Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spotlight on: South Africa

Adventure is easy to find in South Africa. The country is blessed with some of the world's most breathtaking and diverse environments. How you make your way through the landscape is up to you.

Whether on a multi-generational trip of a lifetime, a romantic honeymoon, or with a small group looking for adventure, a South African vacation is accessible and can appeal to all ages and all interests. At Gateway, we have extensive knowledge of this beautiful country. From cities, to safaris, to lodging, we know how to craft the perfect, unforgettable experience.

Travelers craving urban immersion will find South Africa’s cities humming with culture. Cape Town and Johannesburg both have a buzzing art, dining, sightseeing, and shopping scene. 

Cape Town 
The southernmost point in South Africa is filled with incredible sights, bustling markets, museums and art galleries, a lively waterfront, and an array of diverse culinary options. Visitors can easily spend four nights learning about the complex history and culture, relishing the spectacular views from the heights of Table Mountain to the bay at the Cape of Good Hope, and shopping in the city’s well-known markets and galleries. A day trip to Robben Island to see where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for more than 18 years is a sobering and educational journey. The city offers accommodations ranging from charming bed and 
breakfasts to five-star deluxe resorts.


The main industrial city of South Africa, Johannesburg is rich in history. Visitors will trace the earliest known origins of human life at the Cradle of Humankind and delve deep into the painful history of the apartheid years with stops at Nelson Mandela’s home, Soweto, and the well-interpreted Apartheid Museum, among other significant sights.  This city also boasts lovely hotels to accommodate all different types of travelers.  

Experiencing a South African safari is often the highlight of most travelers’ adventures. There is something breathtaking about viewing the “Big Five” and other animals in their natural habitats. (For novices, the Big Five are rhinos, elephants, lions, Cape buffalo, and leopards, known as the Big Five because they are the most difficult to hunt by foot.) There are safaris to fit every traveler’s wishes from those that emphasize fine wine and dining to programs for children, wildlife photography, cultural traditions, and more.  

There are many types of lodging available in the bush. From basic tented camps to luxury lodges boasting full amenities including air conditioning, pool, gym and spa. With over 20 National Parks, including well-known Kruger and Sabi Sands as well as malaria-free Madikwe and Timbavati, South Africa has many opportunities for unforgettable  wildlife viewing.

There are 600 wine estates around Cape Town and throughout the Western Cape. Wine tasting  is abundant in and around the vineyards and charming towns of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, and Paarl. The scenery, a cross between Napa and the French Alps, is the perfect backdrop for days spent wine tasting, hiking, biking, and shopping the handicrafts and contemporary regional art scene.

A visit to the Winelands can be done as a day trip from Cape Town or one could stay at a charming boutique hotel or a unique villa on a wine estate.

Due to the nature of the trip and the limited capacity at many of the lodges, travelers need to plan further in advance than for other foreign travel. Planning at least a year 
in advance will also help ensure you can use frequent flyer miles or obtain optimal flights and pricing. Since South Africa is in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are opposites ours at home. During winter in Michigan, it’s summer in South Africa and vice versa. South African winters are excellent for spotting animals due to the sparse foliage and their summers allow for more outdoor activities. Both seasons have many advantages for a spectacular visit.

Please contact your Gateway Travel advisor to begin planning your perfect South African adventure.

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