October 4, 2023

How a Travel Expert Plans Her Trips to South Africa

For the founder of travel company Roar Africa, returning to South Africa means experiencing the…

How a Travel Expert Plans Her Trips to South Africa

For the founder of travel company Roar Africa, returning to South Africa means experiencing the best of the winelands, the desert, and Cape Town. Here’s Deborah Calmeyer’s guide to what’s new in the country.

Living between New York and Cape Town for the past 20 years, I’ve come to look forward to the feeling when I land back in South Africa. My shoulders drop, and I can take a deep breath.

As the CEO and founder of Roar Africa, I’ve planned high-end safaris around the continent, but South Africa continues to hold a special place in my heart. While words might give you a taste of this country’s dynamic beauty, you must see it with your own eyes to really believe it. Here’s my guide to what is exciting right now in South Africa, and what remains as classic as ever.

<p>Courtesy andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge</p>

Courtesy andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

Where to Stay in Cape Town

The freshly refurbished One&Only Cape Town acts as an ideal contemporary basecamp to explore the city’s cultural delights. Another classic, longstanding choice is Ellerman House — a sophisticated, art-filled mansion overlooking the ocean.

What’s New in the Winelands

From Cape Town, head to Sterrekopje, a farm at the foot of the Franschhoek mountains. This is the closest place to Eden I have ever seen. Owned by two pioneering female business partners, every detail is carefully considered, and there is an emphasis on regenerative agriculture.

Imagine walking through expanses of swaying purple flowers with glassy waters to one side and thatched Cape Dutch-style structures to the other. Richly textured rooms, books begging to be read, dappled Appaloosa horses, and airy patios encourage you to sit among the olive trees and savor the quiet rhythms of rest.

<p>Courtesy of Tswalu</p>

What’s New in the Kalahari

After the winelands, it makes a perfect contract to visit the arid desert dunes of the Kalahari. Opening next year at Tswalu Loapi, or “the space beneath the clouds,” lives up to its Setswana name. This tented camp, in the chiaroscuro of the Korannaberg mountains, leans into the carefree, contemplative seclusion so unique to safari. This vast wilderness is home to an abundance of cheetahs, meerkats, pangolins, black rhinos, and lions.

Loapi’s commitment to conservation and sustainability also mirrors Roar Africa’s. We purchase carbon credits equivalent to all our emissions, contribute to wildlife conservation, and invest in the communities that host us.

<p>Courtesy of ROAR Africa</p>

How to Plan Your Trip

If you want to experience the breadth and depth of South Africa’s landscapes, Roar Africa can plan a custom trip. If you want to combine South Africaith other countries, as many travelers do, we are introducing Roar Africa’s new Sand, Sea, City & Safari experience in 2024. This trip elves deep into the diversity of this beautiful country — while also taking you to Namibia and Madagascar.

Via the Emirates Executive Private Jet, we’ll first head to the desert dunes of Namibia’s Sossusvlei. After three nights, we’ll move to the cosmopolitan delights of Cape Town, with a stay at Ellerman House. Next we’ll spend a few days unwinding at the Delaire Graff Wine Estate in the Cape Winelands. Finally, we’ll end with a safari at Singita in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve.

A-List travel advisor Deborah Calmeyer is the founder and CEO of Roar Africa. She specializes in East and Southern Africa trips, as well as family and multigenerational travel.


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