectly.

So now that you all have first-hand experience, what hints and tips would you give to holiday-goers considering South Africa?

Laura: The Winelands are just too good to pass up. To be a true lover of all things wine you have to experience Cape Town’s home grown vintages at least once.

Emily: No South Africa holiday is complete without seeing the views of Cape Town from Table Mountain. Looking down on the city from one of the best vantage points in the region is a moment you won’t forget.

Phoebe: No matter where you go in South Africa, be sure to finish on a high note by going on a game safari at the Kruger National Park for a chance to see the Big 5.

Fancy following their footsteps now? Give our Travel Experts in store a call and ask them more or check out our incredible deals here.

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