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Join your hosts Alison and Sidney in an exquisite holiday combining the wildlife of the African bush with the rich culinary traditions. Both Alison and Sidney are Africans at heart, with a passionate knowledge and love for this part of the world and its culinary heritage. They met in Africa where Sidney was born and raised, and they lived and worked here for many years before starting Le Calabash France and now Le Calabash Cape Town.
You will spend your nights in different locations in South Africa and Namibia. Le Calabash strives to ensure you have comfort, service, and attention to detail second to none during your stay.
In South Africa, you will be staying at Zevenwacht Wine Estate's Country Inn for four nights. Situated in the heart of Zevenwacht’s picturesque vineyards, the inn offers guests luxuriously appointed, air-conditioned suites, each with its own private terrace and uninterrupted view of Table Bay and False Bay. Facilities include a club house, swimming pool, tennis court, and sauna.
Located on the Stellenbosch Wine Route, Zevenwacht has viticulture roots which penetrate deep into the historic past of South Africa. While literally meaning 'seven expectations', the name Zevenwacht exemplifies the abundant delights which await visitors to the farm. A leader in wine tourism, Zevenwacht was one of the first wine estates to establish a restaurant, hotel and conference facility, and spa on the estate.
The wines of Zevenwacht are distinguished by their classic style and finely crafted elegance. Winemaker Jacques Viljoen honors century-old wine-making traditions, yet is boldly innovative, welcoming the contribution that modern technology makes to the production of premier wines.
Covering 120 hectares of the 450-hectare property, the vineyards are ideally situated for the growing of quality grapes. Zevenwacht is characterized by good quality, varied soils, and the vineyards have been selectively planted with red and white noble varietals.
In Namibia, you will spend three nights at the Toshari Game Lodge, two nights at Okonjima Lodge, and two nights at GocheGanas luxury lodge in Windhoek.
Situated a mere 29 kilometers south east from Windhoek on a hilltop overlooking a spectacular landscape, GocheGanas is a luxury lodge offering a unique combination of wildlife, nature, and wellness experiences. GocheGanas is a descriptive Damara name, meaning "place of camel thorns, abounding with candle-pod acacias", as this is more than just a place, it is an experience.
Complimenting and enhancing the lodge is the Wellness Village, boasting state of the art wellness facilities, as well as a heated indoor pool and a cave sauna. A variety of wellness treatments and massages are offered.
West of the Waterberg Plateau, the vast plains are occasionally broken by the remnants of ancient sandstone outcrops, which once covered large areas of northern Namibia. Nestled among the Omboroko Mountains lies Okonjima - a Herero name meaning Place of the Baboons. This is much more than just a lodge - Okonjima is home to the AfriCat Foundation.
Established in 1993, the AfriCat Foundation started off as a sanctuary for cheetah and leopards rescued from irate, livestock farmers. Today, AfriCat is dedicated to the protection and long-term conservation of all large carnivores in Namibia and has since become renowned for much-needed “environmental education, carnivore research, rescue, release, and rehabilitation programs, and carnivore welfare, human wild-life conflict mitigation, and community support projects throughout the whole of Namibia”.
Nestled on an outcrop of dolomite rocks under a forest of Mopane and white Seringa trees, Toshari Lodge offers enchanting accommodation and is a gateway to Etosha National Park, one of Namibia's major attractions.
Absorb the peace and tranquility of the natural African bush as you amble through a blend of manicured lawns and rustic bush gardens to your private room. Take a refreshing dip in the sparkling pools and enjoy the tranquility of the striking African lapa with its stunning photographs of local Etosha wildlife.
Arrive at Cape Town International Airport where Alison and Sidney meet you personally.
You will then be transferred to Zevenwacht Wine Estate for a welcome drink overlooking the Cape Peninsula. If you arrive before lunch, you can enjoy a light lunch in the garden or make a reservation at The Manor House Restaurant for lunch.
Next, settle into your room. Situated in the heart of Zevenwacht’s picturesque vineyards, the country inn offers guests luxuriously appointed, air-conditioned suites, each with its own private terrace and uninterrupted view of Table Bay and False Bay. Facilities at the inn include a club house, swimming pool, tennis court, and sauna.
