Your Ultimate Guide to South Africa

Whether you’re interested in the winelands, love the beach life, or you’re crossing a safari off your bucket-list, there are endless ways to explore South Africa. This month, our Jetset travel advisors explored this beautiful country with one of our partners, The Royal Portfolio. This is your guide to South Africa and the stunning hotels of The Royal Portfolio Collection!

For those seeking a truly regal retreat, The Royal Portfolio is your gateway to opulence! We personally experienced Birkenhead House in Hermanus, The Silo Hotel in Cape Town, and Royal Malewane in Greater Kruger. Each of these magnificent hotels provide you with a unique South African getaway and will leave you spellbound.

When to visit South Africa

Hermanus

Whales can be seen from June to November, with the best months being September and October. Dolphins can be seen sporadically all year round.

Cape Town

December through February are great times to visit the city as its their summer season. Visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall is a good idea to avoid the crowds. However, Cape Town is fast becoming a year-round destination.

Greater Kruger

The winter months (May through September) are considered peak season for good game viewing because the bush thins out, the weather is better, and the animals congregate around waterholes and rivers.

The Royal Portfolio

Birkenhead House - A Coastal Jewel

Nestled on the cliffs of Hermanus and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Birkenhead House offers a coastal paradise for those in search of tranquility and who love a sea breeze. As soon as you arrive at Birkenhead House, you feel at home and there’s a good reason for that. Birkenhead House was once Liz Biden’s own family beach house, the founder of The Royal Portfolio. It is so comfortable, so welcoming, and so warm that you may never want to leave. You can also see whales as they continuously breached the water from morning until night. Waking up and seeing these magnificent animals jumping in the ocean from your window is such a special moment. 

Hermanus boasts a vibrant arts scene, exquisite vineyards, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Whether you’re strolling along the stunning cliffside paths, exploring charming boutiques in town, or savoring local wines with breathtaking ocean views, Hermanus is an enchanting destination.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT BIRKENHEAD HOUSE

Location

Birkenhead House is perched right on a cliffside edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Two of the finest Hermanus beaches can be found below Birkenhead House – Voëlklip and Kamma Bay. The amazing team at Birkenhead House will pack a picnic basket for you complete with beach bats and balls for a relaxing day on the sands.


Accommodation

Birkenhead House hosts 11 beautifully decorated rooms, all designed to create a sense of opulence and comfort to feel like just like your own beach home.


Pools

There are two pool areas, one is even located right next to the cliffside for stunning views!


Dining

Dinner with an ocean view is everything you need for a romantic setting. Plus, the food is a delight! With an emphasis on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, the executive chef crafts delectable dishes that fuse South African and international flavors. The menu changes every night and is divine for both meat-lovers and vegetarians!


Spa & gym

What better way to relax after a day filled with invigorating sea air than with some spa time! Plus, there’s a fully equipped gym to get some extra energy out.

EXPERIENCES & ACTIVITIES IN HERMANUS

Surf Lessons
A MUST. Our Jetset team members were able to experience a surf lesson themselves and had the time of their lives! There are two popular surf and swim beaches below the hotel and Birkenhead House has all the equipment you might need for a day on the water. Go with the flow!
 
Marine Five viewing

You’ve heard of the famous Big Five, but have you ever heard of the Marine Five? Africa has iconic wildlife and the Marine Five is a captivating group of marine species that can be found off the coast of South Africa. They are the great white shark, the southern right whale, the bottlenose dolphin, the Cape fur seal, and the African penguin. The Jetset team went on an ocean excursion and were able to see all five of these beauties!

 
Mussel Picking and Cooking Class

Our team was accompanied by the executive chef himself in a unique culinary adventure! They went mussel picking along the shores, followed by a cooking class where they created delicious dishes using their fresh catch.

 

Other activities to note! 

Whale watching by land, air or sea
Great white shark cage diving in Gansbaai
Sea kayaking from the old harbour of Hermanus
Wine tasting in the beautiful Hemel en Aarde Valley
Birdwatching from a hide at an inland estuary
Explore the floral kingdom by hiking the trails of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve
Leisurely walks along the cliff path into Hermanus
Cycle the quiet roads of Hermanus
Ride the nearby white sand beaches on horseback
Play one of two championship golf courses
Pay a visit to the local township
Quad biking
Deep-sea fishing

The Silo Hotel - Where Art Meets Luxury

Cape Town’s The Silo Hotel is a dazzling blend of art, design, and opulence. The hotel is not only an architectural masterpiece, but features Liz Biden’s impressive collection of contemporary South African art. Biden designs the properties herself, with her eclectic taste and keen eye for emerging local artists. It gives the guests a special look into the mastermind behind The Royal Portfolio.

