South Africa Continues to Shine
South Africa has always been a destination known for its outstanding
game viewing and outdoor adventure. The country can now add outstanding cuisine to this list, as the country was named Africa’s Best Culinary Destination 2022 by the World Culinary Awards at this past December’s ceremony. Thandiwe Mathibela, the Global Manager of PR and Communications for South Africa tourism stated that, “This recognition South Africa has received in the culinary space is a testament that we have more than wildlife. We are also home to breathtaking landscapes and award-winning restaurants.” She continued, “I invite the world to come to South Africa to taste our wide variety of gastronomic delights and world-class cuisine.”
With accolades like this, it’s no wonder South Africa tourism has continued to grow since the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022 the USA closed with 262,183 arrivals, which is 220% over 2021, and 70% of the 2019 levels. The recovery to 2019 levels accelerated in the final quarter of the year with arrivals in December at 98% of the December 2019 levels.
Beyond the accolades and encouraging tourism numbers, the country has a lot of new properties to report. Below is all you need to know on the latest and greatest in the country.
Planning for a June 2023 opening, Laopi Tented Camps (www.tswalu.com) in the Tswalu Kalahari game reserve, has six individual safari homes surrounded by the open savannah. They can accommodate two or four guests for the ultimate private wilderness experience. The 4 one-bedroom homes and 2 two-bedroom homes, span over 3,200 square feet and over 4,600 square feet respectively. Sustainably designed and environmentally sensitive, each tented home is tucked into the contours of a valley between the Korannaberg mountains. The six homes are at least 165 feet apart to ensure privacy. Personal service is provided by a dedicated butler and all meals are prepared by a private chef in the interactive kitchen.
Opening Summer 2023, in the Nambiti Private Game Reserve, The Homestead (www.homesteadlodge.com) offers twelve suites, six of which are perfect for couples or solo adventurers. The other six suites can be connected for families and larger groups, and the entire property can be booked for events. The Homestead is an ultra-luxury eco-lodge in the malaria-free KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa. This new safari lodge is cut from local ironstone and the roof is planted with indigenous grasses, embedding The Homestead into the natural environment. The Homestead will get you closer to the big five, with the chance to spot over 50 protected mammal species and over 300 bird species.
Just recently opened, the Tented Eco Camp at Gondwana Game Reserve (www.gondwanagr.co.za) along the country’s Western Cape’s Garden Route is set in a protected fynbos valley in the heart of the reserve. The tented campsite runs entirely on solar power, is water-independent, and a plastic-free zone. And even with all these sustainable features, it’s still an off-the-grid luxury safari experience. It allows for a maximum of 14 guests offering an ultra-comfortable camp with all the amenities needed for your client to have an exclusive experience. The camp offers many authentic conservation activities as well, and all the information gathered during these activities are fed back into Gondwana’s conversation department. Conservation activities include game counts and predator tracking, checking leopard stealth cameras and, for a great workout, helping to eradicate the game reserve of alien invasive plants.
At the foot of the Drakensberg Mountain, in the heart of the beautiful South African province of Limpopo, lies the town of Hoedspruit, and the location the newly opened Safari Moon Luxury Bush Lodge (www.safarimoon.africa). Its location is fondly known as the Big Five Capital due to its proximity and easy access to the famed Kruger National Park and private game reserves. The reserve is home to an abundance of birdlife, with over 200 species, and game that roam freely. It is the ideal base from which to explore the wildlife of the Lowveld region. Children are always welcomed, and activities are outsourced (at an additional cost); guests are advised to secure guided activities at time the of booking. Some of the activities include a guided Big-Five open vehicle game drive into a private game reserve as well as a guided Big-Five open vehicle game drive into Kruger National Park. There are also boat cruises, hiking trails, hot air ballooning, and many outdoor activities.
For more information on South Africa, visit www.southafrica.net.