Take a rest before going on a guided tour of one of South Africa’s trophy wine estates. Both Alison and Sidney played a major role during the infancy days of Zevenwacht.
After the tour, there will be a wine tasting session, followed by a Cape Malay dinner by Zevenwacht Lake where Sidney will share with you some of the Cape Malay Culinary secrets.
Situated on the Stellenbosch Wine Route, Zevenwacht has viticulture roots which penetrate deep into the historic past of South Africa. While literally meaning Seven Expectations, the name Zevenwacht exemplifies the abundant delights which await visitors to the farm.
The wines of Zevenwacht are distinguished by their classic style and finely crafted elegance. Winemaker Jacques Viljoen honors century-old wine-making traditions, yet is boldly innovative, welcoming the contribution that modern technology makes to the production of premier wines. Covering 120 hectares of the 450-hectare property, the vineyards are ideally situated for the growing of quality grapes.
Zevenwacht is characterized by good quality, varied soils, and the vineyards have been selectively planted with red and white noble varietals.
After breakfast in the Manor House, you will have your first cooking class that will expose you to the world of Cape Malay Cooking. Sidney believes that South Africa is un-rivalled when it comes to comfort food, and he will tell you that nothing reflects the rich historical background and diverse origins of this nation better than its cuisine.
For lunch, you will enjoy your morning's work on the kitchen terrace. Next, you will take a trip to Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront, now one of Africa’s most popular tourist destinations, within a stone’s throw from the Cape Town Stadium and in the heart of Cape Town's working harbor.
The V&A Waterfront offers the visitor an abundance of unforgettable experiences. Indoor shopping and entertainment venues seamlessly merge with ocean vistas and mountain views, while the fresh sea breeze and warm African sun add zest to a cosmopolitan, vibrant atmosphere. More than 80 restaurants bring a fusion of international food, from rustic al fresco fish and chips to starched tablecloth cuisine.
You will have time to enjoy South Africa’s premier shopping experience before meeting for a dinner sampling of South African Cape Malay cooking at its best. Dinner is for your own account and if you would rather choose from one of the many dining areas around the Waterfront, please feel free to do so.
You will have breakfast in The Manor House before being taken on your second culinary trip in the kitchen, where Alison will share with you two of South Africa’s most popular desserts:
Sidney will then share with you Edith’s buttermilk pudding with orange sauce. Edith was Sidney’s Zulu nanny who took care of him most of his childhood.
Lunch is served on the kitchen terrace. After lunch, you will depart for Cape Town and travel up to what is known as one of the most beautiful sights in the world, Table Mountain. You will take a cable car up the mountain and enjoy the panoramic view and walk on the mountain.
You will then take a tour around the Cape Peninsula, travelling on what is said to be one of the world’s most breath-taking coastal drives, Chapman's Peak.
Next, you will visit Simon's Town, home to a penguin colony. There you will also enjoy dinner with an old friend of Alison and Sidney's in a casual fish restaurant in Fish Hoek, a small coastal town.
After breakfast in The Manor House, you will enjoy a wine tasting and cellar tour with the cellar master himself, Jacques Viljoen, whose passion and dedication has taken Zevenwacht Wines to win awards and be highly sought-after in South Africa and abroad.
Jacques grew up in a family dedicated to viticulture that established its roots in the field of viticulture and wine-making. He obtained his BSc Agriculture degree from the University of Stellenbosch in 2001. He finds the diverse nature of being a winemaker extremely rewarding as he gets to work with nature from the viticulture perspective, and to use both physical strength and technical skills when working in the cellar which is run with a small team at Zevenwacht.
He also uses his creative flair in the wine-making process, as he has to be a marketer of his wines as well. When it comes to his favorite cultivars, Jacques does not restrict himself to any single varietal but is passionate about Rhone blends and is excited about the development of the Grenache vineyards on Zevenrivieren.
Sidney, Alison, and Jacques will then take you on a journey of a wine and chocolate tasting.
For lunch today you will visit Boschendal Wine Estate. You will languish in the summer afternoon at the very popular Le Pique Nique on the famous Pavilion lawns immersed in the breath-taking beauty of the mountains and vineyards. You are now in the middle of the famous Cape Winelands surrounded by towering mountains and lush vineyards.
