Inspiration Africa Top Five Bucket-List South Africa Safari Moments with Presenter Barry Du Bois

Top Five Bucket-List South Africa Safari Moments with Presenter Barry Du Bois

March 23, 2023

Join TV presenter, The Living Room’s Barry Du Bois, on the South Africa adventure of a lifetime, including the world’s most luxurious train journey and a big-five safari.

Australian TV presenting icon Barry Du Bois is accustomed to life-changing moments after a 10-year tenure on award-winning show The Living Room. So, when we invited him on an adventure of his own in South Africa, he jumped at the chance.

The 10-day tour experience took him from the exquisite Cape Town to a three-night expedition aboard the Rovos Rail — one of the world's most luxurious train journeys — before continuing onto a heart-racing safari at Sabi Sands Game Reserve, part of Kruger National Park.

“Sharing the experiences and interactions with the locals, the guides and incredible animals really changed my life,” he shares. “I thought this was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but it’s a place now I feel that I must return to. I need to share the spectacular sites with my family and allow myself to be at one with this beautiful place again, this natural wonder: South Africa.”

Here, Barry shares the top five moments of his trip.

Discover more about South Africa on the new season of Luxury Escapes: The World’s Best Holidays, airing Tuesdays 8.30pm AEST* on Foxtel Lifestyle and on demand on Binge and Network 10. *Check your local TV listings for details. 

1. Experiencing The Rovos Rail —the world’s most luxurious rail journey

I will never forget three-night journey aboard The Rovos Rail from Cape Town to Pretoria – one of the world's most luxurious train journeys through the stunning African landscapes.

The journey is like stepping into something from years past – it was like something in an old movie. Onboard, the counter attendant led us to an exquisite area set up in a high tea style. We enjoyed tea and egg sandwiches as well as pastries and dips while chatting to other guests, before being led to embark on “the pride of Africa,” The Rovos train.

As we journeyed across the African landscape, we were briefed about the meals to be served and attire required for each night of our expedition. The first night was to be a formal affair, so at 7pm on the dot we ventured into the dining car, dressed to the nines for a five-course meal that set the standard for the whole trip. The staff were amazing, the food was incredible, and we just felt special from the very first day.

If you’re travelling alone, worry not! One thing I loved most was that you could always find a conversation partner if you wanted to have one, but there was also space to sit and enjoy the passing landscape on your own. I even got up early to do my yoga and meditation from the outdoor viewing deck as the sun rose one morning.

2. Spotting the Big Five on safari at Sabi Sands Game Reserve

We spent three nights at the lavish Dulini – three bespoke lodges nestled on a scenic riverbank in Sabi Sands Game Reserve – part of the famous Greater Kruger National Park. The view of the valleys and mountains, the enchanting sunrises and African sunsets and the variety of game species that graze nearby created a serene ambience that made the lodges at Dulini a truly spectacular experience.

But it wasn’t just the accommodation that made this so memorable, it was the chance to join our guides (who had had a sixth sense around understanding the movement of the animals) as we embarked on exhilarating game drives. The open Jeep with elevated seats was comfortable, and the perfect viewing platform to, hopefully, spot the Big Five.

Over those four amazing days, we spotted all of them! We watched a leopard drag an impala up a tree, we saw two lionesses with cubs, rhinos, hippos, elephants and giraffes and of course, thousands of impalas, buffalo and zebra. We didn’t just see them; we were an equal part of their environment for a moment in time.

I was in awe of the honesty of this wilderness, the purity of the environment, the animals and our guides. Each night, when we sat down to an exquisite dinner with the other 12 guests, we shared details of our sightings throughout that day. Each day, I didn’t think it could get any better, but then it did.

3. Discovering Cape Town’s melting pot of culture

During our stay in Cape Town, we were fortunate to explore the best of the city. We loved the mix of old-world and contemporary architecture, amazing escarpments and the local art scene – from sculptures to photographic art. We also couldn't resist the hole-in-the-wall eateries and cafes, where we savoured the local African cuisine, mixed with Indian, Malaysian, Portuguese, Dutch, and English influences.

Our time in Cape Town was unforgettable, and we were grateful for our guide, Christine, who made sure we saw the best of what the city had to offer. As we left the city, we knew we would always carry a piece of Cape Town with us wherever we went.

4. Timeless, old-world stays in Cape Town & Johannesburg

As soon as we arrived in Cape Town, we knew we were in for an unforgettable adventure. The tour organisers whisked us through customs and handed us over to Christine. Her deep knowledge of South Africa's layered history and politics had us enraptured from the get-go. She took us on a scenic route to our hotel, Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, or as the locals called it, ‘The Pink Lady.’

Driving up the long driveway to the hotel's grand and sprawling estate, we marveled at its old-world charm. The chandeliers, leather wing back chairs, and beautiful artwork gave us a glimpse into a bygone era. We couldn't wait to explore the streets of Cape Town and soak in its vibrant cultures. Our stay at The Mount Nelson was just perfect. With comfy beds, lots of old-world luxury and amazing food, we were well-rested and ready to explore.

In Johannesburg, we were treated to the same luxurious experience as we had been throughout the rest of the tour, being chauffeured from the train station to our next hotel. The elegant private-estate-turned-luxury-villa, Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa, is one of Johannesburg’s most awarded boutique hotels. With lush lawns, a large pool and Balinese-style spa, it was the perfect place to treat myself to a massage before continuing our onward adventure into the African bush.

5. Witnessing the natural beauty of Table Mountain and Cape Town’s surrounds

Few cities on earth have a landscape as spectacular as Cape Town and a visit to the iconic Table Mountain is an essential stop for any visitor. Built in 1929, the mountain’s famous cable car has taken more than 22 million visitors to its summit.

Unfortunately, the weather gods were not on our side, and due to strong wind and rain we were unable to ride the cable car. Instead, we took a drive along the beaches and harbors, and down past Hout Bay. Our guide, Christine, shared a wealth of knowledge about the history of Cape Town as well as some hidden secrets that only the locals knew. We ended up down at Boulders Beach for a look at Boulders Penguin Colony, where we saw the growing colony of African Penguins in their natural habitat. Wooden walkways allowed us to get up close to the penguins and their antics, and we even had time for a swim at Boulders Beach.

Discover more about South Africa on the new season of Luxury Escapes: The World’s Best Holidays, airing Tuesdays 8.30pm AEST* on Foxtel Lifestyle and on demand on Binge and Network 10. *Check your local TV listings for details. 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out Luxury Escapes’ Top Bucket-List Destinations for 2023

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