Indagare members DFC and ES recently returned from their South African honeymoon. Here are their impressions of the special journey.
As I mentioned, the honeymoon was absolutely amazing. I will be thrilled to have a vacation that nice ever again. First Stop: La Residence. This was the biggest surprise of the trip. We couldn’t have enjoyed the area or hotel any more than we did. The service was through the roof—redefined for me what a hotel can do for its guests. The food in Franschhoek rivaled or exceeded the best meals we’ve had in Paris. We loved the pace of each day—extremely relaxing with just enough activity to keep us from getting bored. I would have happily stayed an extra day or two. It would have been great to see Stellenbosch too. If I had known how much we could enjoy the wine country, I might have skipped Hermanus, and allocated the extra days to Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
Second Stop: Birkenhead House. Beautiful. Loved that the beach was so vast and empty. Views were incredible—we had a nice routine of drinks on the terrace before dinner each night. Your advice that too many days at this hotel could get a little slow was right on. Three nights was just about right.
Third Stop: Ellerman House. What an amazing hotel. One of my mother-in-law’s very well traveled friends insists this is her favorite hotel in the entire world. The building and the grounds were unbeatable. I personally think the room and service at La Residence were just slightly better, but it was a very close call. We really enjoyed the food scene in Cape Town and did a pretty good job of eating at variety of restaurants. One day I think we had 22 individual courses.
Fourth Stop: Singita Ebony. We knew this portion of the trip would be amazing and it was. We saw every animal we hoped two within the first two drives. We still can’t get over how close to the animals we were. Lions walked within several feet of my wife’s elbow. The cats were our favorites. The warthogs were the underdog surprise. We saw the carcass of an antelope hanging from a tree—incredible stuff. You were right that three days/nights was just about perfect. We could have stayed two nights and still seen all the animals, but it might have felt a little short. I would definitely recommend that safaris longer than four nights be split among multiple properties. We’ve been told that Singita is developing a new lodge in Mozambique that should be ready in two or three years—we’re pretty serious about using that as an excuse to get back to Africa. Our guide was terrific—has a biology degree from a Mexican university.
We knew it would be a terrific trip, but I don’t think either of us expected to like the country and area so much that it would be a priority for us to go back.
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