Monday, April 26, 2021

Bucket List Cruises; South Africa


With travel at an almost standstill since March of 2020, I’ve done a lot of dreaming of faraway lands.

There has been plenty of time for my husband and I to fine tune our travel wish-list, and with cruising being our preferred type of vacation, we came up with our top bucket list cruises.

 Norwegian Cruise Line has made the top of my list with their 12-night Norwegian Jade cruise departing from Cape Town. I love having the opportunity to explore a portion of this exotic continent and still being able to return to the comfort of this beautiful ship. This cruise lets me check-off everything on my South Africa to-do list; wine tasting, safari and beach time. 

 It could take years to discover the many wines of South Africa’s Western Cape, but I can make do with a 2-night pre-cruise stay combined with the Cape Town overnight built into the itinerary. Just a half an hour drive outside Cape Town you are already at the beginning of the Cape vineyards, where cultivation of grapes dates back to the 1600s.

The Winelands encompasses the towns of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, the earliest European settlements outside the Cape colony. I guess it didn’t take them long to realize the natural resources and climate of the area would be perfect for growing grapes. Today this is the largest winemaking region in South Africa!

 I’ve read that most wine estates in the area have wonderful restaurants onsite; so much so that I’ll be sure to make reservations before leaving home. Local wine and dine experiences are a great way to immerse yourself into the culture of an area.

Just because this itinerary sails around the coast, doesn’t mean I can’t venture inland on safari.  From the port city of Mosel I can book a game drive through the Botlierskop Private Game Reserve. Here I’ll hopefully get photos of rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, giraffe, and maybe even a rare black impala!  

 Not far from Port Elizabeth is Addo Elephant National Park.  This is a diverse wildlife conservation park and one of the largest national parks in the country. The park boasts 417 species of birds, 95 kinds of mammals including the "BIG 5" and of course over 600 elephants that roam there.

 There is still another opportunity to take a game drive from the port of Richards Bay.  The oldest game reserve in Africa, Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, is home to the African Big 5, cheetah and wild dogs.

 Between the long flights just getting to South Africa, paired with busy days, I’m glad this itinerary has lots of opportunities to relax. There is no shortage of great beach cities in South Africa, known for its dramatic coastlines. One of its bustling but easygoing beach cities is Richards Bay, which I can visit after a morning safari. Aklantstrand Beach is the perfect place to catch some rays.  Later in the week the Jade stops in Durban. Its beaches lie along a stretch of sand known locally as the Golden Mile. Sounds like a perfect place to spend the day!

 The Norwegian Jade does this 12-night South Africa itinerary in December and January of 2021, 2022 and 2023. The Jade offers a wide range of dining options, award winning entertainment and some of the largest and loveliest accommodations at sea.  


Coming Soon…Cruise #2 from my cruise bucket list.

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