The Most Lux­u­ri­ous Trip To South Africa

Tintswalo & Rovos Rail are El­e­gance Per­son­i­fied

Golf Vacations - - Contents - by Barry Lotz

Today, South Africa is the best coun­try in the world to visit! Due to the strength of the US dol­lar, you ba­si­cally are get­ting a min­i­mum 2 for 1 on goods and ser­vices. Since leav­ing South Africa many moons ago, I have re­turned at least 20 times, if not more. It is one of the most beau­ti­ful coun­tries in­hab­ited by won­der­ful peo­ple, in won­der­ful des­ti­na­tions.

Today, South Africa is the best coun­try in the world to visit! Due to the strength of the US dol­lar, you ba­si­cally are get­ting a min­i­mum 2 for 1 on goods and ser­vices. (R14 to $1.00).

Since leav­ing South Africa many moons ago, I have re­turned at least 20 times, if not more. It is one of the most beau­ti­ful coun­tries in­hab­ited by won­der­ful peo­ple, in won­der­ful des­ti­na­tions.

Get­ting to South Africa, whether Johannesburg or Cape Town, is a long flight from the West Coast (24 hours ac­tual fly­ing), and the most rec­om­mended air car­rier is Qatar Air­ways from LAX or At­lanta. The ser­vice on Qatar’s Busi­ness Class/First Class, is be­yond amaz­ing. The seats with their over­sized TVs and sleep­ing pods are so en­joy­able and on-call food ser­vice is over the top.

The Tintswalo Group, with­out any fear of con­tra­dic­tion, is sim­ply South Africa’s best col­lec­tion of 5-star bou­tique ho­tels I have ever had the plea­sure of vis­it­ing.

Tintswalo is a Shangaan ex­pres­sion mean­ing “the in­tan­gi­ble feel­ing of love, grat­i­tude and peace be­stowed upon some­one of­fer­ing you a mean­ing­ful and wor­thy gift”, and per­son­i­fies the own­ers, Ernest and Gaye Cor­bett, and their sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of fam­ily mem­ber’s War­wick and Lisa Goosen (née Cor­bett), fam­ily and busi­ness phi­los­o­phy.

Start­ing off in Johannesburg, the coun­try’s busi­ness cen­ter, stay­ing at the Tintswalo

at Water­fall, you are re­moved from the hus­tle and bus­tle of Johannesburg’s north­ern sub­urbs. This is not your typ­i­cal “busi­ness ho­tel”. The am­bi­ence and wel­com­ness, if there is such a word, is so very invit­ing from

the mo­ment you en­ter through the mas­sive front doors. The staff, their at­ti­tude, and their ser­vice are way above av­er­age, with­out be­ing over­bear­ing.

Tintswalo at Water­fall lies within the elite Water­fall Eques­trian Es­tate. Per­fectly lo­cated within the city’s prox­im­ity and only a five minute drive from the Mall of Africa, South Africa’s largest, this 5-star lux­ury bou­tique ho­tel and busi­ness fa­cil­ity en­joys all the con­ve­niences of ur­ban liv­ing, as well as the open spaces and nat­u­ral beauty of the es­tate grounds. The ho­tel over­looks a lush polo field, a kilo­me­ter-long ex­panse of green lawn, as well as a siz­able dam, which at­tracts lo­cal bird life all year round.

The ho­tel was de­signed to be a lav­ish, dou­ble-vol­ume barn, dec­o­rated with eques­trian para­pher­na­lia and beau­ti­ful horse-themed art­works. The ho­tel of­fers a quirky coun­try­side ex­pe­ri­ence to city-dwellers seek­ing a respite from the stresses of a met­ro­pol­i­tan lifestyle.

If you are in the mood for a spa visit, the Water­fall Spa on the prop­erty of­fers an ex­ten­sive range of re­lax­ing spa, beauty and body treat­ments, from fa­cials, mas­sages, man­i­cures & pedi­cures and wax­ing. The spa of­fers top of the line prod­ucts and fea­tures brands such as Der­mo­log­ica, Mary Cohr and O.P.I. and Water­fall Body prod­ucts.

There are pack­ages for ladies, men, cou­ples and groups, and the staff can cus­tom­ize pack­ages to suit your needs.

Each of the 16 spa­cious suites are in­di­vid­u­ally dec­o­rated to the col­ors and char­ac­ter­is­tics of spe­cific horse breeds. All suites boast a pri­vate bal­cony, a su­per-king or twin bed setup and all the com­forts of a 5-star ho­tel. The suites are fully air-con­di­tioned and equipped with DSTV, a bar fridge, tea and cof­fee fa­cil­i­ties, heated floors and heated towel rails, a lux­u­ri­ous, mod­ern bath­room with a bath and sep­a­rate shower, and deluxe ameni­ties.

The level of de­tail that has gone into cre­at­ing a unique ex­pe­ri­ence that is both au­then­tic and im­mer­sive is some­times breath­tak­ing. Rates as of Septem­ber (R14.5 to $1.00): $275 for a sin­gle, $365.00 dou­ble (two per­sons).

