West to East

I was the lucky one to host a group of USA travel agents for the VIRTUOSO symposium in April. Our stay was broken up between the Western and Eastern Cape where we had the pleasure of staying in two luxury properties.

The Cellars Hohenort is a hidden gem in the heart of the winelands of Constantia – a southern suburb of Cape Town. From its beautiful well-kept gardens to its award-winning restaurants, the property makes you feel at home from the moment you arrive. Nestled under the shadow of Table Mountain it’s a great hotel to experience beautiful flora, and with 7km of garden, it will keep you nice and fit if you wish to explore.

If you are looking for a relaxing stay outside the ‘hussle and bussle’ of the city, but still within easy reach, then this is the hotel for you. It’s comfortable and stylish, and it also has a lovely bar area with fireplace – a great way to round off the evening.

Our stay was far too short, but we knew we had our safari to look forward to, so after a short flight from Cape town to Port Elizabeth (1 hr 20 mins) and a 2hr road transfer, we arrived at the stunning Shamwari Game Reserve. Shamwari is a place like no other on the Eastern Cape. Whilst it gives you the opportunity to see the Big 5, it’s also big on conservation and rehabilitation which is a great selling point. I stayed in Bayethe Tented Camp, which is looking fantastic after its new makeover, and on the last night I stayed in Shamwari’s flagship lodge, Eagles Cragg. What a wonderful experience, as the rooms feel nice and secluded so you really feel like you’re in the bush by yourself. They are also very well appointed.

Shamwari is malaria free, family/child friendly and provides the opportunity to see the Big 5, so it’s a great place for a first-time safari experience. The accommodation is extremely comfy and the staff really look after you from the moment you arrive.

April is actually a perfect month to travel to both the Western and Eastern Cape. The mornings and the evenings are cooling off as we’re in autumn and the days are nice and warm, so a t-shirt is still the order of the day!

This trip really showcased what the different sides of the Cape has to offer and this is a perfect combination if you’re only in South Africa for a short visit.

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by Simon Jones

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