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south africa

South Africa - Shamwari Game Reserve

Days 7-10

What's a trip to South Africa without a Safari?! Shamwari Game Reserve is a private conservation in Eastern Cape, South Africa. They have 6 Luxury Lodges located on the reserve with 3 educational centers; Ian Player Rhino Centre, Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary and a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

As we drove into the reserve, we didn't realize that the road we were on was pretty much a Zebra and Giraffe crossing! There were giraffes literally feet away from our tiny car rental, what an awesome first encounter at Shamwari! Our lodge, Long Lee Manor, sat in the middle of the reserve, we stood there on the front lawn looking out to Zebras, Giraffes, Elephants, Warthogs, and Rhinos! 

Pool View with Giraffes, Zebras, and Warthogs

Pool View with Giraffes, Zebras, and Warthogs

Long Lee Manor

Long Lee Manor

Long Lee Manor Pool

Long Lee Manor Pool

With 5 Star Luxury Accommodations, you also get to endure in the ultimate game drive experience! The Lodge provides us with 3 meals a day, and was beyond expectation. When it was time for our game drive, we were greeted by Aymar, our Safari guide. Aymar from the start was a fun, courteous and a knowledgeable host! He could answer every question we had about the Reserve, animals and their habitat. 

The game drives started in the early morning with a 5am wakeup call (something I had to get used to). We meet at 5:30 for coffee/tea and then head out to explore. This also reoccurs at 3:30pm for the afternoon game drive.  

Shamwari and their wonderful staff provided an unforgettable experience. It was amazing how close we got to these animals! The Lodge was beautiful and warming I felt right at home. 

 

Accomodations - Shamwari Game Reserve; Long Lee Manor

Tip: Be sure to check the weather temps! In the morning/evening it gets a bit chilly and you may get the occasional rain. They provide you with warm blankets and ponchos but its nice to have layers. Use a telephoto lens on your DSLR camera for great up close and personal pictures.  

 

In collaboration with THE WILD COLLECTIVE

South Africa - Plettenberg Bay

South Africa - Plettenberg Bay

Days 5

Here comes the road trip! 5hrs and 45min to Plettenberg Bay from Cape Town... As we started our drive, I looked at the map and saw the Cheetah Outreach. This is a preservation center for cheetahs & other predators, with education programs & animal encounters. Of course we had to do it! 

He loves us

He loves us

Cheetah

We continued on and pushed through to Plettenberg Bay. Arriving late, we stayed at Beacon Island Resort. After arriving so late we had no idea where exactly we were but waking up in the morning and looking outside it was gorgeous! Nestled right on a cove with ocean views all around, it was refreshing. Our next adventure was only a quarter mile down the road. 

 

Days 6-7

 The Old Rectory is part of the Rare Earth Collection. Located in the heart of Plettenberg Bay, one of South Africa’s most loved coastal towns, The Old Rectory is an immaculately restored national monument built in 1777 and reimagined into an intimate boutique hotel. With only 18 luxury suites and only a short stroll from the beach, you can expect a personal, world-class experience with plenty to see and do including a spa, in-house restaurant and sparkling pool. 

We were greeted by Claudene, the reservations manager. She gave us a tour around the property, explaining the history behind the boutique hotel. The staff was impeccably trained, each paid notice to detail and ensured our stay a wonderful one. The chefs catered our meals to our dietary restrictions, which I couldn't have been more grateful! The chef even prepared a beach picnic for us as well, we couldn't have been more catered to. 

Picnic on the beach

The spa was like a private sanctuary. We scheduled a couples spa treatment. You enter the steam shower and apply an exfoliation and a body mask. After 20 minutes, we moved into a massage room and received a couples massage. It was so tranquil and one of the best massages I've ever had! After the massage, they greeted us in the Spa lobby with champagne and followed with breakfast by the pool!

The Old Rectory Spa
French toast with honey & cranberry

After our wonderful relaxation day, Claudene had presented us with some activities to do in the area. She had mentioned an Elephant Sanctuary where you can interact with elephants. Our guide was very knowledgable and even took a moment to tell us about how these elephants have been saved from labor workers, circuses etc. 

