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News / Privileged Access: South Africa

Expect lunch in the home of a celebrity chef, exclusive entry into the best museums and private viewings at renowned art studios.

South Africa is a country of immense natural beauty, from wild beaches to vast game reserves, from rolling vineyards to craggy cliffs, from flower-cloaked hills to mountainscapes; there is wow factor in abundance. Throw in wildlife, history, culture, vibrant cities, wonderful wine and a cutting-edge food scene, it captures many a heart. But dig a little deeper and you find a host of hidden treasures which, thanks to our brilliant relationships with local experts, we can unearth for you. Whether you want to see Cape Town's arty side, tour little-known wineries, drive remote dunes or dine in a famous chef's house, we will take you behind the scenes and bring you the best of bespoke South Africa.

Cape Town is a brilliant starting-point to any South African journey, a proudly multi-cultural city steeped in history but with a modern edge. Its cosmopolitan streets are packed with museums, galleries, boutiques, restaurants, cafés and bars. There are a host of gorgeous hotels including the iconic Cape Grace and tranquil Belmond Mount Nelson. Cape Grace is in the thick of it, a landmark in the heart of the harbour, a short stroll from the vibrant Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Table Mountain towers above and guests are cocooned in luxury. One hundred and twenty rooms and suites drip in antique character, while other standout features include the popular Bascule Bar, excellent spa, sublime outdoor swimming pool and 'Spirit of the Cape', the hotel's own yacht.

Cape Grace waterfront

In the foothills, Belmond Mount Nelson never goes out of favour. An urban sanctuary with gorgeous grounds a stone's throw from the botanical gardens, it is also close to some of Cape Town's best beaches. Brilliant accommodation options suit everyone from couples to families; afternoon tea is a musthave feast and superb facilities include two pools (one massive and one tucked away for adults), the blissful Librisa Spa, tennis courts and a fun-filled kids' club.

The Pot Luck Club

Based at either, you are perfectly positioned to explore the Mother City. Browse the boutiques of Long Street and St George's Mall, breathe in the sweet smelling Trafalgar Place flower market, hop on a cable car up Table Mountain for truly captivating views; soak up the vibe and let the city's energy under your skin. And to give you real insight into this fascinating destination we can tap into our network of contacts and get you exclusive access to the best museums, private viewings at renowned art studios and tickets to current exhibitions.

And then, of course, there's the food scene: we can point you in the direction of all the hottest tables in town: from quirky Woodlands Eatery on the hills of Vredehoek with its wood-fired pizzas and craft beer, to The Pot Luck Club, Luke Dale-Roberts' super-cool hangout at the top of Woodstock's Old Biscuit Mill. We can also arrange for you to be delivered to Reuben Riffel's home for a private lunch or book you into Margot Janse's 'African Surprise' eight course tasting menu.

Visitors rarely tire of Cape Town's magnetic energy but do head out onto the open road and explore what Francis Drake described as "the stateliest thing and the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth". We can organise an utterly unique Cape Peninsula tour. In one day you see two oceans, with a trip down the amazing coastal roads to Cape Point, the southwestern tip of Africa where it's fabled that the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Drive the dramatic Chapman's Peak Pass with its breathtaking vantage points; stop off at Boulder's Beach Penguin Boardwalk to get up close and personal with hoards of animated African penguins.

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For adrenaline junkies and those who like to get off the beaten track, we can send you on an exhilarating 4x4 adventure. Heading north of Blaauwberg strand you come to vast dunes and one of Cape Town's unsung treasures. Guests can get behind the wheel and drive the enormous dune fields before stopping off for sand-boarding and a gourmet picnic. The journey continues with a trip to the unique Paarl Spice Route. This boutique wine village has a gorgeous setting and is a lovely place to spend a chilled afternoon. There are a couple of exceptional restaurants, a feast of artisan food outlets offering coffee and chocolate tasting, cheese, cured meats, a deli with homemade jam and pickles and a craft beer brewery. What's more, there's a large trading company selling lots of locally made homeware, furniture, art and handblown glass.

For many, staying in the Cape Winelands is a highlight. We can't rave enough about Delaire Graff Estate, tucked away between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, at the foot of Botmaskop mountain. This unique estate combines wine, food, art and ultra-luxury accommodation. There are ten exceptional lodges with pools and views looking out over vineyards and down to Cape Point. Allure is everywhere, from Laurence Graff's private collection of contemporary art to the spa and two exquisite dining venues.

We love both but at Indochine you can dine under a thousand swooping birds (the Swallows in Flight art installation) and the food is melt-in-the-mouth delicious. Again, thanks to our excellent relationships, we can send you on a behind the scenes tasting session and cellar tour with the estate's winemaker Morné Very and even get you a private tour of Franschhoek's motor museum.

Delaire Graff Indochine

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