We both feel this trip to South Africa was one of the best travel experiences we have ever had.

We had long thought about returning to Africa and to South Africa in particular because the idea of having some time in the cities, the wine country and safari appealed to us. We had been to Kenya twice and Tanzania many years ago. More recently Rick spent 3 weeks in Namibia on a photography trip. Somehow, we never put a trip into action to go to South Africa. When Leslie and Newell told us about the trip you had planned with them it sounded perfect. And it was!

We enjoyed Cape Town very much. The Queen Victoria was a great choice of hotel. It is quiet, comfortable and expertly staffed. The location is great. There are many wonderful restaurants in Cape Town and we sampled quite a few. The Hotel restaurant is also very good. We couldn’t have been happier and would readily stay there again. In Cape Town we spent a great morning on Table Mountain. A highlight was exploring the Bo-Kapp area and enjoying a wonderful Cape Malay lunch. This had a special interest for Wanda and I because we lived in Southeast Asia for seven years and were immersed in the Malay, Indonesian and South Indian cultures, as well as Chinese. The Cape Tour filled a wonderful day. Our driver/guide was excellent, personable, very knowledgeable and a pleasure to be with. Cape Town is a remarkable city and we would happily return as we could barely scratch the surface.  It has everything – cuisine, cultures, art, music, beauty and lovely people.

I cannot think of enough superlatives for the wine country visit. We are wine enthusiasts and have made several trips over the years to the wine country in the US. Rick extended a business trip to enjoy the wine country in Australia. South Africa’s wine region is wonderful. It is very  scenic and beautiful and the hospitality is great. What set this  trip apart was our guide, Martin Stevens. Growing up in Stellenbosch, earning a degree in the wine business and serving as winemaker for many years certainly qualifies him. There was no question he couldn’t answer about the area, the wines, the viticulture and life in the region. The wineries were beautiful and the wines themselves of course were outstanding. A favorite winery was a small farm called Mitre’s Edge. A family operation with a personal vision about wines and winemaking, this was very special. I have a case of their wine on the way! The Macaron Guest House was very good. Our room was spacious and comfortable, the location is great, the breakfast excellent.

The two game reserves were great choices, Lalibella is set in the Cape, with rolling green hills. The lodge was great, excellent rooms, excellent dining and very scenic. What really elevated this experience was our driver/guide Ashley. Very personable and helpful, his knowledge and experience made every game drive an education. He has been at Lalibella for 15 years and he is responsible for training all of their guides. He has been nominated to the South Africa Guide of the Year Awards from the East Cape Province.

Madikwe’s setting of arid, red earth and scrub Acacia makes quite a contrast to Lalibella. Kopano Lodge is outstanding in every way – design and architecture, excellent rooms and a truly skilled and delightful staff. Dining was 5 star. Chef Tony is very creative and talented. He was outstanding at weaving in various culinary influences and we were treated to some amazing flavours and presentations. Once again, the experience was made outstanding by our driver/guide Brendin. Warm and friendly and vastly knowledgeable, every drive was fun, exciting and very educational.

Our internal flights were also very good. AirLink exceeded expectations with a professional operation and staff. And meal service even on a one-hour flight. You will not find this in the US anymore. Federal Air also did an impressive job. Their terminal at Johannesburg  was welcoming and comfortable. Their luggage storage worked great. Efficient and professional people.

What a trip! A beautiful and exciting city, wonderful wines, outstanding food, and two great game reserves. It all went smoothly and every day was a joy.  Thank you, Natalie, for everything.

Mr/s Workman

(Travelled May 2024)

safari, madikwe, eastern cape, elephants, south africa