SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS
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
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
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.