Most tourists who visit South Africa come (at least in part) for the wildlife. They want to take a safari, and see some of the “big 5” wild animals that make their home in this region. While seeing these magnificent creatures in their native habitat is a thrilling experience, South Africa is also a fine dining destination. The vineyards are some of the finest wine producing spots on Earth. Constantia Valley, Paarl, Elgin, Stellenbosch, Franschoek and others, attract thousands of wine aficionados from around the world. Here are some places of interest you cannot miss out while wining and dining in South Africa.
Cape of Good Hope
You can get an inexpensive tour that covers a lot of the Cape Peninsula and Cape Town. Bus tours run frequently, with 14 stops around the area. You get to see top highlights, as well as some lesser known spots. Along the way, you will find some breathtaking scenes, fascinating locations, and delicious wine tasting. If you stop off at Hout Bay, you can have fish and chips for lunch, as you look out over the beautiful bay. Depending on how many stops you get off at, you can finish the tour in a couple of hours, or take all day.
Discover traditional African life
On the Eastern Cape, you can experience the traditional life in South Africa for yourself. At the Bulungula Eco Lodge, you can stay in a hut with no electricity. You can relax during the day and go fishing, or you can “go local”, leaning the old ways of doing things. Try gathering firewood and carrying it back on your head. Take a turn at grinding your own corn and cooking an African meal. It is a unique, eye-opening opportunity.
Discover the Valley of Desolation
Located on the Eastern Cape, in Camdeboo National Park, the Valley of Desolation is an area of amazing rock formations. Huge rocks, 360 feet high, create a unique landscape. There are hiking trails so you can explore this rocky park, which in spite of its name, is full of wildlife and far from desolate. You can also drive to the highest point, and get a sweeping view of the area. Pack a picnic to enjoy from a panoramic view point.
Visit a fishing village
If you drive 100 miles from Cape Town, you can reach Paternoster, a tiny fishing village. The name names “Our Father”, which was taken from words in a prayer said by Portuguese sailors who were shipwrecked. Homes in the town are converted fishing cottages, over a hundred years old, with whitewashed walls and tin roofs. Colorful boats lie scattered on the beach around the large crescent-shaped bay. It’s a lovely place to stroll barefoot on the beach, or just relax with a glass of wine, a nice meal, and a surreal view.
Dining on the beach
Die Strandloper (which means “the beachcomber”) is a unique restaurant along the west coast road from Cape Town. People drive over an hour to get here, just for a meal at this unusual spot. The restaurant is unlike anything you’ve seen before. The kitchen is really a fire pit on the beach. Seafood, such as mussels and crayfish, is as fresh as it gets, and other dishes include a traditional mutton stew. Dinner is served on paper plates, and you use mussel shells for spoons. Bring flip flops, your own beer or wine, and a sense of adventure.
One of Cape Town’s funkiest and most high-end wine estates, Franschhoek, invites tourists to dinner at the Franschhoek Kitchen. Are you ready to be amazed? The restaurant’s international cuisine, modern decor, and soothing ambiance will delight all your senses. The menu includes home-made dishes inspired from the South Africa’s traditions, too. Choose your wine, and if you’re not really a connoisseur, ask for advice and someone will recommend you the best assortment to pair with your meal.
South Africa is an incredible travel destination. The beautiful wine estates, the unbelievable landscapes, the wildlife, and the attractions will make your adventure become a memorable, unforgettable experience. Taste the delicious food varieties, know more about the fruity, delicate wines, and get to know more about the welcoming, happy people of this varied and diversified country.