After lunch, you will visit two of South Africa’s most prestigious wine estates for a wine tasting session. Kanonkop Estate is situated on the lower slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains in the Stellenbosch Region of the Cape and confidently boasts some of South Africa’s most premium wines.
Lanzerac Estate is situated on the outskirts of the historic town of Stellenbosch. This is a 300-year-old private working wine estate in the Jonkershoek Valley. The Lanzerac Pioneer Pinotage is a tribute to the world’s first bottled Pinotage, a 1959 Lanzerac Pinotage. Tonight, you will enjoy dinner in the Zevenwacht Manor House.
Rise early to meet your flight from Cape Town International Airport to Namibia and the next chapter of your culinary adventure.
Upon arrival at the Hosea Kutako International Airport, you will be met by Le Calabash's partners in Namibia who have the vehicle ready for your onward journey. It is a 40-kilometer drive to the capital city of Namibia, Windhoek, where you will visit the local Craft Center.
You will have the opportunity to spoil yourself to coffee and cake for an additional fee before leaving Windhoek and driving north towards Etosha. Your accommodation is situated close to one of Namibia's major attractions, the Etosha National Park. Check into Toshari Game Lodge.
Toshari Lodge offers enchanting accommodation, while being a gateway to Etosha National Park. Absorb the peace and tranquility of the natural African bush as you amble through a blend of manicured lawns and rustic bush gardens to your private room. Take a refreshing dip in the sparkling pools and enjoy the tranquility of the striking African lapa with its stunning photographs of local Etosha wildlife.
Tonight’s dinner will be enjoyed in the lodge.
Breakfast today will be early as you depart from the lodge early morning in open game viewing vehicles for a half day guided game drive in the Etosha National Park.
Alison and Sidney believe this to be the world’s most unspoilt game sanctuary and have for 26 years made it their favorite destination. It is here where they both lived after deciding to get married and where their daughter Hannah was born. Sidney will tell you that it is here where he feels that the human race needs to take stock and come to terms with the impact it has on wildlife. Etosha will remain in your heart and soul long after you have left.
Lunch will be enjoyed as a picnic inside the park. You will return to the lodge after lunch for some free time. For dinner tonight, you will be treated to a local African braai.
Enjoy another early breakfast and then depart from the lodge in open game viewing vehicles for yet another exciting half day guided game drive in the Etosha National Park. Return midday and have a lovely lunch at the lodge. Afterwards you can relax around the pool and enjoy the Namibian sun. As you are now a seasoned African culinary adventurer, you will cook your own dinner over the coals around the open fire under the African night sky.
After a relaxed breakfast, you will depart south via Otjiwarongo to Okonjima, home to the AfriCat Foundation. You will stop enroute for a quick lunch and then continue towards Okonjima. Lunch is for your own account as there are several meal options and you may feel you do not want a full meal as you will enjoy Okonjima’s homemade cakes and pastries this afternoon.
Upon arrival at the lodge you can settle into your room, relax, and have some afternoon coffee, tea, and cake. Enjoy an afternoon carnivore tracking from the vehicle, and a sundowner in the bush. Dinner is enjoyed at the lodge overlooking the plains and a watering hole.
After an early morning coffee and muffin, you are invited to participate on foot to the rehabilitated cheetahs, wild dogs, or spotted hyenas tracking trail within the 20,000-hectare or 200-square-kilometer rehabilitation nature reserves. After your carnivore tracking morning, you will have brunch at the lodge.
Relax and enjoy the African sun on the terrace of your lodge or around the pool. Plains Camp offers two large, secluded swimming pools with sufficient shade-area, surrounded by a lush lawn. The pool closest to the Plains Camp overlooks the grass plains. Afternoon coffee, tea, and cake will be served at the lodge
Late in the afternoon, you will enjoy a hands-on cooking adventure with Sidney and Alison preparing local game dishes. You will be joined by some of Okonjima’s chefs who share their passion to cook with you. Sidney and Alison will also share with you some of their African-influenced dishes which appear in their book, ‘A Culinary Adventure with Le Calabash’.
For dinner tonight, you will enjoy the dishes you prepared earlier.
After breakfast today, you will depart back to Windhoek. You will stop by a roadside craft center where local craftsmen peddle their craft. Do remember you need to practice your very best haggling skills here, for the first price you are quoted is at least 150% more than they will settle for.
