Our Tips for a Romantic Holiday in South Africa – Cape Town, Winelands, De Kelders, Garden Route & Kruger Park (+ Video)

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A Gourmet & Adventure Road Trip in Pictures with hotel, restaurant, adventure and travel tips

Stunning sunsets, gourmet food at its finest, the best wines, beautiful scenery, incredible starry skies, romantic candlelight and fireplaces – to us, this is pure romance and Africa! We fell in love with Africa on our Namibia trip last year and could finally visit the continent again this year. This time we went on a gourmet tour to South Africa. And South Africa is an insanely amazing country!

You can find some of the world’s best restaurants and wineries here as well as beautiful luxury hotels and lodges. There are so many good and inexpensive restaurants (see tips below) that you are spoiled for choice. To get as a good a meal in Germany, you have to go a star-rated restaurant and will then easily pay three times as much.

The South African Rand is currently at a record low. Of course that is bad for the locals! For us, as travelers, that however also means, a luxury holiday at competitive prices. And with so much romance, this country is of course perfect for your   honeymoon or even a marriage proposal! Furthermore, South Africa is one of the most family-friendly and secure long haul destinations.

South Africa has beautiful beaches, rugged coastlines, deserts, endless dry savannahs, scrublands, rainforests, lagoons, wetlands, high plateaus, low and extremely high mountain ranges. As they say, the whole world in one country. And yes, this country in southern Africa is so incredibly diverse, that even after our trip, we still feel we have missed out on so much. One simply can experience and do so much here, that one holiday is hardly enough.

The climate on the Atlantic coast in the west is sometimes rough and not necessarily suitable for a beach holiday, as the water is just too cold. Nonetheless there are still a few hardy surfers and swimmers. To the east on the Indian Ocean the weather is mild with a Mediterranean climate and in the northeast it is tropical and hot.

The combination of modern big city life, European comfort and the originality of black continent Africa with its friendly people and unique flora and fauna is something really special.

If you want to enjoy the best gourmet food and delicious wines, exciting entertainment and great trips, the Western and Eastern Cape is the place to be! Those looking for wild Africa and even more romance, should definitely visit the Kruger Park. A combination of both, is of course, perfect!

We would like to give you some tips for your dream holiday or maybe even your honeymoon in South Africa. Apart from the hotels and restaurants where we were, we have even more tips from travelers we met along on the way!

21 days, 1120 km, 2 flights, 5 Hotels, 3 Lodges and 10 Safaris

We traveled to South Africa from mid-April to early May 2016. We experienced this time, it is autumn in South Africa, as very pleasant. Sure, there were a couple of rainy days, but otherwise the weather was nice and warm. It was also not that crowded in Cape Town. Where on usually waits three hours in line at Table Mountain during peak season, we simply walked through.

We started our trip in Camps Bay, Cape Town. From there we went to Paarl and Robertson, you should also not miss Franschhoek, in the Cape Winelands and then to De Kelders on the rough (whale) coast. After that, we drove to Plettenberg Bay and Port Elizabeth on the Garden Route. From Port Elizabeth we took a domestic flight to Hoedspruit and from there we went to the Kruger Park.

We visited beautiful hidden gems – great hotels, guest houses and lodges with lots of charm and that special something. And they all were unique in their own way.

Be inspired by our pictures and tips!

Cape Town/Camps Bay

Cape Town is definitely worth a visit or even better, several visits! We stayed 4 nights and feel that we have only seen a very small fraction of the city. In the absolute peak season, between Christmas and New Year, it is teeming with tourists. Even in the green season, from June to August, Cape Town is worth a visit. Then it is quiet, windless, mosquito and tourist free.

Exploring one of the most beautiful cities in the world, also called “Mother City”, stays with you forever. The view of the 1086 m high Table Mountain on one side and the amazing view of the ocean on the other, is impressive. The city is an exciting mix of Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, Florida and California.

