Sowing the seeds of travel inspiration for 2020, this bucket-list trip is a two-week suggested itinerary across seven Relais & Châteaux properties in South Africa and Botswana.
Along this Route du Bonheur (‘Route of Happiness’) you will find a union of kindred spirits and shared enthusiasm for the “art de vivre”. Each property is distinctly unique, located in diverse settings from the Cape Winelands to the Okavango Delta, yet all grounded in luxury, authentic service and outstanding cuisine.
Embrace Africa with Relais & Châteaux this year at Londolozi, AtholPlace, Zarafa Camp, Duba Plains, Ellerman House, Bushman’s Kloof and Delaire Graff Estate.
DAYS 1 – 3: LONDOLOZI, SABI SANDS
2 nights at Londolozi in a Granite Suite on a full board basis.
Londolozi’s Private Granite Suites are a celebration of elegance and elephants in a remarkable river setting and offer an extraordinary experience for the exclusive use of six guests.
The lodge is flanked by an extrusion of granite rocks, an effect echoed by the décor’s bold materials and silver, charcoal and elephant grey palette. The suites convey Africa’s raw essence with a contemporary and elegant flavour. A sunset river bar and sunken cocktail lounge is suspended high above the Sand River where breeding herds of elephants wander over the ancient river ways.
The Suites blend the boundaries between inside and outside, creating a seamless integration with nature with large doors and windows opening directly onto the Sand River. Each Suite has a luxurious outdoor bath and private, heated swimming pool.
This luxury safari lodge is for the discerning traveller who appreciates the finer details. The Suites can be booked individually or as a private camp for six guests, making it ideal for honeymooning couples or small groups celebrating special occasions.
DAYS 3 – 4: ATHOLPLACE, JOHANNESBURG
1 night at AtholPlace in a deluxe suite on a bed and breakfast basis.
Contemporary-Classic glamour and understated elegance meet at AtholPlace Hotel, ensuring an unforgettable stay. Situated in the suburb of Athol, one of the most beautiful parts of Johannesburg and only a short distance from the commercial centre of Sandton, AtholPlace Hotel is the best spot to be. Guests are invited to enjoy everything we offer, from our nine stylish and spacious suites, to the comfortably furnished library with romantic fireplace and our swimming pool surrounded by a large wooden deck. The gardens surrounding AtholPlace Hotel are a perfect place to relax and unwind. Please do join us for a drink at our bar area, or enjoy a delicious meal at AtholPlace Restaurant with both indoor and outdoor dining options.
AtholPlace Hotel offers five superior suites and four deluxe suites. All nine suites have been individually designed, providing a sanctuary of comfort and tranquillity. The suites, all with en-suite bathrooms, are extremely spacious, ranging from 45-55 square metres. The Deluxe Suites offer interleading doors, making them ideal for families travelling with children. In the Superior Suites, we allow one child under 12 years to share with two adults.
DAY 4 – 6: ZAFARA CAMP, SELINDA RESERVE
2 nights at Zarafa Camp in a luxury tent on a full board basis.
Zarafa Camp is an intimate, four room exquisite tented camp located on the 320,000 acre Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana, an area linking the Okavango Delta and the Chobe/Savute corridors. Its villa, the Dhow Suites, consist of two tents and private main area and operates entirely independently of main camp.
Few camps rival the location of this little gem, Botswana’s first and only Relais & Châteaux property. Overlooking the crystal waters Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the famous Savute Channel, every area of camp has a magnificent view. The lagoon is also the water source for a tremendous population of wildlife – dry season sightings boast buffalo and elephant by the hundreds.
Zarafa Camp and Dhow Suites are the brainchild of the founders of Great Plains Conservation, who pooled their collective experience on safari to create what they deemed to be the best and most environmentally innovative camp. As a consequence, Zarafa may in fact be the “greenest” luxury safari camp on the continent. Only recycled hardwoods and canvas were used in the construction and all the camp’s electricity comes from its solar farm while a ‘bio-gas’ system recycles vegetable waste into usable cooking gas.
The Zarafa Camp guest tents, 1000 sq. ft in size are under beige, flowing canvas, with canopy ceilings and completely open (yet netted) sides. Entering through the heavy wood Lamu door transports guests to a lavish space of deep reds, browns, brass and copper, evoking richness and beauty. Each tent has a full lounge and a gas fireplace. The large bedroom is connected to an open layout bathroom with impressive copper claw foot bath, indoor shower, separate loo and double basins. Decking around the tent leads to the private plunge pool and outdoor shower, all with views of pristine Botswana wilderness. Under an impressive canopy of African ebony trees, the camp has a sizable main lounge, with adjacent library and dining area. Zarafa has succeeded in successfully retaining a clearly African feel, while balancing that delicate relationship between personal and informal and romance and adventure. With a maximum of just eight guests, Zarafa Camp offers complete flexibility. While drives do focus on the most comfortable and productive times of day, early morning and late afternoon, full day drives, walks and boating (water level dependent) are great ways to fill the day at Zarafa.
