South Africa Hotels
36 Saxon Rd., Sandhurst
The grounds at the Saxon Hotel are so relaxing and private that Nelson Mandela retreated here to write his memoirs. Located on ten-plus acres, the approach here is zen- and detail-orientated—from the impeccable service to the neutral decor that mirrors the surrounding African landscape. If you're really looking to recharge, it's best to book one of the private villas–and book a sound therapy session at the spa. On the property, high tea–one of the Saxon's specialties–is served daily in one of the six impeccable gardens. And while the hotel's huge pool and rooftop terrace offer even more reasons to stay put, should you want to venture out, Sandton, a neighborhood known for its shopping, is an easy day trip.
andBeyond Matetsi River Lodge
andBeyond Matetsi Private Game Reserve, Zimbabwe, Zambia
Housed in a renovated lodge on a 123,500-acre reserve, you're in close reach of all of the activities that Victoria Falls and Zimbabwe have to offer. Made up of two camps, each nine rooms strong, the stone-and-thatch facades dot the riverfront and feature all the requisite safari creature comforts: a four-poster bed, indoor-outdoor shower, and a private plunge pool. The team can arrange everything from game drives (there are incredible elephant sightings), birdwatching, canoeing, and boat excursions. Photos: courtesy of andBeyond
Sparta Farm, Sabi Sand Sildtuin, Mpumalanga
Londolozi has several camps, all equally luxurious, but for honeymooners it's hard to beat their granite suites, which walk a thin line of luxury while maintaining the feeling that you’re out in nature. Outfitted with wide doors and windows that open to the Sand River, the stone huts (even the slanted roofs are made from granite slabs) feel like they’re part of the land, with private, heated pools that mirror the floor of the riverbed. Of course, the real draw here is the safari adventures in Kruger Park, and Londolozi’s guides have a great track record for finding some of the more difficult animals to see, along with plenty of lions, elephants, hippos, and more. As a bonus, Londolozi has a well-respected reputation for conservation and community support in the area.
For the better part of a decade owners Koos Bekker and Karen Roos lovingly worked on restoring a 300-year-old farm at the base of the Simonsberg mountains into a wine destination in its own right. There are only thirteen rooms (formerly farm-workers’ cottages) and each one is whitewashed and pristine with an open floor plan and modern furnishings from the likes of Kartell and Bourellec Bros. For those in need of something more generously sized, whether it’s for themselves or for a couples getaway, the five-bedroom Owner’s House is pretty special, and features checkerboard floors in the bathrooms, a soaking tub, and the farm kitchen with its own wood-burning stove. On property, an eight-acre walled garden informs much of the menu at its restaurant, Babel, which churns out deliciously fresh meals. (In the summer months, it's yellow tomatoes, apricots, and gooseberries, while a winter menu may feature, say, a slow-cooked lamb leg in a red wine sauce.) For a bit of pampering, spa treatments can be had in the bamboo pavilion, which also includes a Hammam. Guests can participate in the harvest, pruning, and picking (they provide trowels and…
Singita Lebombo Lodge
Kruger National Park
Everything about this safari camp is achingly chic (to the extent that it's Michael Kors' favorite vacation destination), from the leather and canvas washed interiors, to the long pool. Of course, that's kind of just a side note to the fact that it's in the middle of South Africa's Kreuger National Park, meaning that you get to take your laps in the morning to the sound of giraffes tussling nearby. There are also incredible views of the N'wanetsi river. While they allow kids over 10, keep in mind that a safari isn't for those who don't want to wake up early in the morning (or hate being confined to a car for most of the day). Rates include two game drives per day, walking safaris, and all meals and drinks (there's a great wine cellar).
Le Quartier Français
Corner of Berg & Wilhelmina Streets, Franschhoek, South Africa
Surrounded by the hills and vineyards of the Franschhoek Valley, this little boutique hotel (there are only 21 rooms on the property) is just an hour from Cape Town, but it feels worlds away. While the quaint, comfortable suites by themselves justify a trip, this location is really all about the food. Their famous restaurant The Tasting Room has been re-imagined as La Petite Colombe, the second location of a La Colombe, a much-lauded local outfit that made a name for itself with the exquisite tasting menus that perfectly complement the the wine from this region. Note: They're currently closed for almost-finished renovations, and are now taking reservations for their re-opening.
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