The vast majority of South Africa is earning below the poverty threshold, but you shouldn’t underestimate the level of affluence. Like every developing country in the world, South Africa has a wide income gap between the rich and the poor. It means that luxury tourism developed considerably, catering to rich local people and tourists. You can read our guide to find out about the top five luxurious activities in South Africa, where you can splurge money in Rands, but pay a lot less than what you would pay in Europe or the US.
Staying At Royal Malewane Hotel
While it is quite possible to find affordable safari packages in Kruger National Park, you also have a few options for a fully-customized experience at five-star lodges around the park. The highest-end accommodation is Royal Malawane, which is part of the Royal Portfolio Chain. Located in a private concession area on the western border of Kruger, the hotel gives you access to everything this magical land offers.
There are two types of accommodation in Royal Malewane. The Main Lodge consists of six luxury suites, two royal suites, and a villa of six bedrooms. There is also an intimate Farmhouse – Private Villa, which is closer to the wilderness. Both facilities come with endless amenities, such as with multiple bedrooms, inside and outside showers, inside and outside jacuzzi, and a private pool. The complex also contains restaurants, bars, a gym, a golf court, a library, and a wine farm. Although the service is of top-end quality, the prices are jaw-dropping. The luxury suite is one of the cheapest options with 43,000 ZAR per night, while the prices can jump up to 188,000 ZAR daily for the Farmhouse, and 218,000 ZAR for the Africa House Villa. Nevertheless, the hotel guarantees the safari of your life if you can afford it.
Take A Train Ride With Rovos Rail
Only a few experiences can outshine a scenic train ride. What makes the Rovos Rail extraordinary is that it passes through a diverse landscape, from jagged mountain passes to endless plains. Rovos Rail is a luxury rail company that provides exclusive train tours between major cities of South Africa, as well as longer trips throughout Southern Africa.
From the interior decoration to the smart casual dress code during the meals, Rovos Rail will take you on a time machine back to the early 20th century.
The shortest itinerary is from Cape Town to Pretoria for three days. The train passes through quaint Victorian villages in the Karoo region, and the city of Kimberley with the Big Hole (the world’s deepest hand-dug excavation for diamond mining). The other South Africa-only route goes through KwaZulu-Natal’s battle fields and a few private game reserves. Those wanting to do both can merge the two itineraries or even combine them with the routes going to other countries.
The cheapest suites start from R18950 per person for three days. The royal suites cost R41 400 per person for three days, each offering the following: a private lounge, a Victorian bath, air conditioning, 24 h room service, a personalized bar fridge, and all the other basic amenities.
There are also inter-country routes from South Africa to Namibia, Botswana, and even Victoria Falls. These 5-10 day itineraries can cost up to 60,000 ZAR per night, but traveling through these countries in Rovos Rail makes it worth every penny.
Twelve-Apostles Hotel In Cape Town
The backdrop of Table Mountain on the ocean side is called 12 Apostles. The hotel of the same name is in the perfectly nestled on its slopes, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and scenic beaches, such as Camps Bay. The five-star hotel offers so much to do, from the fine dining at Azure Restaurant to an award-winning spa, and even a movie theatre. You can spend your entire time here and not feel like you missed out on Cape Town at all.
The room decoration fuses traditional African motifs and European furniture. The room items have a spectacularly wide range, including antique marble baths, multiple bathrooms, libraries, customized air conditioning, Cable TV, DVD players, fully personalized minibars, and much more. It is particularly ideal for families, thanks to its child care facilities.
The price for a standard room starts from R3000 per night during the week and rises to R13000 per night for a sea-facing suite on the weekend.
Known as the Las Vegas of Africa, Sun City is the definition of luxurious entertainment tourism in South Africa. The complex combines high-end suites with leisure activities like shopping, gambling, and outdoor sports.
The picturesque Palace of the Lost City is one of the highlights with its magnificent architecture. The outer layout consists of bronze statues of wild animals, while the inner decoration comprises mosaics, stone carvings, fresco ceilings, and ancient tiles.
The price range is quite wide between 3000 and 35000 ZAR per night. The most expensive rooms are the King Suite and the African Suite. The rooms come with a dining room for 8 people, a personalized bar, a fully-functional kitchen, a study room, and two en-suite bathrooms featuring a sauna and a jacuzzi.
The complex is not just about the hotel itself. The surroundings compliment the ultimate luxury with adrenaline rush through activities like sunrise hot-air balloon rides, two big golf courses, and guided safari tours to the nearby Pilanesberg National Park.
Although Sun City is in the inland Northwest province, its biggest highlight is an iconic beach. The Valley of Waves is the only inland beach in Africa. It is hand-made, but the experience is nothing short of the real ocean-atmosphere because of the artificial waves.
Visit Shimansky’s Jewellery Store
With such a deep-rooted diamond-mining history, it is not a surprise to find many distinguished jewelry manufacturers in Cape Town. One example is the Shimansky that was founded by Yair Shimansky in Durban.
By combining the advanced technologies of cutting and polishing diamonds with a point of view of a craftsman, Yair Shimansky created a lot of internationally recognized gemstones. The signature diamond cut is called the My Girl, which Shimansky worked for three years for the design. It is one of the very few diamond cuts that can sparkle from every angle. He also designed the cut Brilliant 10″ diamond, which earned him awards for its brilliant design emitting maximum brightness and contrast.
Today, customized engagement rings and accessories are still manufactured and displayed at the Waterfront branch. Its fame was widespread across continents, among celebrities like Christina Aguilera. She put on chandelier earrings from Shimansky at an event in Johannesburg.
The venue offers diamond cutting workshops to its visitors, who want to get a broadened view of the diamond-cutting process. The round-shaped showroom is open from 9 am to 4 pm during the week.