A deca­dent English break­fast feast is in­cluded in each guest’s stay.

With candlelit ta­bles and fire places roar­ing, din­ner at Tintswalo at Water­fall is set to im­press. The fresh aroma of le­mon in­fused as­para­gus be­ing sautéed while the scent of seared salmon is lin­ger­ing in the air, sets the mood for an evening to be re­mem­bered.

These meals can be paired with a su­perb se­lec­tion of wines and rounded off with fine co­gnacs, whiskeys and Cuban cigars. www.http://tintswalo.com/water­fall

Tintswalo Sa­fari Lodge – rec­og­nized as one of the top 5 sa­fari lodges in the Kruger Na­tional Park by Forbes and Con­nois­seur Golf & Travel Re­port.

Shar­ing an un­fenced bound­ary with the renowned Kruger Na­tional

Park, the pri­vate Manyeleti Game Re­serve, is a pris­tine wilder­ness re­serve nes­tled between the Sabi Sand, Tim­ba­vati and Kruger Park. The Manyeleti abounds in big five game and spec­tac­u­lar bird watch­ing and is home to the lux­u­ri­ous Tintswalo Sa­fari Lodge and Tintswalo Manor House. Boast­ing one of the low­est ve­hi­cle den­si­ties in the Greater Kruger, Tintswalo Manor House guests are spoiled to un­in­ter­rupted game view­ing ex­pe­ri­ences in an al­most un­touched African wilder­ness.

Tintswalo Manor House is a fully-catered, home style villa with 4 dou­ble or twin rooms, and an ad­di­tional ad­join­ing room suit­able for two chil­dren. Host­ing up to ten peo­ple, Tintswalo Manor House of­fers an idyl­lic sa­fari get­away to fam­i­lies or trav­el­ing groups.

The lodge is equipped with fire­places, heaters, blan­kets and cozy couches for guests to stay warm. Cui­sine, like freshly baked breads, soups and hearty win­ter dishes, warm vis­i­tors from the in­side out. Curl up on the couch with a good book, the fire-crack­ling, and a de­li­cious glass of red wine - all while lis­ten­ing to the sounds of na­ture and em­brac­ing the best parts of both sum­mer and win­ter. The 8 lodge suites are au­then­ti­cally dec­o­rated to re­flect the in­tri­cate lux­u­ries of colo­nial times and evoke the ad­ven­tures of 19th-cen­tury ex­plor­ers af­ter which they’re named; such as Liv­ing­stone, Stan­ley and Bur­ton to name a few. Up to 16 vis­i­tors can be ac­com­mo­dated at the Lodge Suites.

Win­ter in the bush is mag­i­cal and, for me, the best time to visit the Kruger Na­tional Park. This year was no ex­cep­tion. The bushveld is sig­nif­i­cantly more open this year as a re­sult of the ex­tremely dry weather, with bare trees and lower grass, caus­ing an­i­mals to mi­grate to­wards wa­ter­ing holes in search of wa­ter. Some camps are even pump­ing in wa­ter to these wa­ter­ing holes to help en­sure the well­be­ing of these mag­nif­i­cent an­i­mals.

Vis­i­bil­ity of game is ex­cep­tion­ally height­ened and guests are privy to ac­tive wildlife and un­beat­able an­i­mal sight­ings, so much so, that we saw the Big 5 on our first day! The Lodge’s tracker and guide were true bush pro­fes­sion­als and their knowl­edge en­cy­clo­pe­dic. We even got to see an Aard­vark! Our guides, Christof, and Foster (our game tracker), had not seen one in the past 13 years.

One of the most in­trigu­ing sites was that of a fu­neral of vul­tures, all 20+ sit­ting on a tree await­ing their turn on a car­cass that the lions were not quite fin­ished de­vour­ing.

Of course, early 5 a.m. wake up calls for game view­ing are a bit rough, though hot wa­ter bot­tles and blan­kets are on the open air track­ing ve­hi­cle. And, at some point along the crisp, fresh drive, the guides stop at a spe­cial place with a view, for hot choco­late, cof­fee or tea, and bis­cuits, dried fruit, game bil­tong (jerky) and nuts, of­fer­ing a truly warm­ing and soul sooth­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

One morn­ing we even had a full break­fast, with eggs, sausage, ba­con and toast cooked to per­fec­tion over open fires, while sit­ting at beau­ti­fully set ta­bles in a dry river bend … What an un­ex­pected treat, with­out any un­in­vited vis­i­tors look­ing for a quick meal!

There is also an evening drive prior to din­ner and this too is awe­some, es­pe­cially for view­ing the stars and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a “Sun­downer”, aka Happy Hour, with cock­tails at sun down.

Tintswalo Sa­fari Lodge is sit­u­ated a short drive from the near­est lo­cal air­port in Hoed­spruit, or a scenic six-hour drive / shut­tle from Johannesburg for those who en­joy a road-trip and ex­cel­lent roads. Suite rates vary, and in­clude all meals the stan­dard of which is ex­cel­lent, as is the ser­vice.