The Silo Hotel is a luxurious haven for the romantics, the curious, and the adventurous. Cape Town is vibrant and endlessly entertaining, and known as the ‘Mother City.’ There are countless art galleries, a lively music scene, and is known for its international cuisine. And for the gin-enthusiasts, it’s a goldmine. Gin is extremely trendy in Cape Town at the moment and bar-hopping gin joints throughout the city is a must!

QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE SILO HOTEL

Location
The Silo Hotel is located at the heart of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, the ideal location while staying in this city! With its gorgeous floor to ceiling windows, you get perfect views of Table Mountain and the waterfront. 
 
Accommodation
The Silo Hotel features 6 different room categories, with 28 individually designed and decorated suites total. Each room has a private balcony, a large en-suite bathroom, and those perfect floor to ceiling windows we mentioned!
 
Rooftop Pool & Restaurant
This rooftop is ah-mazing! The Silo rooftop is the most scenic spot for a sunset drink or a casual lunch with 360° views from the tallest building in the V&A Waterfront.
 
Dining
The Royal Portfolio does it again! Just like Birkenhead House, the food is incredible. Aside from The Silo’s Rooftop dining, there are two more options on the sixth floor. Start your day at The Granary Café for Sunday brunch and Royal Tea, two of the most relaxed yet magical culinary experiences in Cape Town. On the other side of floor, visit The Willaston Bar for all-day dining, classic bar snacks, cocktails, and an elegant dinner with views of city’s glimmering lights. 
 
Spa & Gym
Yes & yes. Soak in the zen of the latest therapies, spa techniques, and signature treatments which can be personalized to meet your specific wellness requirements. The Silo Spa also has a double-treatment room, gym, sauna and a dedicated manicure and pedicure area.

EXPERIENCES & ACTIVITIES IN CAPE TOWN

The V&A Waterfront
The V&A Waterfront is a lively hub of world-class eateries and designer shops, talented street performers, family-friendly activities, and authentic arts & crafts from the Cape. A great part of the city to explore and enjoy!
 
Zeitz MOCAA
While staying at The Silo, you have access to the hottest art museum on the continent! Located on the ground floor of The Silo Hotel, Zeitz MOCAA is the world’s largest contemporary African art museum. It sets the stage for African artists of today and aspiring artists of tomorrow. 
 
Helicopter Tour
Soar above Cape Town and take in breathtaking views of the city, the Atlantic Ocean, and the iconic Table Mountain. Our Jetset team had the pleasure of crossing this off their bucket-list! Seeing the coast from above is absolutely stunning. 
 
Visit the African Penguins
See the cutest birds of South Africa at Boulders Beach Penguin Sanctuary! Visiting Boulders is a fun excursion for families or for anyone who wants to see dozens of penguins at a beautiful beach. The penguins and their nests are protected by this sanctuary and visitors actually help boost the penguin conservation efforts.
 
Enjoy the outdoors
Beachfront biking followed by a chilled plunge in turquoise tidal pools? Meandering through the trails of the iconic Table Mountain? Or spending quality time on the golf course with epic views? Cape Town is not lacking on the outdoor activities! You have a plethora of options to choose from, based on your level of comfort.
 
Entertaining Little Travelers

Cape Town is perfect for families with young children! Here is a guide for some great family-fun ideas while staying at The Silo.

The Aquarium
Cave Golf
Pirate Boat
Scratch Patch
Cape Town’s Big Wheel
Planetarium
World of Birds

Royal Malewane - A Safari Paradise

Last but certainly not least, let us introduce the guide for your next trip: a luxury safari in South Africa. Experience the wild heart of the African bush in comfort, style, and seclusion. The Royal Malewane is truly a perfect stay. 

An African safari is far more than just a vacation; it’s a life-changing odyssey that awakens the soul. In the heart of the wild, where nature reigns supreme, you’ll find an unparalleled connection to the world’s most extraordinary landscapes and wildlife. Witnessing the Big Five in their natural habitat, the vast herds of the Great Migration, and the mesmerizing diversity of Africa’s ecosystems is a profound encounter with the untamed. Here, you’re immersed in a deeper understanding of nature and appreciation for our planet. African safaris don’t just change your perspective, they change your life.

