Hi Jayne 

What a fantastic holiday! 

Suggesting we never drove ourselves was a brilliant call by you, the chance to enjoy the scenery (not to mention the wine tasting) and relax made such a difference.  

Pre-booking restaurants also worked very well for us although we would eat in the Kloof St area as well as the Waterfront next time we’re in Cape Town.  

Best to review the holiday in chronological order as there were so many highlights. 

Cape Town – More Quarters was just perfect.  A small boutique place away from the tourist dominated Waterfront gave us an opportunity to see “proper Cape Town”, nice local bars and restaurants and just a short walk from Company’s Garden, the Arch’s Arch and Slave Museum.  

The hotel staff were really helpful in locating my mislaid iPad and luggage, breakfast was great and our apartment spot on. 

We’d definitely stay there again. 

Our Ilios guide, Bonita, was amazingly friendly, adaptable and informative. We really couldn’t have wished for better and enjoyed our time with her enormously.  

Franschhoek – a really lovely town and again a smashing apartment Aurberge Daniella.   

Although the rugby didn’t give us the result we wanted it was an amazing occasion and fantastic to witness it in the winners country. 

The result was soon forgotten by the amazing dinner in Delaire Graaf, without doubt the best meal we had on holiday and in such a wonderful location.  Highly recommended.  

Hermanus was nice and despite whale watching being very poor this year we were fortunate to see a whale from our lunch viewpoint in the “cave” restaurant. 

Very impressed with the Babylonstoren gardens and well worth arriving early to spend time enjoying them.  We have to thank our enterprising young taxi driver Joshua (he and his partner Davin have just started  their new business Hakuna Matata) for the tip.   We’d definitely recommend them if you’re looking for a taxi in Franschhoek (Cell 072 300 5165).  The Babel restaurant was nice but we felt the food veered too much to the theme of keeping it simple, for example the vegetables were served plain when they could have been lifted by using the many herbs growing in the gardens. 

Stellenbosch was a bit too busy for us and we much preferred Franschhoek but the wine tasting was great.  We only did 2 as 3 would have been too much in one day.  A short walk to the Hussar Grill was just what we needed that evening. 

Mosaic Private Lagoon Lodge – Wow!  This place was amazing.  Small, luxurious, great food and service and really interesting activities focusing on the fynbos. The trip to the archaeological caves was particularly interesting. We also highly recommend the spa where we had our pre-booked spa treatments. 

Our guide for the next few days, Marius, proved to be throughly engaging and entertaining and couldn’t have done more for us.  

We were a little disappointed with the accommodation offered to us on arrival at De Denne Country Guest House.  Instead of the deluxe suite we had booked in the main house we were offered a choice of 2 garden suites, one of which was tired and musty and the other tired and small.   They did relocate us to a much bigger suite after we expressed our disappointment.  The on-site restaurant was pretty good though. 

After discussing with Marius we decided not to take the long drive over to Prinz Albert but instead focussed on our “Walking with Giraffes” experience.  This was fantastic and we very highly recommend it.  Although one can get close to giraffes on a safari drive, it doesn’t come near to approaching them by foot. 

If we were to visit Oudtshoorn again we would recommend staying on or nearer the giraffe reserve if possible and giving the Ostrich farm visit a miss as it was too touristy for us. 

The trip to Knysna was really scenic and the stops en-route for both breathtaking views and the “map of Africa” awesome.  In common with most of our trip the wind was very strong so instead of a gentle sunset cruise we were treated to a proper sailing experience in the lagoon – it was great.  34 degree South restaurant was really good as well. 

The Belvidere Manor was a lovely location and although the cottage was very comfortable we thought it was quite dated.  The on-site Bell pub was great though and perfect for a quiet Sunday night pub meal. 

Our trip to Plettenberg was agin peppered with some great viewpoint stops from Marius and the visit to the Elephant Sanctuary was truly memorable.  Being so close to and interacting with the elephants was magical. 

We were sad to say goodbye to Marius but so looking forward to Bayethe and Shamwari.  We were not disappointed! 

This is an absolute gem of a place and the perfect end to our fantastic trip. The staff, food and wine were first class and we had a great Safari guide in “JB”.  We’d highly recommend it to anyone considering Shamwari.  

We’ve already had friends asking us who put our itinerary together so fingers crossed you may get some more Brits looking for a bespoke package as you are also highly recommended.  Thanks once again Jayne. 

Thanks and best regards 

Julie and Jeff xx