By Terri Rice

I often have people tell me that South Africa is on their bucket-list and my response is always the same – travel to this magnificent country is a MUST! Andrew and I recently returned from our 11th exhilarating excursion and enjoyed it just as much as our first. We choose to travel in January to get out of the cold winter here and enjoy the beautiful summer weather there. This is high season and rates are considerably more expensive but the current exchange rate of 15 South African Rand to the dollar, makes the trip very affordable.

Getting to South Africa is not easy, but once you get on that international flight, you just kick back and relax, watch a few movies, have a couple glasses of wine and enjoy. We always encourage winter travelers to fly out of Atlanta to Johannesburg on Delta if possible. Traveling from JFK or Washington on South African Airways in the winter can often times result in unwanted delays. SAA also has a fuel stop in Northern Africa on the return flight so we prefer the direct flight on Delta.

Upon arrival into the capital City of Johannesburg, you may want to spend a couple days seeing the sites and experiencing much of the country’s history. Airport hotels, including the Intercontinental and Southern Sun are both convenient and safe. For a little more luxury, I recommend the Saxon Hotel, located about 20 minutes from the OR Tambo Airport. Hotels are more than happy to arrange guided city tours by reputable agencies. Be sure to include visits to the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, and the Johannesburg Art Museum.

Cape Town and the Western Cape are an absolute must on your trip.


Hourly flights are available from OR Tambo and most hotels provide private airport shuttles. The Cape Grace Hotel, located in the Victoria and Alfred Center is my favorite in Cape Town. This hotel was voted The Best Hotel in Africa by CondeNast. The attention to detail and customer service is the best in the Country – guaranteed! The One and Only and The Table Bay Hotel are also great choices.


Fun things to do in Cape Town for first time visitors include taking the cable car to the top of Table Mountain which towers 3,500 feet over the city, driving along the peninsula down to the southern-most tip of the African continent called the Cape of Good Hope and visiting the penguins along the way. Be sure to take in some of the markets and experience the local flare at the V&A and Green Market Squire. A trip to Cape Town would not be complete without a tour to Robben Island, home to the prison where President Nelson Mandela spent most of his three-decade long sentence. For you thrill seekers, you can try a cage dive with Great White Sharks in Shark Alley near Gansbaai. And for you foodies, Test Kitchen (you will need to book months in advance) Roundhouse, Baja and The Bungalow are all fantastic.

Wine lovers will enjoy all that the Western Cape has to offer and daily excursions may be arranged through your hotel. Be sure to include trips to the quant wine villages of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Some of our favorite wineries include Ernie Els, lunch at Guardian Peak, a master tour and tasting at Fairview, followed by lunch at the Goat Shed and Hamilton Russell Winery. I also highly recommend booking dinner at Delaire Graff Estate. The food, service and stunning views are some of the best in the region.

For golf enthusiasts this area will not disappoint! If you are looking to get a real sense of “South African Golf” be sure to book rounds at Steenburg, Stellenbosch, DeZalze or Royal Cape.

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These tracks are where the locals play and prices are very reasonable. For a more country club-resort feel, be sure to try Arabella Golf Club or Pearl Valley. For the true die-hard golfers, include travel to the Garden Route during your stay. Must play courses include Fancourt, Pezula and Pinnacle Point. Make sure you bring plenty of golf balls for these courses!

No trip to South Africa is complete without a magnificent Safari. If your time is limited and you prefer to stay near the Western Cape, I would recommend Shamwari Game Reserve. However, it is certainly worth the effort to travel to the more out-of-the-way destinations to really get a feel for what an African Safari is all about. I am very biased in my recommendations for game reserves, as we have traveled to the same area for the past eleven years. My absolute favorite is The Madikwe Game Reserve, which is malaria free, and I strongly suggest staying at the Makanyane Safari Lodge. The accommodations, customer service, and animal viewing are some of the best on the continent! Makanyane offers eight romantic and secluded suites featuring; wrap-around glass walled interiors for uninterrupted views of the Marico River, indoor-outdoor showers, a private sun deck, and spectacular bathrooms.


Early each morning and again late in the afternoon, Makanyane’s expert guides will lead game drives in open-air trucks that track the reserve’s myriad animals and bird species. Madikwe is home to the Big Five—lion, elephant, leopard, rhinoceros, and water buffalo and you may have the opportunity to experience the magnificent seven, which includes wild dog and cheetah.


The Lodge also boasts a top-flight chef who will prepare meals that are to die for! Be adventurous and try all of the “local” dishes that he prepares. You will not be disappointed. There are also some great lodges within the Kruger National Park including Singita Lodge and Jock Safari.


Hopefully the information that I have provided has convinced you that South Africa is your next destination! South Africa is one of the few places on Earth that has something for everyone. It is the perfect example of adventure travel but comes with style and elegance. I truly hope you take the opportunity to experience this for yourself.

If you are interested in joining our next tour January 2 – 14, 2017, please visit our website at:

Andrew and Terri Rice specialize in providing golf tours to destinations around the world. Their passion for travel and adventure takes them to many of the industries most sought after “places to play”. Andrew and Terri guarantee their guests customized service, expert knowledge and an experience they will not soon forget.

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