Christmas in South Africa has its marked differences from Christmas in the rest of the world. However, the actual celebrations and festive spirit are moderately similar. One major difference is that Christmas in South Africa is in the heart of the summer – where flowers are blooming, everything is alive and the sun is shining. All that vitality comes to life through the festive mood of the people and is also depicted through the array of stunning locations this beautiful country has to offer.
In addition, spending time on safari in South Africa during Christmas absolves you from responsibility. Every so often you deserve to skip the hectic, clamorous and noisy family schedule and elaborate New Year’s Eve activities in favor of an indulgent bush break. Staying away from the excess tinsel could be just the ticket for a relaxing, illuminating and adventurous start to the new year.
Leave the cold of winter behind and instead revel in a warm, alluring South African destination this Christmas.
Here are our top recommended places to stay during the festive break in South Africa:
Perched between the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain, with a national park at its core, there is nowhere like Cape Town. With so many attractions and warm, cloudless summer days, it’s no wonder thousands of travelers descend on the city during Christmas. Few locations are as perfect at capturing the Mother City’s festive radiance as Ellerman House. Set on the slopes of Lion’s Head in Bantry Bay along Cape Town’s Atlantic seaboard, the Cape Edwardian-style mansion offers opulent accommodation and phenomenal service.
The concierge desk can assist you with planning a selection of excursions such as viewing the penguin colony at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town and the Cape Winelands, as well as other adventures in and around the city. Alternatively, the former private residence provides excellent wine and art experiences where guests can embark on a trip through South African wine and enjoy a guided tour of an original art collection that dates back to the mid 1800s. Each of the two villa’s private infinity pools makes for the perfect place to unwind on a hot December day.
Staying at the Queen Victoria Hotel, which best epitomizes tranquil luxury, is a memorable way to spend Christmas in Cape Town. Situated in a historic precinct near the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, exemplary charm meets contemporary design in the thoughtful decor and finishings. The hotel comprises 32 rooms and three suites each elegantly decorated with adornments paying homage to Queen Victoria. The suites have panoramic vistas of either Cape Town’s harbor or Table Mountain.
Almost everyday during the festive season in Cape Town is a great beach day. Though if you prefer staying close to home, then make the most of the swimming pool, gardens and spa at the neighboring Dock House Boutique Hotel, which is part of the same group as the Queen Victoria Hotel. The Queen Victoria Restaurant and Ginja Restaurant are sure to lay on an incredible Christmas lunch or dinner during your stay.
The Western Cape is a true summer wonderland with endless wine estates to tick off of your bucket list. Leeu Estates is no exception. Located in Franschhoek, the premium five-star estate delivers splendor, elegance and luxury in the heart of the Cape Winelands. 23 luxuriously appointed rooms and suites sit on 168-acres of vineyards, fynbos and landscaped gardens in the spectacular Franschhoek Wine Valley.
A world-class, decadent Christmas lunch or dinner is guaranteed at either of the award-winning La Petite Colombe or Le Chêne restaurants. In addition, the bespoke property has a dedicated wine district where you are encouraged to join a free tour of the vineyard and cellar and sample some Mullinuex & Leeu Family Wines. Alternatively, spend the warm sunny days lounging by the pool or indulge in a luxurious massage.
If a comfortable and peaceful festive season is what you’re after, this tucked away five-star property is just for you. Located on a 383-acre wine estate overlooking undulating vineyards and the blanched ceilings of Cape Dutch houses, Lanzerac Hotel provides a relaxing Winelands getaway in the tranquil town of Stellenbosch. The hotel has a number of classic and luxury rooms, as well as large suites, all of which come with en-suite bathrooms, a private patio and air conditioning.
Lanzerac has established itself as one of Stellenbosch’s premier gourmet destinations. Dining can be enjoyed at Taphuis, Manor Kitchen and Craven Lounge. However, Lanzerac Deli provides the perfect culinary retreat for those in search of home-made pleasures and sweet delicious creations – what Christmas dreams are made of.
Spending Christmas on safari in South Africa is enthralling. Although a destination blessed with superb wildlife viewing all year round, December is the month of new life in the Greater Kruger National Park and surrounding reserves. Expect a cuteness overload with baby warthogs and wide-eyed antelope frolicking in the grass. There are few better lodges to experience this boom of activity than Saseka Tented Camp.
Located within the Thornybush Nature Reserve that shares a fenceless border with the Kruger National Park in South Africa, Saseka is set along an intimate bend in the seasonal Monwana riverbed and is considered one of Thornybush’s most luxurious safari camps. The lush green environment surrounding the camp is a sight to behold and squeezing in a visit over Christmas almost guarantees peace and tranquility.
The festive season is a birder’s paradise in the lowveld of South Africa as this time heralds the arrival of vast numbers of intra-African migrant species. The area in which Simbambili Game Lodge is found, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, boasts over 300 species and the lodge’s location along the banks of the seasonal Manyeleti River make it a prime destination to enjoy these avian creatures over Christmas.
Exceptional wildlife viewing of the Big Five and more is guaranteed despite a landscape thick with foliage. The intimacy of Simbambili should be at the top of your South African Christmas bucket list if the thought of enjoying a cocktail poolside on a hot summer’s day alongside a world-class safari experience in the heart of the Greater Kruger gets you gleaming.
Get in touch with one of our expert LuxVenture® designers and start planning your dream Christmas vacation in South Africa today.