South Africa prides itself on its many spectacular and varied worlds, from Cape Town’s urban verve to wild, sun-lit dominions like the famed Ulusaba Private Reserve, to pastoral (and culinary and oenophilic) masterpieces like the sublime Cape Winelands.
Wilderness and Winelands pays superbly paced tribute to those worlds in a mere but bountiful 12 days. We begin at one of Sir Richard Branson’s most thrilling African creations, Ulusaba Safari Lodge, located in the Ulusaba Private Game Reserve within the in the Sabi Sand. Then we’re off to an idyll at Branson’s Mont Rochelle, in the heart of the cheery and pacifying Winelands. We end in a jazzy upbeat at Cape Town’s glamorous One&Only, named Africa’s number one hotel in a recent Condé Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice poll.
- Game drives, safari walks, and star-gazing from the observatory at Sir Richard Branson’s Ulusaba Game Reserve.
- Private Cape Winelands tasting and viticulture experience at luminary wineries like Fairview, Kanonkop, and Ernie Els.
- Intimate, comprehensive Cape Town touring: towering Table Mountain, spectacular, super-verdant Cape Peninsula (penguins!), Victorian-era towns, the festively multi-cultural Malay Quarter, a heartfully inspiring Micato-AmericaShare project, and more.
- Expert guides and facilitators at every step of the way, plus our unique 24-hour Concierge Service.
- Free Wi-Fi
- Private home dinner and cocktails in Cape Town with Pinto family friends
- 24/7 Concierge Team
- Extensive tastings at vineyards throughout the Cape Winelands
- Daily valet laundry service
- Extensive tastings at vineyards
- All airport transfers, game park, national park, and conservancy fees
DAY 1 - On the way to South Africa
DAY 2 - Johannesburg Overnight And Orientation
Upon arrival in Johannesburg, we’ll be met and escorted to O.R. Tambo Airport’s InterContinental Hotel for an overnight stay. After a relaxing dinner, we’ll have a trip briefing.
DAYS 3 to 5 - Sir Richard Branson’s beautiful Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
“At Ulusaba, we have set out to create the most beautiful game reserve in Africa,” says Sir Richard Branson. This website brims with beautiful safari lodges, camps, and game reserves, and we have our own favourites, but there’s no doubt that Branson & Co are giving Ulusaba their best effort, which—as you know—entails a lot of creative, sumptuous, high-spirited best.
We fly to Ulusaba Private Game Reserve—in the vast Sabi Sand Reserve, adjacent to Kruger National Park—on a short scheduled charter flight and immediately begin to savour its distinctive mix of down-home hospitality and thoughtful luxury. Our rooms in Ulusaba’s Safari Lodge are designed to give us an intimate feel for life in the bush (some are built tree-house style); we watch from our private verandah as animals stroll by on their way to the nearby watering hole, we swim in the lodge’s pool, dine al fresco (or restaurant style, or in our room), pay visits to Ulusaba Reserve’s well-populated animal troupes and solo stars by four-wheel drive vehicle or on guided walks, and maybe amble over to the the Lodge’s Aroma Boma Spa, which specializes in “Africology,” using time-honored local materials like rooibos, aloe, marula and African potato.
DAYS 6 & 7 The Supercalifragilistic Cape Winelands
We fly from Ulusaba’s private airstrip to Cape Town via Johannesburg and drive due west into the Winelands and our hotel, Mont Rochelle, another picture-pretty Branson gem, luxuriously well wrought, serene and welcoming, with the promise of “…a soft and golden morning, alert with the praise of birds,” as the great Elspeth Huxley wrote about a different, but wonderfully similar African place.
We spend the next couple of days exploring the Winelands, South Africa’s scenic treasure, graced with bang-up views that—with all due respect— out-drama Napa and Sonoma. We wander in the sparklingly kempt Dutch colonial and French Huguenot towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, dropping in on family-owned cheese farms and vineyards, lunching at the renowned Delaire Graff Estate and indulging in inspired pairings of locally-sourced fare and wines whose grapes are so expertly ripened Delaire has achieved South Africa’s coveted First Growth status. We might also wish to ogle the spectacular floral gardens with more than 350 indigenous plants and stop by the estate’s boutique for a look at the exquisite Graff Diamonds. And we’ll spend an afternoon at the Waterford Wine Estate in the gorgeous Blaauwklippen Valley, followed by – depending on our mood – a little more wine or chocolate tasting, or a visit to the Franschhoek Motor Museum.
DAYS 8 To 10 Cape Town’s Natural And Urban Delights
Cape Town has proudly vaulted to the top tier of the world’s favourite cities. In 2014 it was ranked the world’s number one Place to Go in the New York Times’ annual list. Cape Town’s cultural, artistic, and culinary life is perhaps Africa’s most bubbly, and our hotel, the magnificent One&Only, right on the fizzy Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, is stage centre on one of the continent’s greatest shows.
The great city is graced with a theatrical setting in a natural amphitheatre giving way to Table Bay, ringed with Devil’s Peak, Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, and the massively regal, ever-enchanting Table Mountain, the viewful top of which we’ll reach via one of the planet’s most astonishing aerial cableways. We’ll give Cape Town a thorough and fascinated look – and drop in for a hands-on visit to one of Micato-AmericaShare’s projects in what locals like to call the Mother City.
And we’ll make the magnificent drive down the Cape Peninsula, travelling through the Cape Floristic region, a unique bit of natural magic, home to more than 6,000 plants found nowhere else in the world, ending at the imposing and world-historic Cape of Good Hope, for more than half a millennium one of the world’s most important waterways. Along the way, we’ll pay our respects to the gaily tottering penguins at Boulders Beach, and enjoy lunch at Harbour House, on the shores of Kalk Bay, looking up an impressive 6,500 feet at Du Toits Peak.
And throughout our Cape Town stay, our Micato Safari Director will be close by, introducing us to the city’s iconic and lesser-visited sights, proudly showcasing a city and region that, as the Times says, “takes your breath away.”
DAYS 11 & 12 Morning In Cape Town, Then Heading Home
After a great O&O breakfast, we’ll have ample time to pack and freshen up at leisure before we’re escorted to Cape Town International for our flights homeward, arriving on Day 12.