We arrive in Johannesburg on a South African Airways non-stop flight from New York, less than fifteen hours after take-off, refreshed and relaxed . . . thanks to the comfort of business class, excellent in flight service, some very good South African wine, and a few hours snooze


Our group is transported to the amazing Grace Hotel. This small gem has beautifully appointed huge rooms and a charming lobby where complimentary high tea and cocktails are served.  It is more like a gracious home than a hotel, and I unwind from the flight in the garden lap pool watching my first South African sunset. 


CAPE TOWN with one of the most beautiful seaports in the world is called “the mother city”.  We stay at the elegant Table Bay Hotel, part of the Manis Hotel Collection, conveniently located on the harbor and connected to a three story mall  with unique shops and food courts.  On Sunday, we drive to the Cape of Good Hope where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic. The area is inhabited by hoards of fearless wild baboon scavengers who jump on cards and steal everything from food to handbags. 


After two nights in Cape Town, we drive north to the wine lands. Our morning at La Couronne, a small wine estate and Inn, is spent learning about wine making and tasting a few awards winning wines, including a unique Menage a Trois…a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc.

We lunch at the historic landmark Steenberg Hotel, situated on the Cape’s oldest wine farm. Dating back to 1682, the buildings have been painstakingly restored, and today the winery produces some of the country’s finest award winning wines.
The harsh South African sun requires that special attention and care be taken in managing the harvest.


We continue on to the Spier Hotel in Stellenbach, South Africa's oldest city.  After checking in, I walk down a stone path and through a thicket of purple flowers to the banks of the Eerste River for my Indian head massage. I sit in a chair, watching a family of ducks waddle from the water, as Michelle, a therapist from the hotel’s Camelot Spa, manipulates my scalp and neck, kneading a mixture of olive, almond and sesame oils deep into my hair.  In India the more oil a female has in her hair, the higher her status, and from childbirth the grandmother takes the baby on her lap every day to rub oil into her scalp. They believe it increases intelligence and creativity. It is also a sign of affection, and even little children understand having their head massaged is a sign of love.

Our last stop is Durbin, South Africa’s “golden city”. Its balmy year round climate, wonderful beaches and golf courses makes it a popular vacation spot for South Africans.   We stay at Zamboli Lodge, a luxurious 5 star Beach and Golf Resort. Most of the staff are of Indian decent and cannot do enough to please  . . .  stopping often to inquire “how are you doing” I even have Lucky, my own private valet, to attend to my every need.
The beach front flea market stretches for blocks, and I buy some hand beaded necklaces and belts from local vendors. I visit an African herbalist who touts the medical benefits of animal bone mix; a Zulu woman sells me a homemade herbal concoction, and a two wheeled rickshaw transports me around the city.
South Africa is for the young and young at heart. Nightlife varies from town to town and city to city, but the beat and pulse of the music fills the air wherever you go. Whatever your passion or pleasure, be it shopping the flea markets for local handmade crafts and beadwork, climbing mountains or playing golf . . .  it’s all there waiting to welcome and please you.  
South African Airways and its Delta partner offer daily non-stop flights from New York and Atlanta to Johannesburg and Cape Town.
For more information or 1-800-722-9675 or 1-877-mandela