Cool video from a local (Andrew Brauteseth): 10 Reasons why Cape Town is the Best City in the World

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Sea Five Boutique Hotel /Camps Bay
This luxury beach house with 7 suites, priced from 169 EUR per night, is centrally located on a quiet hillside of Camps Bay, one of South Africa’s most famous beaches. From here it is just 300 meters to the beach. The tasteful design, relaxing atmosphere and the great pool guarantees that holiday feeling from the first moment on. The rooms are very spacious and beautifully decorated. And such a fully stocked minibar inclusive in the price, is seldom seen! Our report>

5 Central Drive, Camps Bay 8005, Kapstadt, South Africa, www.seafive.co.za

Sea Star Rocks /Camps Bay
The very stylish Sea Star Collection hotel has 3 suites, priced from 182 EUR per night, and an overwhelming view of the ocean. The huge glass doors offer a wonderful panoramic view of Lion’s Head, Bakoven and Camps Bay beach. To have such a view is really pure luxury! But besides this, the hotel, with the huge paintings on the walls and bright yellow armchairs, is stylishly furnished. You can take a dip in the 18-meter infinity pool or relax in the hot tub. The very likeable managers Thekla and Clarissa takes great care of their guests. Our report>

26 Theresa Avenue, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa, www.seastarrocks.co.za

More hotel tips

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat /Cederberg Mountains
(Beautiful Lodge in the wilderness, No. 2 of the Top 25 Hotels in Africa , 140 miles north of Cape Town)
Agert Pakhuis Pass, Cederberg Mountains, Clanwilliam, 8135, South Africa, www.bushmanskloof.co.za

Restaurants
We went to these restaurants ourselves, or they were highly recommended to us.

Codfathers /Camps Bay (visited by us)
(best seafood & sushi)
37 The Dr, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8040, South Africa, www.codfather.co.za

The Best Sushi Restaurants in Cape Town >>

The Hussar Grill /Camps Bay (visited by us)
(Delicious steak & great atmosphere)
108 Camps Bay Dr, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8040, South Africa, www.hussargrill.co.za

Paranga /Camps Bay
(Trendy cuisine on the beach front)
Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8040, South Africa, www.paranga.co.za

The Round House /Camps Bay
(Fine dining with seasonal cuisine)
The Glen, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8040, South Africa
www.theroundhouserestaurant.com

Umi Fusion /Camps Bay
(Modern Japanese cuisine with great views)
201 The Promenade, Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8040, South Africa
www.umirestaurant.co.za

The Bungalow /Clifton
(International cuisine with spectacular views)
Glen Country Club, 3 Victoria Road (Old LA Med), Clifton, South Africa, www.thebungalow.co.za

Willoughby & Co /V&A Waterfront
(Very fine Japanese cuisine, sushi is the house specialty)
Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre, Breakwater Blvd, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa, www.willoughbyandco.co.za

The Test Kitchen /Woodstock
(Africa’s best restaurant – 2016 World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards)
The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7915, South Africa, www.thetestkitchen.co.za

The Potluck Club /Woodstock
(Modern and world-renowned, many small plates to share)
Silo Top Floor, The Old Biscuit Mill, 373-375 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7915, South Africa, www.thepotluckclub.co.za

Myoga /Newlands
(Brilliant 7-course meal for only R365 per person)
60 Colinton Road, At the Vineyard Hotel and Spa, Newlands, 7700, South Africa, www.myoga.co.za

Adventure

The Best Secret Beaches in Cape Town >>

Wine Tasting – Eagle´s Nest /Constantia (visited by us)
(Award-winning wines with a delicious cheese platter in a warm atmosphere, separate white wine only tasting also available)
Constantia Main Rd, Constantia, Cape Town, 7806, South Africa
http://eaglesnestwines.com

Wine Tasting – Beau Constantia /Constantia
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, www.beauconstantia.com

Tip: Both wineries are accessible on the City Sightseeing Bus (Purple Wine Tour). Personally, we found Groot Constantia too big and a bit too touristy.

Table Mountain / Cape Town
(brilliant view from this city’s landmark, easily accessible by cable car or with rock climbing) www.tablemountain.net

Sundowners on Signal Hill / Cape Town
Locals gather here for a drink and to watch the beautiful sunset.
(Parking at the top of Kloof Nek Road or use the red City Sightseeing bus)

City Sightseeing Bus /Cape Town (used by us)
(Explore the city in a convenient and interesting way, also goes directly to Table Mountain) www.citysightseeing.co.za

Cape Peninsula Route /Cape Peninsula (visited by us)
(250 km long route via Camps Bay, Constantia and Kirstenbosch, Hout Bay, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Muizenberg, Simon’s Town, Cape Point to Chapman’s Peak Drive.)

Boulders Beach /Simon´s Town (visited by us)
(Home to a Jackass penguin colony – a bit touristy, but very cute)
Kleintuin Road, Sea Forth, Simon’s Town, South Africa, more info: www.capetown.travel

Cape Winelands

South Africa is famous for its fine wines. The vineyards in the Western Cape belong to UNESCO and include the 6 wine regions Constantia, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Robertson and Wellington. You can enjoy great wine tastings, wine tours and tasty food is also served at the countless wineries. The beautiful landscape is best explored during the South African winter, since everything is wonderfully green then. However, it can also rain every now and then.

