This year I was surprised to find 7 new experiences in South Africa that truly are extraordinarily unique. Ranging from new takes on old experiences to those most definitely practicing Sustainable Tourism, each of my 7 brings an exciting inspiration on journeys through South Africa.
1) Gin School
Last year Janine, Café Gannet, and Mossel Bay stole my heart. This year they went for my Soul. How have I lived without going to Gin School?
Created by the wonderful Team Café Gannet, the Inverroche at Café Gannet Gin School "... offers visitors the opportunity to craft their own unique bottle of gin, sample gins from the leading artisanal producer in South Africa and learn more about local fynbos*."
*Fynbos is a small belt of natural shrubland or heathland vegetation located in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa.
The awesome takeaway? "...each imaginative scholar leaves with their very own craft gin creation to take home." This is the place which completely encapsulates my Grandfather’s saying, “It’s Schooling to Travel” and what a great education!
2) Ocean Safari
Swim with the Seals! You read that right. Can you imagine SWIMMING WITH SEALS? This ethically based Wildlife Experience was introduced to me by Carla at OceanX (the name even rocks!).
With OceanX, you will experience the “…beauty of the ocean and its most playful mammals …[with the] seal snorkeling experience, you will not only learn about the Cape fur seals habits, but you will also get to experience their friendly nature first hand.”
While I didn’t get to experience my own Ocean Safari this time in Cape Town, it is now on my CPT Bucketlist. I can’t wait!
3) Sand Safari
Organized by Cape Town Tourism, I spent a wonderful day experiencing a “Sand Safari.” Located approximately 32 kilometers away from Cape Town, the Atlantis Dunes offer sandboarding, quad biking, extreme (and not so extreme) 4×4 rides, self-drive dune tours (with permits), and off-roading adventures.
Having grown up with the fragile, endangered Dunes of the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Caroline, my big question is how ethical or sustainable are these Dune Experiences? Turns out, extremely ethical and sustainable. Unlike the OBX, the Atlantis Dunes are a filtration system for huge aquifers beneath the sand. Thus, erosion for the Adventure Sports Tourism is not an issue. On top of that, I experienced firsthand how the Atlantis Dune Experience supports not only local Tour Companies, but the entire community as well.
If your idea of fun travel is Adventure – the Atlantis Dunes Experience is for you. I loved it!
4) More Baskets, Please!
While my dear husband has issued a polite warning that I am not allowed to purchase any more African Masks unless I have the specific place it will hang in our home, baskets can be used everywhere! And, thus I found myself back in Africa and deciding I simply needed more baskets for our new house in South Korea.
Enter, Design Afrika. Located in Cape Town, the sprawling store was established in 1995 by Binky Newman after she “…had just left the Okavango Delta, where she had run a wilderness camp for five years.”
Design Afrika is all that is absolutely good about “Fair Trade” and “Ethically Sourced.” Binky’s mission is to “…strive to nurture the creative and entrepreneurial initiative of rural communities by encouraging the production of high quality, on trend products.”
Anyone visiting Cape Town who has a passion for finding honestly Fair Trade and Ethically Sourced Baskets and Crafts must make Design Afrika a stop on their journey. Well done Binky!
5) A Day at the Safari Spa
And then I found myself with a day off after the World Travel Market Africa 2019. What to do? I immediately thought of consulting my most adorable dear friend Liezel. I met Liezel three years ago at WTMA when I had a meeting with Aquila Private Game Reserve Safari & Spa.
If you believe in Spiritual Connections, I truly have one with Liezel. So, when I started thumbing through my Rolodex of “things to do around Cape Town,” she of course came to mind. And to my rescue.
Liezel planned the perfect day for me at Tranquila Spa – the aptly named new Spa at Aquila. Being picked up from my hotel early in the morning (6:30 am!) for the two hour drive to Aquila was well worth it. While those traveling in the transport with me were shocked to learn I wasn’t going on Safari, I knew I was in for an special treat.
Tranquila Spa has been designed to offer the ultimate in Luxury Safari Lodging Spa Experience. The Spa has “…2 large heated indoor pools, steam room, sauna, nail bar, 10 treatment rooms, a couples or group treatment room and an outdoor pool.”
Spending a day at Tranquila Spa at Aquila Private Game Reserve, with the spectacular South African views along the route to and from, is perfect way to spend a “day off” or simply a day for relaxation and rewinding. Tranquila indeed!
6) African Urban Cuisine
An unexpected surprise treat came from the Cape Town Tourism Board, a delightful lunch at Moyo Restaurant. Moyo Restaurants are located throughout South Africa and I had the pleasure of dining at the Blouberg Moyo.
Moyo is a “…destination for a unique African dining experience. Inspired by the traditions and values of our ancestors, moyo is a celebration of, and commitment to, the beauty of Africa, and the industry of her people.” The food reaches into the Urban Centers of Africa for inspiration.
One of the most important aspects of Moyo is their commitment to StreetSmart South Africa. Since 2005, StreetSmart South Africa been operationg “…under the founding patronage of Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The funds raised go to selected and approved organisations that run programmes for the normalisation of street and vulnerable children’s lives. The restaurants, accommodation establishments and wine tasting centres in each town raise funds for their own community street children programmes.”
Often establishments like to promote “dining for a cause.” Moyo Restaurants practice what they preach in giving back through StreetSmart South Africa. Again, an example of supporting local communities through Tourism and Travel. The exact ideals Flyga Twiga was established on over 5 years ago.
7) Private Sommelier
Having been on numerous Wine Tours on 5 Different Continents, you’d think I would have had just about every type of Wine Tour possible. Then, along comes Wine Escapes. Arranged by my dear friend and South African Travel Partner, Michael English, I spent a lovely day in Stellenbosch with my own Private Sommelier.
Prior to my tour, John, the Creator of Wine Escapes, called to ask my Wine and Food Preferences. In addition, upon my request, he was able to get a tasting with Lola, the Owner of my absolute favorite Boutique Winery in South Africa – Mitre’s Edge. Where, of course, I got my dose of “the kids,” aka “Lola’s Dogs”!
Each Wine Escape Tour is "...conducted by a Certified Tour Guide with certificates in wine from the Cape Wine Academy" Their vision is to"...offer specialized, exclusive wine tours where guests are introduced to some of the best Estates and wines, whilst providing them with excellent service and hospitality.”
So, the next time you are in the Western Cape, I highly recommend arranging a tour with your own Private Sommelier. Wine Touring simply at its best!