Surprising South Africa: Beyond Safaris

The 26-suite property consistently gets top honors as one of the world's leading boutique hotels. Throughout the property you'll see pictures of celebrity guests, such as Oprah, who have also enjoyed the Saxton's fantastic spa.

The Westcliff is in the northwestern suburbs of Jo'Berg and is a favorite landmark because the pink luxury hotel is built up a winding hillside overlooking the city. Make sure you get a room with a view, and stop at the Polo Lounge to toast your stay in Johannesburg.

What to Do:

For a true feeling for all that South Africa has been through, schedule a stop at the award winning Apartheid Museum. Plan to spend at least three hours touring this impressive facility. This museum will tug at your conscience and your heart. The Hector Pieterson Museum in Soweto also gives you a glimpse into South Africa's troubled history. While you're in Soweto, the largest township in South Africa, consider signing up for a private tour so you can see where Nelson Mandela once lived and visit other historic sites. Another interesting trip is to the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site, where it's said the remains of humans living more than two million years ago have been found.

Winelands, Near Cape Town, South Africa, photo©Karen Schaler

Winelands

More than a dozen designated wine routes exist, and you can spend your day idly driving through the countryside stopping at some of the top wineries in the country. The best part? It's very affordable! For your wine tasting, you'll want to plan your trip carefully, factoring in where you want to spend the night, because wine tasting days have a way of slipping away from you. Here are some favorite picks for areas to visit, and don't forget to try South Africa's own pinotage.

Franschhoek

This picturesque wine valley is known as the gourmet capital of South Africa so come with an appetite! It's also a fantastic place to find a hotel for the night after a day of sipping and sampling some of South Africa's best vintages.

Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch is known for its beautiful oak-lined streets in the hilly region of Winemaker. This is also the home to the University of Stellenbosch. There are dozens of wineries to tour in this area, and some cute guest houses and boutique hotels if you want to stay over.

Constantia

If you don't want to venture too far from Cape Town, head to Constantia. This winemaking valley is just minutes from the city and boasts the oldest growing wine area in South Africa. Don't miss a stop at Groot Constantia. This historic winery is known as the oldest and most well-known winery in all of South Africa. It was established in 1685 and today still produces award-winning wines.

Hout Bay Near Cape Town, South Africa, photo©Karen Schaler

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