It may seem strange that South Africa's oldest and most venerable wine-producing valley is paradoxically also the one with the lowest profile. While the Cape's rolling Winelands, which are made up of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl, vie for attention - and thus get a lot of the acclaim - Constantia treads a quieter path, secure in the knowledge that two of its estates date back to 1685, making them the oldest in the country. For nearly 330 years, Groot (Great) and Klein (Small) Constantia have been harnessing the unique terroir and cool, crisp climate that lies between the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain range to create magnificent wines, including one of the most hailed of all time: the legendary Vin de Constance.
Halfway through the year, Africa’s mostly dry winter months arrive along with safari season.
Welcome to the world’s adventure playground! Africa is the destination to stretch your horizons and free your intrepid spirit. We’ve rounded up the best of the best rides, from mountain bikes to camels, horses to elephants and even a Harley-Davidson cruise!
If you and your family are waterbabies, then Africa’s magnificent lakes and sultry Indian Ocean should be on your all-time bucket list. Offering exciting destinations that are somewhat off the beaten track, the sheer diversity of both the topography and creatures of these underwater worlds has to be experienced to be believed.
I’ve travelled across most of Africa – from South Africa’s Cape Winelands to Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, throughout Botswana and Zimbabwe, to the archipelagos off Mozambique, from sultry Lagos in Nigeria to East Africa’s triumphant trio: Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. I’ve spent two decades in a love affair with this continent, mostly as a solo traveller.
There are few destinations as romantic as Africa. Vast blue skies curve down to golden grasslands that roll to the horizon, framed by distant mountains marching away in shades of navy and purple. Africa awakens your senses: the scent of wild sage, the cry of a fish eagle, and goosebump-inducing leopard sightings. The days are deliciously hot and the nights comfortably cool. African hospitality is warm and sincere, and when it comes to fine dining or lavish luxury, a leading safari lodge is hard to beat.
What is it about islands? We associate them with buried treasure, footprint-free beaches, swaying palm trees, lapping waves and carefree days wiled away under a life-giving sun. Most of us will never be lucky enough to own a private island and have a piece of paradise all to ourselves, but there are places in this world where our dreams and fantasies about islands can come true, if only for a little while.
If you are planning a holiday to South Africa, you may find it difficult to decide where to go and what to include. Do you prioritise lions and elephants? Or vineyards and historic battelfields? How about championship golf courses and award-winning beaches? If you choose the latter, do you prefer the chilly Atlantic shores with their penguins and seals, or the balmy Indian Ocean coastline with its turtles and whales?
Contrary to popular belief, bucket lists aren’t only for retired folk who are keen to SKI (‘spend the kids’ inheritance’). Today, youngsters are more switched on than ever before and after spending hours watching BBC or Lost Planet documentaries, many can’t wait to come to Africa and experience the thrill of seeing a leopard in the wild or elephant family at play for themselves.
The arrival of May during my northern hemisphere childhood promised the long, warm and sometimes sunny days of summer. South of the equator, however, things are heading in the opposite direction. Days are shortening and chairs are getting pulled a little closer to the campfire.