Lunch will be enjoyed for an additional price at the legendary Joe’s Beer House, a real Namibian treat.
After lunch, you will make your way to GocheGanas Nature Reserve and check in to your accommodation. Situated a mere 29 kilometers south east from Windhoek on a hilltop overlooking a spectacular landscape, Gocheganas is a luxury lodge offering a unique combination of wildlife, nature, and wellness experiences.
Upon arrival, you will be collected from the car park for a transfer up to the lodge. Settle into your room and then have the afternoon at leisure to relax next to the pool, enjoy a wellness spa treatment, or go for a walk on one of the trails. Sundowners and a relaxed dinner in the Rondavel are served.
After breakfast, you will take a game drive. The rest of the day can be spent relaxing and enjoying your last full day in Namibia with optional spa treatments, nature walks, some mountain biking, or simply reading or relaxing by the pool. At the farewell dinner prizes will be given to make this a special last night with braai in the Boma.
Today marks the end of your journey as you all head to the airport to catch your return flights back home. Depending on the flights schedule, you will have breakfast or will enjoy it on the airplane, if you have a sunrise flight. Time to say goodbye or as Sidney would say in Zulu: Hamba kahle futhi babe nohambo ephephile.
Alison is an award-winning chef, with many years of international experience. After meeting her future husband in Swaziland, they have cooked together, including for several heads of state, among which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Richard Attenbourgh, Mick Jagger, Madonna, Cher, Sylvester Stallone, U2, Elizabeth Taylor, and Richard Burton. Alison has won recognition by major food guides and has won medals internationally. Alison and Sidney like to introduce exotic flavors to traditional French cooking, and give personal attention to all guests.
Sidney is an award-winning chef, with many years of international experience. Since meeting his future wife in Swaziland, they have cooked together, including for several heads of state, among which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince William, as well for celebrities like Madonna, Cher, and Sylvester Stallone. Apart from the recognition of major food guides, Sidney has won international medals. Sidney was Captain of The British Craft Guild Team for 2000/2001 when they achieved a record medal total.
This culinary and wildlife adventure will take place in various locations throughout South Africa and Namibia, namely Cape Town, Table Mountain, Zevenwacht Lake, Cape Peninsula, Chapman's Peak, Simon's Town, and Fish Hoek in South Africa, and Etosha, Etosha National Park, Windhoek, Khomas Region, Okonjima, and Otjiwarongo in Namibia.
Pronounced Kaaps in Afrikaans and iKapa in Xhosa, Cape Town is the second most populous city in South Africa, after Johannesburg, and the provincial capital city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality.
The city is famous for its harbor, its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, as well as for such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town first developed with Jan van Riebeeck's arrival on 6 April 1652, who established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa.
Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa. Today it is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa.
In 2011, the metropolitan region had an estimated population of 3.74 million. The city was named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. In 2014, the New York Times also named Cape Town the best place in the world to visit.
The park was proclaimed Namibia’s first conservation area in 1907. With subsequent additions it became the largest game reserve in the world, covering a vast area of 93,240 square kilometers. For political considerations, its size was progressively diminished, so that by 1975 it had been reduced to its present surface area of 22,270 square kilometers. It is nonetheless one of the largest game reserves in Africa!
A vast area on Namibia's central plateau, the park's focal point is the Etosha Pan - a flat saline desert, 130 kilometers long by 50 kilometers at its widest in the eastern sector of the park. The pan itself is believed to have originated over 12 million years ago as a shallow lake fed by the Kunene River.
Subsequent climatic and tectonic changes have since lowered the water level so that the pan only holds water for a brief period each year - it teems with flamingos and pelicans in the summer. The saline and mineral residues together with moisture from perennial springs attract an immense number and variety of game and birds from mid-March into November just before the new wet season starts.
Of the 114 mammal species found in the park, several are rare and endangered, such as the black rhino, cheetah, and black-faced impala. The latter is endemic to north-western Namibia and south-western Angola. Etosha’s current population of more than 600 black rhinos represents one of the few growing populations of black rhinos in the world.
