Exploring South Africa in Winter

South Africa is celebrating Nelson Mandela’s centennial this year and encouraging visitors to follow in Madiba’s footsteps with a host of experience suggestions across the country. And while Africa’s southernmost country is amazing to visit yearround, going in winter can score you lodging discounts and fewer crowds in both cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg although you’ll have to bundle up a little (it isn’t beach weather, but it is still nothing like a northern hemisphere winter). This is also the best time of year for a South African safari, as it’s easier to spot animals during the winter months (June-August) when they must trek to holes for water. Here are some suggestions on where to wander in this fantastic country, for more check out South African Tourism’s Madiba’s Journey app.

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
Probably the most visited attraction in the city, the V&A combines many elements of the greatest commercial waterfront projects around the world. There are plenty of draws for tourists (the Cape Wheel, helicopter rides, boat trips to Robben Island) and locals (450 retail outlets, from H&M to a major supermarket), but it remains a working harbor, with small seagoing vessels sailing between the main harbor and the dry dock that lies adjacent to the excellent Two Oceans Aquarium and Watershed craft and design hall. There’s even a fast-growing residential section, connected by canals that stretch toward the city. The latest addition, however, is the Silo District, which became one of Cape Town’s must-visit attractions soon after opening in late 2017. Here, a number of restaurants and boutiques, anchored by the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, are located amid old grain silos.
Diepkloof Zone 6, Diepmeadow, 1862, South Africa
A great dining experience can be found at the foot of the iconic Orlando Towers in Soweto in the form of Chaf-Pozi. Chaf-Pozi, is a traditional Shisa nyama. Shisa nyama is a Zulu phrase literally meaning “hot meat”. It is a term used to describe an informal barbecue or braai near a butchery to grill meat in an open fire. The site is usually provided by the butcher owner and only people who buy meat from the butcher are allowed to use the facility. In the photo, a group of friends who were out for a good time are enjoying their freshly picked and prepared meal together, The dining spot is perfectly situated being close to both the FNB and Orlando Stadiums, offering pre and post show meals and entertainment. The services of local taxis are also on offer. This allows guests to be transferred from other major centres to Chaf-Pozi to enjoy a stunning meal, followed by a sporting event or music concert. The extensive menu covers local cuisine including mutton, beef, chicken, wors, samp, pap, chakalaka as well as a variety of tasty side dishes. These meals are chosen fresh from the butchery and then prepared for guests’ enjoyment! Since it’s opening in 2010 the venue has hosted many dignataries and celebrities, and also works well as a spot for company year-end functions and birthday parties.
Northern Park Way and Gold Reef Rd, Ormonde, Johannesburg, 2001, South Africa
Opened in 2001, the Apartheid Museum powerfully—and extensively—documents the rise and fall of racial segregation in South Africa. Constructed on a 16-acre plot of land, the museum features a unique design—as you head through the gates, for example, you’ll notice separate entrances for whites and blacks. It’s quite an interesting way to start your voyage through the history of apartheid. The back gardens were designed by Patrick Watson and feature an impressive sculpture by William Kentridge. For anyone wanting to better understand apartheid, a visit to this moving museum is a must when in Johannesburg.
Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, Hazyview, 1242, South Africa
An award-winning hotel company, Singita is lauded not only for its luxurious properties but also for its dedication to the environment and uplifting communities. To reach Singita Boulders Lodge, guests can fly direct from Johannesburg to Sabi Sand Game Reserve on Federal Airlines’ daily jet service. Once there, they can expect open-air common spaces that provide a continuous connection to the outdoors, as well as spacious suites with game-viewing decks and private plunge pools. Also on-site is a swimming pool in the main lodge area, spa and gym facilities, and a wine boutique selling premier South African vintages. In addition to daily game drives, guests can indulge in activities like guided safari walks, photography lessons, stargazing, and archery, making for the stay of a lifetime.
73 Juta St, Johannesburg, 2000, South Africa
This semi-outdoor market on Juta Street in Joburg’s Braamfontein neighbourhood is fun fun fun. Eat oysters from Namibia, drink craft beer from South Africa, and devour paella, gelato, cheeses, chocolate...a food lover’s paradise! Open on Saturdays.
Pass Road, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa
There are several good reasons to make a special trip to this winery, not least that its sauvignon, pinot noir and shiraz regularly win major awards. The most obvious, however, hits you as soon as you walk through the restaurant and onto the sunbaked lawn, with its extraordinary view out over the beautiful valley of Franschhoek. Take a tour with the vineyard’s owner, John, who will narrate the story of the farm (it burned down in 1984) and his relationship with the vines. Then settle down on the lawn, sip a glass of wine, and thank the lucky stars that brought you here.
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AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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