Palmiet Valley Wine Estate /Paarl
This 300-year-old wine farm is located in the Paarl Valley, between countless vineyards and the Drakenstein mountains, a mere 40 minutes from Cape Town International Airport. The historic manor in the Cape Dutch style has a swimming pool and 13 rooms in 6 categories, priced from 75 EUR per night. Every room has a romantic four-poster bed and a great bathroom. The stylish and peaceful estate is especially popular with bridal couples. Weddings can take place in the cellar, the small chapel or in the open air. Up to 80 people can celebrate at a wedding to their heart’s content. The gourmet breakfast and the 3-course dinner are a real treat. (Our report follows)

Sonstraal Rd, Paarl, 7628, South Africa, www.palmietvalleyestate.co.za

Rosendal Winery and Wellness Retreat /Robertson
The romantic guest house with 8 rooms, priced from 64 EUR per night, can be reached from Cape Town via Route 62 in about 2 hours. Five of the bedrooms, the Spa Suites, are in the main house and have a great view of the infinity pool. Three rooms are located in the farm house and overlook the vineyards. The restaurant has a really gifted chef who conjures up very delicious gourmet food in the cozy restaurant. The Spa is also highly recommended, for example, for a Signature African Wood Massage. (Our report follows)

Klaas Voogds West, GEDULD, Robertson, 6707, South Africa, www.rosendalwinery.com

More hotel tips

Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guest House /Franschhoek
(Nice guest house with 6 rooms)  www.aka.co.za

Majeka House /Stellenbosch
(Luxury hotel with 20 extravagant rooms and spawww.majekahouse.co.za

Restaurants

La Petite Ferme /Franschhoek
(Top 15, “Best Value” in the world by Condé Nast Traveller, very idyllic)
Lambrechts Rd, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa, www.lapetiteferme.co.za

Bread & Wine at Moreson /Franschhoek
(For that special lunch at the top winery “Môreson”)
Moreson Farm, Happy Valley Road, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa
www.moreson.co.za

The Tasting Room /Franschhoek
(Internationally acclaimed and highly creative cuisine at Le Quartier Français)
Wilhelmina St, Franschhoek, 7690, Südafrika, www.lqf.co.za/restaurants

Adventure

You can find great tips for Robertson on Melissa’s Food Blog: What to do in Robertson Wine Valley

Olive Tasting – Marbrin Farm /Robertson (visited by us)
(Very entertaining olive oil tasting on a fine, isolated farm, top quality)
Klaasvoogds East, Robertson, 6707, South Africa, www.marbrin.co.za

De Kelders | Gansbaai | Hermanus

These three cities are located about 170 kilometers southeast of Cape Town on the Walker Bay coast. Those who would like to dive with white sharks, is exactly in the right place when in Gansbaai. The waters around Dyer Island, about 12 km off the coast, are swarming with white sharks (8 m) like hardly any other place on earth, due to a large seal colony.  Shark cage diving is just not our thing!

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The coast between De Kelders and Hermanus is a whale watcher’s paradise from June to November every year, with the best time being in October and November. Then there are up to 80 Southern Right Whales (15-20 m) giving birth in the bay. Both towns have received Best Whale Watching Site awards from UNESCO.

Sea Star Lodge /De Kelders
This modern 5-star guest house is located in De Kelders on the coast of Walker Bay. You have a magnificent view of the Atlantic coast from the lounge and the 6 suites, priced from 91 EUR per night. We stayed in the Master Suite – which is almost as big as an apartment – and the Tree Top Room with a great bathroom and a terrace with uninterrupted ocean views! Manager Candice takes good care of the guests. Whoever feels like it, can go on a very interesting township tour with Vuyi, one of the staff members. Tip: If you stay here, you can occasionally go out for dinner to the private restaurant of interior designer Niel Stemmet or to the Sea Star Cliff. Very delicious! (Our report follows)

19 Ingang St, Gansbaai, 7220, South Africa, www.seastar.co.za

More hotel tips

Sea Star Cliff /De Kelders (visited by us)
(Very stylish guest house directly on the Cape Whale Coast) www.seastarcliff.co.za/

De Kelders Private Retreat /De Kelders (visited by us)
(Guest rooms in the private house of the cool interior designer and chef Neil Stemmet
www.dekeldersprivateretreat.com

Harbour House Hotel /Hermanus
(Beautiful rooms in a prominent position right on the coast)
www.harbourhousehotel.co.za

