Traditionally, international travelers rushed to South Africa to warm up in the sun escaping the harsh European and North American winter. Now, with the shift in travel movement, the growth and affordability of air travel and flexibility, tourists allow themselves to move away to the ‘vacancies’ season where you can join us for what was whispered for years as The Secret Season.
As the Autumn rolls down the hills, the vines hibernate and the roads become quiet, locals start to experiment and explore their surrounds with prices once known only to them and combined offerings that needed insiders knowledge.

It’s the best time to go on safari, as you’ll be met with glorious weather – days that average around 15 degrees – and animals that are easy to spot in the low-foliage winter bush. Most of the establishments also offer discounted rates and extras in their packages.
May to November in Cape Town is perfect whale watching time, peaking in July and August when the babies are born. The Southern Right whale, which swims up from Antarctica, spends time in quiet bays like Hermanus, often frolicking close the shore. They are also visible to the naked eye off the shores of Kalk Bay and the Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town while they lure the seal colonies off Hout Bay, Robben Island and Simons Town.
And while in town, try a few of the superb restaurants. Even if you didn’t pre-booked there is a good chance of an open table. It is also a perfect time to revisit some you’ve been too before since most will offer a different menu that accommodates seasonal ingredients.
What is considered to be ‘The Cherry on Top’ is the winter in the winelands. It is a time of pure indulgence.
Hopping on and off the Franschhoek Wine Tram for tastings and dining at the best wine estates in this foodies heaven becomes a full day affair since no one rushes you to move along. Ticking more than one world class restaurant off your list during your stay is possible due to the low volume of visitors. Finally, longer stays at the most perfect boutique and estate hotels will unload your daily worries and fill you with serenity.
With the harvest lying behind them, the wine fermenting and the vines soaking the terroir, many of the winemakers and estate owners are using this time to indulge in their work and share the love and knowledge with fellow enthusiasts. Look for the dinner with the estate owners, the tutored tastings with the winemaker and the vine walks with the viticulturist.


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