From Andrew Harper:
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.- Andrew Harper
Hotels & Travel Partners
With a charming setting in a 19th-century house near Company’s Gardens (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 cured and seared Chalmar beef fillet with “Mai Tai” mushrooms, red cabbage emulsion, parsnips and purple potatoes.
Note: Closed alternate Mondays.39 Barnet Street Cape Town US$40-60 http://www.aubergine.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$40 http://www.bukhara.com/
This renovated restaurant in the staid Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is now fresh and exciting. Chef Rudi Liebenberg’s imaginative food is locally sourced, so the menu changes regularly. Look for dishes such as smoked Franschhoek trout with fromage blanc, homemade pickles and rye Melba; and lamb fillet and shank with lemon and tomato, garlic confit and green bean salad.
Note: Closed Sunday.76 Orange Street Cape Town US$40; Five-course Chef's Menu, US$55. http://www.mountnelson.co.za/web/ocap/planet_restaurant.jsp
One of the finest restaurants in South Africa, La Colombe has left its home at the Constantia Uitsig winery and moved to the Silvermist organic wine estate. The chef remains Scot Kirton, and his cooking is as inventive as ever. His menus follow the seasons, but run to dishes such as poached hen’s egg with Norwegian salmon, truffled asparagus velouté, asparagus, peas, lemon and Black Forest ham; scallops and pork belly in Black Forest ham velouté; and pan-fried springbok with braised red cabbage, butternut squash, asparagus, purée of smoked garlic and sweet potato, lavender and rhubarb jus.
Note: No children under age 12 for dinner.Main Road Constantia Nek Cape Town US$40. Seven-course tasting menu, US$60. 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 30-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 foie gras prepared with bourbon, molasses and smoked duck, while a main course could be lamb loin and rib chop with butter bean and lamb-flank casserole and raisin purée. Reservations are essential.
Note: Closed Sunday and Monday.The Old Biscuit Mill 375 Albert Road, Woodstock Cape Town Five-course menu, US$50; Menu Gourmand, US$85. http://www.thetestkitchen.co.za/
Many restaurants are closed on Sunday, but this seaside establishment in the lively V&A 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 ocean-fresh and beautifully prepared. Try the superb oysters, then look for the linefish en papillote with tomatoes, zucchini, fennel, thyme and extra virgin olive oil.Upper Level Victoria Wharf V&A Waterfront Cape Town US$40 http://www.baiarestaurant.co.za