When planning your safari adventure, travel advisors are an important resource for many reasons. Your choice of destination, the logistics of getting to your location, deciding the best time to go, and choosing your luxury lodge are all significant factors. But it’s the safari guiding team that makes the difference to the memories you’ll take home with you. At Royal Malewane, you’re introduced to the wild ecosystem under the expert guidance and care of an award-winning safari team. 

QUICK FACTS ABOUT ROYAL MALEWANE

Location
Royal Malewane is on a private reserve located within the Greater Kruger, which is located on the western border of the Kruger National Park. There are no fences separating Royal Malewane’s reserve with the Kruger Park and wildlife roams freely across the protected area. 
 
Accommodation
Choose one of Royal Malewane’s three luxury safari lodges (Malewane, Farmstead, or Waterside), each one embodying an exquisite vision of design and ultimate hospitality. For extra privacy and a home away from home, Royal Malewane features three exclusive-use private bush villas (Africa House, The Farmhouse, and Waterside House). The Jetset team members had the absolute pleasure of staying at the Waterside lodge and at Africa House!
 
More about Waterside Lodge
Waterside is the newest of the three Royal Portfolio luxury safari lodges. This lodge is a world of color celebrating the seasonal hues of the bush. The vibe is eclectic and bold, and leaves you feeling excited to explore in the wild. And yes, it’s actually waterside! Which means hippos are commonly seen from morning until night, adding that safari thrill to your day. This lodge has 7 accommodation options, as well as a villa, and each room has its very own plunge pool. The hospitality here is on another level. The entire team is full of the kindest, most wonderful people you’ll ever meet!
 
More about Africa House
This is the ultimate safari villa – the perfect setting for families and groups of friends looking to truly get away from it all and enjoy making memories together. Africa House features six guest rooms for up to 12 guests, and children of all ages are welcome. At Africa House, you have your very own dedicated chef and team on-site. As well as a gym, spa treatment rooms, full laundry service, and a spacious pool area where elephants love to come visit!
 

EXPERIENCES & ACTIVITIES IN THE BUSH

Game drives in the wild
Your days will be filled with game drives in search of Africa’s wildlife! The guides and trackers live and breathe this wild environment and are deeply passionate about the animals and the land. Their extensive knowledge creates a comfortable environment for you to enjoy your safari drives, while opening your mind to these incredible animals and new experiences.
 
Safari on foot
Walking on the wild side is highly recommended! The Jetset team wandered in the African bush with their expert guide and raved that this a completely different experience from being on a drive. You become intensely connected to the land as you explore the details of nature and investigate the telltale tracks left behind by animals in the wild. Your senses are heightened, your interests are piqued, and your mind opens to the wild world. 
 
Visit the Conservation & Research Center
The Conservation & Research Center at Royal Malewane is an effort to understand and preserve the Royal Malewane and Greater Kruger ecosystems. When you’re staying at a Royal Malewane lodge, you’re welcome to visit and learn more about how science is helping save wildlife and habitats. Royal Malewane’s Conservation & Research Center also allows guests to join on their hands-on approach to conservation. You can help play a role in preserving habitats and protecting endangered species, while embarking on some of the most exhilarating wildlife experiences in the bush. You can join a helicopter patrol flight to spot herds of animals from above. Or join the leader of the EWT’s wild dog conservation project to locate a pack and get involved in fitting a new collar, or gather data from a monitored wild dog. You can also join the team as they track elephant bulls and work with vets to retrieve vital data!
 
Family safaris

A safari is a perfect opportunity for families to discover adventure together! Royal Malewane’s Royal Rangers & Junior Rangers program is designed to reveal the wonders of the African bush to kids, while igniting their curiosity about wildlife and ecosystems. With each activity, Royal Malewane transforms education into an adventure.

 
More to know
Twice daily game drives with the most accomplished guiding team in South Africa Stargazing safari
Sundowners in the bush
Big Five game viewing
Birding safaris with 500 species of birds
Helicopter flights
Bush dinner experiences
Golf at Leopard Creek 
Award winning spa
Photographic safaris
Special excursions for celebrations
 

Let’s get you to Africa!

 
“When you leave Africa, as the plane lifts, you feel that more than leaving a continent you’re leaving a state of mind. Whatever awaits you at the other end of your journey will be of a different order of existence.” – Francesca Marciano
 
 
 

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