DAY 6 – 8: DUBA PLAINS CAMP, THE OKAVANGO DELTA
2 nights at Duba Plains Camp in a luxury tent on a full board basis.
Duba Plains Camp is a wildlife connoisseur’s getaway to the Okavango Delta. Built on a wooded island, connected to the prolific wildlife area by an elaborate set of bridges, the camp is the base of many famous wildlife documentaries by National Geographic filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert. The intimate camp consists of five traditional-style tents and the 2-bedroom Duba Plains Suite. All sit on raised decking, each with views of the surrounding floodplain and the steady stream of wildlife parading past. Each tent has a lounge area, a private veranda, beautifully appointed en-suite facilities consisting of flush loo, double basins and indoor and outdoor showers and luxurious baths.
Guests will be able to enjoy their own private plunge pool and outdoor under cover sala/day rest area. The main area consists of a large raised dining room, and a comfortable lounge with private dining areas, wine cellar, library, and chef’s kitchen with ample space for guests to either find a privacy or come together. The camp’s centre-point is the gathering place of all bush experiences, the fire place on an extended deck into the swamp. Duba Plain’s Toyota Land Cruisers are aptly named ‘Swamp Vehicles’ due to their extra-high suspension and absolutely huge tyres uniquely designed to traverse the floodplains. Duba Plains offers Botswana’s best land safari as well as an Okavango Delta experience, from wildlife viewing and birding or fishing from the boat, to walking and exciting drives with knowledgeable guides and friendly hosts.
DAYS 8 – 10: ELLERMAN HOUSE, CAPE TOWN
2 nights at Ellerman House in a superior house room, on a bed and breakfast basis.
Ellerman House Private Chauffeur will meet you at Cape Town International Airport. An easy transfer to the Hotel will allow you time to absorb the beauty of the City that is sheltered by the majestic Table Mountain. Once checked in you can enjoy a light lunch on the Terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Ellerman House is Cape Town’s most luxurious grand hotel. Situated in the prestigious Cape Town suburb of Bantry Bay (only 10min from the bustling city centre), this Cape Edwardian mansion demands your attention with its terraced lawns, outstanding art collection, unparalleled service and unique experiences. For over a quarter century, Ellerman House has been at the forefront hospitality innovation while embracing the classic elegance of the regal building. Prepare to be immersed in the rich South African culture while enjoying a leading South African art collection, tasting local flavours, enjoying the sounds of local musicians in one of countries most exclusive addresses.
With only 11 rooms, 2 suites and 2 three-bedroom villas, the property boasts two lounges, library, dining room, three dining terraces, spa, fitness centre, heated swimming pool, brandy lounge, Wine Gallery, Contemporary Art Gallery and champagne cellar – all exclusive to its guests.
DAYS 10 – 12: BUSHMANS KLOOF WILDERNESS RESERVE & WELLNESS RETREAT, CEDERBERG MOUNTAINS
2 Nights at Bushmans Kloof in a deluxe room on a full board basis.
A luxurious ecological oasis at the foothills of the Cederberg Mountains, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat offers a distinctive wilderness experience against a backdrop of wide-open plains, ancient sandstone formations and crystal-clear waterfalls.
The multi award-winning Relais & Châteaux Lodge is renowned for its splendid luxury, generous hospitality, creative cuisine and warm hospitality. The inspired, authentic Cape cuisine masterfully captures the indigenous flavours of the region. Guests can enjoy extraordinary dining experiences in spectacular dining venues around the reserve.
A Natural Heritage site, the reserve is home to an abundance of bird, plant and mammal species. Exhilarating outdoor experiences include nature drives, botanical walks, mountain biking, archery and fly-fishing and walks to some of the 130 ancient Bushman rock art sites in the reserve.
With a holistic healing and wellness focus in a setting that is therapy in itself, the Bushmans Kloof Spa combines ancient wisdom with modern expertise to revitalise the senses and restore a harmonious balance.
DAY 12 – 14: DELAIRE GRAFF, STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA
2 nights at Delaire Graff in a luxury vineyard lodge on a bed and breakfast basis.
Delaire Graff Estate is surrounded by sweeping views across stunning vineyards and mountains towards Stellenbosch, one of the world’s leading wine destinations. This incredible location provides a sense of escape and privacy for the guests of the Estate’s Lodges and Spa.
Designed with the discerning traveller in mind, each of the generously proportioned lodges, as well as the Presidential, Owner’s Lodges & Villa, are all thoughtfully conceived with careful attention to detail. Spacious living spaces and light filled interiors flow seamlessly outdoors where guests can choose to dip into their private plunge pool or relax on their private balcony. Each private kitchen is stocked with everything from organic coffee and specialist teas to the finest handmade chocolates.
Here, guests can enjoy art and design, gourmet foods, award winning wines and a world class spa featuring a range of products and exclusive treatments from Swiss Perfection and Aromatherapy Associates.