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South Africa as recommended by the experts, Cartology Travel

South Africa as recommended by the experts, Cartology Travel

South Africa is widely known and loved for its stunning landscapes, safari experiences, wealth of wine, and of course the vibrant city of Cape Town. But whether travellers are first time visitors looking for something a little different, or South Africa lovers wanting to go beyond the tourist trail, the country has so much more to offer than many itineraries include.

Cartology Travel, the award-winning bespoke luxury travel agency may operate worldwide, but South Africa holds a special place in its heart, given that founders Justin and Susan Huxter call it home. For those looking to explore South Africa in a deeper way, Cartology Travel have shared their best first-hand tips below.

Immersed in nature

While the classic Cape Town plus safari itinerary does make for a life changing trip, it is worth spending a little extra time in South Africa to explore the often less talked about secluded retreats, which allow guests to immerse themselves in nature in some of the most breathtaking paradises.

The Cartology team’s favourites include Grootbos, just outside Hermanus, which is set on a private nature reserve and offers experiences such as horseback riding, flower safaris, hikes and even whale watching from both land and sea. For ocean lovers, Lekkerwater Beach Lodge allows guests to wake up on a private and untouched stretch of coastline, to watch dolphins playing in the waves right in front of them, enjoying the entire marine reserve to themselves for a once in a lifetime experience.


While most visitors to South Africa will be sure to hike up Table Mountain, few know how much more the country’s mountains have to offer. Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodge is set in a vast wilderness, amongst a stunning mountainous terrain, and allows guests to be as active or inactive as they like, as long as they find a way to soak up the incredible mountain air and scenery surrounding them.

Come for the wine, stay for everything else

For those doing a more comprehensive tour of South Africa, The Winelands almost always feature, thanks to the multitude of winery tasting and tour experiences, and there’s no better time to do so this year, as South Africa celebrates 365 years since wine was first introduced to the country. But, Cartology Travel points out, despite the name The Winelands are not just for drinkers and using Franschhoek as a base for a few days makes for some amazing cultural exploring.

Kathy Boate, CEO of Cartology, says ‘Franschhoek is a quaint little town that punches well above its weight. It has world class restaurants, charming shops & art galleries on the Main Street, luxury accommodation, impressive villas, and still manages to feel like a hidden gem you want to keep for yourself.”

Franschhoek is a hub for adrenaline-filled activities, such as mountain biking, horseback riding, e-biking, as well as wandering the incredible gardens and 300-year-old farms. The lawns of Boschendal are particularly perfect for a picnic hamper, while car lovers can visit the renowned motor museum to see an unmatched collection of classic and supercars. During the summer months, many of the wine farms host outdoor concerts and open-air movie nights on their estates, and the weekends are filled with the Franschhoek market, complete with live music, artisan crafts, and delicious food and drink.

For those looking for an immersive locals’ experience in South Africa, Franschhoek is the perfect place to start.

Unlock unique experiences

While a quick internet search of ‘things to do in Cape Town’ can create an impressive itinerary, one of Cartology’s USPs is the ability to elevate itineraries by including exclusive experiences, thanks to their knowledge and firsthand experience of the country. For every classic activity, Cartology go above and beyond to enhance it and make it that little bit extra special. Some of Cartology’s favourite experiences to curate for guests include:

Rather than taking a ferry on a group tour to Robben Island, helicopter over for a private tour with a former prisoner who knew Nelson Mandela
Instead of heading out for a hike or taking the cable car up Table Mountain, fly in a helicopter over to Cape Point and land in a completely secluded and inaccessible spot to find a gourmet spread waiting. Better still, test out the newest trend of heli-biking, where helicopters transport top of the range mountain bikes to otherwise inaccessible trails to allow cyclist enthusiast to explore some of the most exciting and adrenaline-inducing cycle routes in the country.
Foraging with a chef in Franschhoek to prepare a delicious meal or enjoying a private dinner party with one of the top female chefs in the world.
Sabrage a bottle of bubbly in a private cellar with the winemaker themselves
Take an exclusive private tour of some of Cape Town’s most spectacular gardens, which are not open to the public.
A tour of the local craft brewing scene with a private guide from the Craft Beer Association.
Complete a sporting feat such as a triathlon, with all equipment sourced and organised.
Meet with incredible and inspiring locals in industries ranging from social entrepreneurship to conservation, design, and much more.
Rethink safari

Many travellers associate a trip to South Africa with safari, and a trip to South Africa without heading to the national parks is certainly a missed opportunity. However, Kathy points out that safari isn’t always just about spotting the big five: “Safari is not just about the animals, it is actually the perfect location for a family or group of friends to re-connect. Next family holiday, instead of going for a classic beach villa, book a longer stay in the bush. You’ll not only see some incredible animals, but the bush surroundings are unbeatable for refreshing your soul and giving you genuine quality time together.”

With so many amazing safari camps to choose from, it can often be overwhelming to choose. Cartology takes away the hard work and works with several private houses and lodges that can be rented out exclusively to make a long-stay family safari the best choice for a unique get together.

Whether it’s reaching more secluded destinations, immersion into culture and local life, exclusive money can’t buy experiences, or a new kind of family trip, Cartology Travel are the experts in curating a South African itinerary that goes far past the tourist trail and allows travellers to experience the roots of this diverse and rich country.

All prices are available on request. For booking enquiries visit or follow @cartologytravel on Instagram.