Lion, Sharks, + Luxury – Oh My!

I am asked all the time to offer suggestions of places to travel. Some folks are looking for adventure, while others are looking for relaxation and a bit of luxury. It’s no secret that my favorite place on earth is Italy, but there is another place that manages to come a close second on the list: Cape Town, South Africa. Surprised? I hope not because despite the lack of love and attention Africa gets, it truly is a place that has a little something for everyone.

Where else can you visit a safari, hit the beach, and visit a land-based penguin colony all with the comfortable trappings of the Western world? The answer: nowhere. Cape Town has some of the most fascinating safari resorts in all of Africa. One of the coolest parts of any African trip is checking out the beautiful animals that are within 100 yards of your jeep and being that close to them is one of most exhilarating feelings you’ll ever experience.  It almost inspires you to break out into a rousing rendition of “The Circle of Life” a la Lion King style. I haven’t met a single person who was not impressed by seeing a giraffe or lion up close despite initial reservations. Adventure? Check!

If being in the bush sounds like your worst nightmare, there are tons of other amazing things to explore like visiting the Cape Peninsula where one of only two land-based penguin colonies in the world is located. Or, there is always the option of heading to Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point where you can hang out at the lighthouse which overlooks the Atlantic and Indian oceans. From this vantage point, you can take amazing photos. This is also a good spot for a romantic picnic with your significant other. Relaxation and Romance? Check!

Other attractions include a vineyard called the Winelands that is quite fabulous and less expensive than American wineries, Garden Route– said to be one of the most relaxing and beautiful drives on earth, and perhaps what South Africa is most known for – swimming with great white sharks! Swimming with great white sharks is not something I’m recommending only because cage diving (yes, you need something to prevent you from becoming shark food) is pretty controversial there. The cage is often flimsy and may be the only barrier between you and the afterlife. Not entirely comforting, I know!

So, I’ve given you adventure, romance, and relaxation. What about the luxury, right? How about leaving your very luxurious stay at the Taj or Ellerman House hotel and hopping aboard one of the two luxury trains that transport travelers from Cape Town to neighboring Pretoria/Johannesburg? The Blue Train or the Rovos Rail offers passengers a luxurious ride to Johannesburg where museums, golf courses, and amazing restaurants await.

The next time you’re looking for adventure, luxury, relaxation, or a little bit of romance…opt for Cape Town, South Africa because it’s one of those rare gems that has everything on your wish list and so much more.

Links:

Blue Train:

 http://www.bluetrain.co.za

Ellerman House:

 http://www.ellerman.co.za

Garden Route:

 http://www.gardenroute.co.za

Great White Shark Diving:

 http://www.sharkcagediving.co.za

Rovos Rail:

 http://www.rovos.com

Taj:

http://www.tajhotels.com/Luxury/City-Hotels/Taj-Cape-Town-Cape-Town/Overview.html

Winelands:

 http://www.winelands.co.za

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