Restaurants

Blue Goose Restaurant /Gansbaai (visited by us)
(Chic superb fish and grill restaurant)
 12 Franken St, Gansbaai, 7220, South Africa, www.facebook.com/Blue-Goose

Coffee on the Rocks /De Kelders
(Cozy cafe and AirBnB accommodation, right on the coast and perfect for whale watching)
81 Cliff St, Gansbaai, 7220, South Africa, www.coffee-on-the-rocks.com

Adventure

Horse Riding mit Bertie /Gansbaai (visited by us)
(Beautiful rides on the beach or in the mountains for beginners and advanced riders, 1 hour from R350) Telephone: 079 1958463

Township Tour with Vuyi /Sea Star Lodge, De Kelders (visited by us)
(Interesting tour to get to know the lives of the local people a bit better)

Great White Shark Cage Diving /Gansbaai
(For the brave – should be great)
9 Kus Drive, Kleinbaai, Gansbaai, South Africa, 7220, www.sharkcagediving.co.za

Shopping

Lembu Gallery and Studio /Hermanus (visited by us)
(Handmade art, decorative items & fabrics – can also be ordered online)
167a Main Road, Hermanus, 7200, South Africa, www.lembu.net

Anza Curtains /Hermanus (visited by us)
(Nice shop for interior design & decoration)
151C Main Road, Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa, Facebook: Anza Curtains

Garden Route

The Garden Route is a very popular and fertile region along the Indian Ocean and the N2. It is situated between Mossel Bay and Port Elizabeth. It is greener here than in the deserts landscapes to the north. There are numerous great beaches, beautiful lagoons, rugged cliffs, deep forests (Knysna), the Tsitsikamma National Park with the Storms River Mouth and many small, beautiful towns such as George, Wilderness and Oudtshoorn. For the more active, there is plenty to do: swimming, surfing, fishing, hiking, biking, golfing, canoeing, abseiling or bungee jumping.

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Hog Hollow Country Lodge & Villa /Plettenberg Bay
This cozy and romantic lodge, surrounded by nature and overlooking the Tsitsikamma mountains, is located 18 km from Plettenberg Bay. The 16 suites, priced from 190 EUR per night, all have a fireplace, a large bathroom with a corner bath, a minibar, a terrace with a wonderful view of the countryside and no TV. Highlight: the large glass doors in our room and in the bathroom can open completely. The fireplace was also another highlight! You can enjoy a good meal in the cozy restaurant or go for a swim in the pool. The Villa and the new Country House with pool can comfortable accommodate large families or up to 3 couples travelling. For animal encounters, you can visit Monkeyland, Birds of Eden, the Elephant Sanctuary and the Knysna Elephant Park. Or you can explore the countryside on horseback with Hog Hollow Horse Trails. (Our report follows)

Restaurant

Askop Road, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay, 6602, South Africa, www.hog-hollow.com

The Fat Fish /Plettenberg Bay (visited by us)
(Brilliant seafood & sushi)
Milkwood Centre, Hopwood St, Plettenberg Bay, 6600, South Africa
www.thefatfish.co.za

HillsNek Safari Camp /Port Elizabeth
This family run safari lodge with full board and 4 tents, priced from 430 EUR per night, is located in a quiet corner of the Amakala Game Reserve. The tents are all connected by wooden walkways to the main lodge and they each have a great safari-style bathroom, a romantic outdoor shower, no TV (we always find this great!), a minibar and spectacular panoramic views over the landscape. With a little luck, you get to see wild animals on the game drives at 06:00 or at 16:00. The lodge is perfect for families, friends and couples. It is also very popular for marriage proposals. A romantic dinner at sunset on your own private terrace or in your tent offers the perfect setting for it. (Our report follows)

Amakhala Game Reserve, Sidbury, South Africa, www.hillsneksafaris.com

More hotel tips

Plett Game Reserve /Plettenberg Bay
(Colonial style lodge with 10 rooms, safari on horseback included)
www.plett-game-reserve.co.za

The Fernery Lodge & Chalets /Tsitsikamma
(6 suites & 11 chalets in the beautiful countryside with ocean views and a great restaurant) www.forestferns.co.za

Tsala Treetop Lodge /Plettenberg Bay
(Romantic luxury treehouse suites and villas + great restaurant “Zinzi”)
www.tsala.com

Gorah Elephant Camp /Addo Elephant Park, nahe Port Elizabeth
(The only camp in the Addo Elephant Park with 11 tents in the chic colonial style)
www.gorah.hunterhotels.com

Adventure

Tsitsikamma National Park /Garden Route National Park (visited by us)
(Hike to Storm’s River Bridge)
Garden Route National Park, 6308, South Africa, www.sanparks.org

Addo Elephant Nationalpark /Port Elizabeth
(Safari in your own car)
R335, Addo, 6105, South Africa, www.sanparks.org/parks/addo

Kruger National Park

The absolute highlight of our trip – the famous Kruger National Park. It is the largest wildlife sanctuary and the most exciting safari destination in South Africa. In summer, from November to April, it is hot with higher rainfall, but warm and dry in winter. Game drives and encounters with African wildlife are spectacular and unforgettable!