Other large mammals in the park include giraffes, blue wildebeest, mountain and plains zebras, hyenas, and lions. Cheetahs and leopards complete the trio of ‘big cats’. Antelope species range from kudu, gemsbok, and the large and stately eland, to the diminutive Damara dik-dik. Smaller mammals include jackal, bat-eared fox, honey badger, warthog, and the ubiquitous ground squirrel.
Around 340 bird species occur in Etosha National Park, about one third being migratory, including the European bee-eater and several species of waders. Larger birds include ostrich, kori bustard, and greater and lesser flamingo, millions of which congregate on the pan to breed during a good rainy season.
Ten of Etosha’s 35 raptor species are migratory. Those most commonly seen are lappet-faced, white-backed, and hooded vultures, while sightings of the Cape, Egyptian, and Palmnut vultures have also been recorded. There are eight species of owl, including pearl spotted and white faced, and four species of nightjar.
For the greater part of the year (the dry season), Etosha’s animals and birds are dependent on about 30 springs and waterholes. These provide excellent game viewing and photographic opportunities. During the rainy season, the bird life at the main pan and Fisher’s pan is especially worth viewing.
This town provides a convenient stop over on route to the north of the country. As with most towns in central Namibia, the name Otjiwarongo originates from the Herero language, which translated means 'place of the fat cattle' or 'beautiful place'. Given the central role that cattle play in the Herero culture, both meanings are appropriate.
The town was officially founded in 1906 upon the arrival of the narrow gauge railway linking the important mining centre of Tsumeb and the coastal town of Swakopmund.
Situated in the country’s central Khomas Region, Windhoek is nestled in a basin surrounded by scenic mountains in the central highlands of Namibia.
Windhoek is an African capital with a difference; dubbed as the 'cleanest city in Africa', Windhoek is the capital city of the Republic of Namibia, a country described as one of Africa's most vibrant and successful sovereign states. Perhaps Windhoek can be better described as a 'working city'. It is a thriving active, administrative, commercial, and industrial center, serving as the melting pot and hub of most economic and technological developments and activities in the country.
Whether enjoying the continental flair of Independence Avenue, browsing through the numerous shops, exploring the historical buildings, or searching the markets for that special Namibian memento - you will enjoy the harmonious blend of African and European cultures and traditions that make up this capital city.
Around 1840, Windhoek became the headquarters of the Nama-Oorlam Group under Jonker Afrikaner in central Namibia. The name Windhoek dates back to 1844, when it was used in a letter written by Jonker Afrikaner - it is thought that in a moment of nostalgia, he named the place Winterhoek after the farm in the Cape where he was born.
German colonial administration was established in 1890 when Major Curt von Francois established a military post in Windhoek. During this administration the town was known as Windhuk, which later became Windhoek.
Most breakfasts are included in the price (except on days five and nine), as is half a bottle of wine per person with the meals included in the tour. You may have breakfast at the lodge on day twelve, depending on your flight schedule.
You will have to make arrangements for your own lunches on days one, five, eight, ten, and eleven. Eat light for lunch on day eight, as you will have homemade cakes and pastries in the afternoon at Okonjima. On day nine, there is no breakfast and lunch proper, but you will have coffee and muffins in the morning, followed by brunch and afternoon coffee, tea, and cake instead.
Dinners are not included on days two and seven. As you are now a seasoned African culinary adventurer, you will cook your own dinner over the coals around the open fire under the African night sky on day seven.
There will also be several wine and chocolate tasting sessions throughout this 12-day African adventure.
On your second day in Cape Town, you can go shopping on V&A Waterfront. As the afternoon is yours, you may wish to make the most of this time and take a boat trip to Robben Island which needs no introduction with regards to the significance of its place in South Africa's and indeed the world’s history.
As ‘home’ to one of the world’s most famous prisoners, statesmen, and leaders in the world, Nelson Mandela, Robben Island is quite possibly the most well-known prison on the planet. Should you wish to take this trip, you can book it online, but please note it will be at an additional price. Le Calabash advises you take the 3 p.m. boat.
Enjoy your last afternoon in Namibia on day eleven with optional spa treatments, nature walks, or mountain biking.
Optional spa treatments and massages are available at some of the lodges and can be booked for an extra fee.
Please book your flight to arrive at Cape Town International Airport (CPT). Transfer from the airport is included. Le Calabash will pick you up from the airport.
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