Worldwide //  Africa

Africa

Mr. Harper's Travel Guide

Few people return from an African safari entirely unchanged: The experience is too intense and indelible. To witness the Serengeti’s epic wildebeest migration, or to watch a leopard stalking its prey at dusk in Botswana's majestic Okavango Delta, is to be reconnected viscerally ...

Few people return from an African safari entirely unchanged: The experience is too intense and indelible. To witness the Serengeti’s epic wildebeest migration, or to watch a leopard stalking its prey at dusk in Botswana's majestic Okavango Delta, is to be reconnected viscerally to the primal currents of life on earth. For a first-time safari, we recommend the extraordinary game-viewing in Sabi Sand, a private reserve adjoining South Africa’s Kruger National Park. There, you will find many of the continent’s most stylish and sumptuous lodges, which magically combine 21st-century luxury with a timeless experience of the wild. On a second visit, there is an urge to venture farther afield. These days, surrounding countries have joined the luxury travel revolution. In particular, neighboring Namibia now offers a number of stylish and comfortable properties in surroundings of astounding natural splendor.

bird icon Recommended Luxury Hotels in Africa

All Andrew Harper-recommended hotels offer impeccable accommodations and high levels of personal service. Only the best of the best make our list, so we rate them on a scale from bird icon 90 to 100.
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Best Restaurants in Africa

Located on the Silvermist organic wine estate, La Colombe is widely regarded as one of the finest restaurants in South Africa. Chef Scot Kirton’s cooking is as inventive as ever. His menus follow the seasons but run to dishes such as bavette steak with chipotle, anchovy, bone marrow and chimichurri; miso-seared scallop with quail, parsnip, barbecue grilled corn, bok choy and a teriyaki sauce; and lamb loin, tongue and sweetbreads with asparagus, peas, kohlrabi and a smoked garlic velouté. No children under age 10.

Main Road Constantia Nek Cape Town US$60. Nine-course tasting menu, US$85 http://www.constantia-uitsig.com/pages/restaurants/la-colombe.php

Luke Dale-Roberts served as the much-heralded executive chef of La Colombe (see above) and now has a 65-seat restaurant in The Old Biscuit Mill, home to an eclectic range of markets, designer stores, studios and galleries. Representative dishes might include a starter of 12-hour smoked trout tartare with homemade sour cream, a jasmine tea “snow” and sourdough wafers, while a main course could be smoked lamb with barley and a toasted ginger wafer. Reservations are essential. Closed Sunday and Monday.

375 Albert Road Woodstock Cape Town Menu Gourmand, US$125 http://www.thetestkitchen.co.za/

This restaurant in the staid Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is fresh and exciting. Chef Rudi Liebenberg’s imaginative food is locally sourced, so the menu changes regularly. Look for dishes such as Argentinean pink prawn curry with coconut rice, green mango atchar (a spicy Indian condiment), buffalo milk curd and a curry leaf dressing; and grilled grass-fed beef fillet with hand-cut fries, Béarnaise sauce, crumbed bone marrow and a chef’s salad. Closed Sunday.

76 Orange Street Cape Town US$30. Five-course Chef's Menu, US$40 http://www.mountnelson.co.za/web/ocap/planet_restaurant.jsp

Many restaurants are closed on Sunday, but this seaside establishment in the lively Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is open. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal, and the service is attentive. The specialty is fish, and while the offerings may not reach the pinnacle of culinary innovation, the raw materials are fresh and beautifully prepared. Try the superb oysters, then look for the line-caught fish en papillote with tomato, zucchini, fennel, thyme and extra-virgin olive oil.

Upper Level Victoria Wharf V&A Waterfront Cape Town US$40 http://www.baiarestaurant.co.za

Come to this very popular restaurant downtown for outstanding Indian food, excellent service and an appealing contemporary setting. The tandoori starters are particularly good, as are the seafood main courses such as the prawn curry.

33 Church Street Cape Town US$35 http://www.bukhara.com/

With a charming setting in a 19th-century house near Company’s Garden (founded by the Dutch East India Company to supply its passing ships with produce), this is one of the most reliable restaurants in Cape Town. Try dishes such as whole roasted lamb rump served with black garlic, coconut purée, potato tuile and braised leek. Closed Sunday and alternate Mondays.

39 Barnet Street Cape Town Menus, US$45-US$70 http://www.aubergine.co.za/
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