Makumu Game Lodge /Kruger Park
This exceptional luxury lodge is located in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve (60,000 hectares) – one of the largest private reserves in the country and part of the Kruger National Park. It offers total privacy, all-inclusive luxury and nature in abundance. Even the furnishings of the main house and 3 suites, priced from 454 EUR per night, is luxurious and individualistic. The Zulu, Ndebele and Bushman Suites are inspired by these South African tribes. Every detail was selected with great care. To create the perfect bush feeling, there is no power in the suites, but only candlelight. If you are lucky, a few elephants might even pass by the pool. The warm-hearted manager couple, Chris (ranger) and Janet, the ingenious cook Nelly and the whole team will make your stay unforgettable. The food is top notch and the safaris are absolutely spectacular! With luck (we are in the bush after all) we encountered the Big Five and of course lots of other wild animals. (Our report follows)

Kruger Park, South Africa, www.makumu.com

More hotel tips

Garonga Safari Camp / Makalali Private Game Reserve
(Romantic camp with 12 tents, west of the Kruger Park) www.garonga.com

Further information

Best time

Spring and autumn are recommended in particular. When it is winter in the northern hemisphere, it is summer in South Africa. Therefore Christmas and New Year are especially popular. During peak season, from November to February, Cape Town is very hot, windy, crowded, expensive and the roads are full. September and October are more ideal, the plants bloom, temperatures are bearable, it is the best time for whale watching, but it could be windy. Mid-January to mid-March is warm with lower rainfall. From the middle of May to early September it is cool with short, but heavy rain showers. There are also warmer days during this time period and the prices are lower.

Flights

You can fly nonstop with Condor from Frankfurt to Cape Town overnight in about 12 hours. Very comfortable! We can highly recommend the Premium Class. Obviously, it is more expensive, but so worthwhile! The 15 cm extra legroom are already really worth it – this way you will survive the night on the plane well. On top of that there is also a wellness set: extra-wide pillows, additional baggage allowance and a really good Premium menu! If you have the necessary small change, business class is of course, even more comfortable.

Pretty cool: Condor donates 0.60 EUR of each flight to the Reiner Meutsch Foundation FLY & HELP. Among others, a school to the value of 40,000 EUR has already been financed in Omuhonga, in the north of Namibia.

There is a great honeymoon special with South African Airways: 50% discount for the 2nd person, valid up until 6 months after the wedding date.  Our booking tips: From Silke of www.vermundo.de

Rental Car

Just like in Namibia, we can again highly recommend Avis for South Africa. We arrived in De Kelders with a flat tire. And instead of just changing the tyre, they brought us a new car from Cape Town. And an even better one. This is what I call service!

We hope you have found a few cool tips here! Have a great trip!
What are your tips for South Africa?

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Note: During our stay we were partially supported by all 8 hotels, guest houses and lodges. Thank you so much! Thanks to Condor for the upgrade! The opinions expressed in this article are as always 100% our own!

Our visit to the 8 hotels, guest houses and lodges was part of the “Favourite Gourmet Self-Drive Journey”. Planned and organized by Silke Marshall Marketing Solutions. A heartfelt thank you!!!

Monique De Caro

Monique De Caro

Travel Blogger | Graphic-Designer | Photographer at Beautiful Weddings by Monique De Caro
Hallo, ich bin Monique #lebensfrohe Weltenbummlerin #Grafik-Designerin #Fotografin #Genießerin und die Schreiberin dieses Blogs. Da ich selbst Hochzeitsfotografin bin und ich meinen Mann Marcus (der mich stets auf den Reisen begleitet) am Strand Anse Source d´Argent auf den Seychellen geheiratet habe, möchten wir euch vor allem Tipps für wunderschöne Flitterwochen, die eigene Hochzeit am Strand, einzigartige Hotels oder die romantische Auszeit zu zweit geben.
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@moniquedecaro

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