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Elephant Sanctuary

Accommodations: Beacon Island Resort, The Old Rectory

Activities: Cheetah Outreach, The Wedge Beach, The Elephant Sanctuary 

In Collaboration with The Wild Collective

South Africa - Constantia/Cape Point

WE MADE IT!

After 30 hours of travel, we arrived in Cape Town!

Days 1-2: The Wild Collective put together an amazing 10 day itinerary! The first stop on the itinerary was Constantia. Constantia Valley is a super nice, low-key suburb of Cape Town. Located on the South side of Cape Town, it's conveniently located close to Cape Point, Boulder Beach and most importantly, it's wine country! Nova Constantia Boutique Residence was kind enough to host us. The General Manager greeted us and had already taken the liberty of making a dinner reservations at Bistro Sixteen82 on a vineyard. After a long travel, this guidance and forethought was spot on. The entire staff at Nova Constantia are very friendly and beyond accommodating. 

Room at Nova Constantia 

Room at Nova Constantia 

Bistro Sixteen82 is a must. Delicious tapas overlooking the rolling hills full of grape vines is beautiful. It's located on the Steenberg Farm.

Steenberg Wine Farm

Steenberg Wine Farm

We made our way down to Boulder Beach to see the South African Penguins and kept going down the coast to Cape Point. Cape Point has breathtaking panoramic views. We even saw an Ostrich on our hike!

Penguins at Boulder Beach

Penguins at Boulder Beach

Cape Point overlooking Diaz Beach

Cape Point overlooking Diaz Beach

Our road trip continued to Cape Point Vineyards (yes we love our wine tastings!) 

Cape Point Vineyards

Cape Point Vineyards

Lastly, We had to try the Chefs tasting menu at Buitenverwachting. YUM! The menu, consisting of retro cuisine, is divided into four categories, Light & Easy, Rustic Affairs, Indulge and Desserts, catering for relaxed and deli style lunches / dinners, but also offering a limited selection of fine dining dishes.

 

Hotel Accommodation: Nova Constantia

Restaurants: BistroSixteen82 - Steenberg Farm, Buitenverwatching

Activities: Steenberg Farm Wine Tasting, Boulder Beach Penguins, Cape Point, Cape Point Vineyards, Buitenverwatching Farm. 

Suggestions: RENT A CAR! We wouldn't have been able to do a majority of these activities if we didn't have a car. WIFI is limited (available but slow), I suggest buying a mobile hotspot to use for navigating. AT&T and Verizon are not covered under the travel pass in South Africa. 

In collaboration with The Wild Collective

South Africa (almost)

I've had some wonderful opportunities to travel, and this time it’s taking me to South Africa to collaborate with The Wild Collective! (Lions, and tigers and bears, oh my! Okay, maybe not the bears) The Wild Collective is a digital influencer agency that curate luxury travel and lifestyle collaborations. Pretty cool, huh? 

So, trying to plan all of this is a process! Dates are crucial because it all depends on availability of hotels (The Wild Collective coordinates this part for you), how many nights, and flights. Trying to choose a flight that’s budget friendly and one that will get you there in the shortest time possible might be the hardest. 

We ended up flying Turkish Airlines. It’s a 9hr flight from Boston to Istanbul. We made sure our checked luggage was under 20kg (44lbs) and our carryon was under 8kg (17lb). We ended up getting to Boston Logan Airport 3hrs early which was fine, our flight was leaving at 11:35pm and we had time to grab dinner. Anyways we boarded, the economy seats weren’t too shabby, I made sure to remove everything from the front pockets so my knees had a little more wiggle room. I’d tell you how the free meals were but I was 2 melatonin in and didn’t wake up for dinner or breakfast. When we landed the little girl behind me ended up throwing up, I’ll just take that as a good omen! 

And here we are, waiting in the Istanbul airport for 9hrs until our next flight to Cape Town.

To be continued... 

 

Airline: Turkish Airlines 

Flight cost: $867.64 round trip 

Trip Duration: 30hrs BOS> IST > CPT

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