Per per­son from $400 to $700 per night. Manor House rates from $275 to $350+ per per­son per night. www.tintswalo.com/sa­fari

Tintswalo At­lantic - the Hid­den Gem of Cape Town

There are many beau­ti­ful beach ho­tels through­out the world. The 5-star lux­ury Tintswalo At­lantic Lodge has to be one of the top ten bou­tique ho­tels any­where! What an amaz­ing venue. And it is only twenty min­utes from down­town Cape Town.

The ho­tel boasts an ex­clu­sive and unique shore­line lo­ca­tion within the pro­tected Table Moun­tain Na­tional Park, one of South Africa’s eight World Her­itage Sites, sit­u­ated just out­side of Hout Bay, on the scenic Chap­man’s Peak drive. The peb­bled beach di­rectly in front of the lodge is se­cluded and shel­tered from winds. There is ex­cel­lent ac­cess to the nat­u­ral beauty found along the moun­tain­side’s wind­ing hik­ing trails.

This gor­geous, dra­matic and ro­man­tic des­ti­na­tion needs to be on your Bucket List! When we sent some pho­tos to a friend, she replied “you didn’t say you were trav­el­ling to heaven”. And ev­ery vista is truly “heav­enly”.

Su­perla­tives can­not do the ho­tel jus­tice. From its lo­ca­tion, the struc­ture, the ac­cess, the rooms, the ser­vice, the food and the staff, at­ten­tion to de­tails are the hall­marks of Tintswalo At­lantic. Ev­ery mem­ber of the staff is so amaz­ingly kind, at­ten­tive, pro­fes­sional and gen­uinely pleas­ant. Your first thrill is the ar­rival from the en­trance - the drive down to the lodge (at the base of Chap­man’s Peak), from there makes you re­al­ize you are go­ing some­where very spe­cial. You are greeted with cham­pagne and smil­ing faces. The warm hos­pi­tal­ity didn’t stop un­til we left 2 1/2 days later.

All 10 Is­land Suites, as well as the Pres­i­den­tial Suite, face the At­lantic Ocean with breath-tak­ing panoramic views of the Sen­tinel shown in the photo and Hout Bay. All the suites are uniquely themed af­ter dif­fer­ent is­lands and fea­ture chan­de­liers, warm dé­cor, and wooden floors. All come with sit­ting ar­eas, satel­lite TV, fire­places and bal­conies. Airy bath­rooms of­fer free-stand­ing tubs with wa­ter views.

The re­gal Pres­i­den­tial suite, sit­ting above the other suites, is stun­ning, op­u­lent and lux­u­ri­ous. The two mas­ter suites, each with the largest and most lav­ish bath­rooms I have ever en­joyed, to­gether with heated floors and fire­places in each room are tan­ta­liz­ing. The enor­mous bath over­look­ing the wa­ters of Hout Bay was, with­out a doubt, my wife’s fa­vorite fea­ture. And to top it off, there is an­other room, the sit­ting area, also with a fire­place, mak­ing be­ing spoiled a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence.

Hav­ing all your meals at the lodge is sim­ply amaz­ing with the sea lap­ping against the rocks mak­ing a won­der­ful back­drop. The menu choices avail­able for break­fast, lunch and din­ner are ter­rific. The chefs pro­duce ex­quis­ite and or­gas­mic cui­sine. You re­ally do not want, or need, to leave the lodge. Cuban cigars are avail­able as is Sherry to en­joy on your bal­cony.

Don’t for­get to ask for your per­sonal wish­ing rock at reception be­fore leav­ing. You do re­ally want to wish to come back reg­u­larly when you toss the rock, specif­i­cally over your left shoul­der into the ocean. Melissa and Ryno, the GMs are su­perb hosts who make Tintswalo even more fab­u­lous.

Rates will vary de­pend­ing on the sea­son. Ex­pect to pay some­where between $400 - $700 per cou­ple, per night, for one of the suites. The Pres­i­den­tial Suite is go­ing to come in at about $2,000.00 per cou­ple per night. Break­fast, house drinks, cof­fee and teas are in­cluded. Guests who join you for din­ner will be in the $50-$60 per per­son range with­out wine. (R14.5 to US dol­lar at time of writ­ing).

If you are not able to stay overnight, at least try and make a reser­va­tion for break­fast, lunch, or early din­ner – you will not be dis­ap­pointed! www.tintswalo.com/at­lantic

One ob­vi­ously has to get from Johannesburg/Kruger Na­tional Park to Cape Town or vice versa. You can fly, drive or take “The Train”. Leav­ing from the Johannesburg and Game Re­serve area, “The Train” leaves from Pre­to­ria which is about 40 min­utes north of Johannesburg and about 5 hours by car from the Kruger na­tional Park.

Tintswalo At­lantic Lodge - (top, mid­dle and bot­tom)

Rovos Din­ing Car

Tintswalo At Water­fall

Tintswalo Sa­fari Lodge

Tintswalo At­lantic Lodge

Tintswalo At­lantic Lodge

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