Wine on Safari in South Africa – What is Available?

Monday, 28 January, 2019
Wine Travel Stories
Going on safari to witness the majesty of the big five animals (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) is a dream held by many people, but for wine lovers there is also the question of “how is the wine on safari?”

Fortunately in South Africa, the answer is “great,” because with more than 700 wineries in the country, South African safari lodges can afford to be generous with wine, and they are rightly proud to show off the delicious and well-balanced wines of their country.

I am lucky to have just returned from a great safari that I booked with Siyabona Travel Agency, based in South Africa. They handled all details flawlessly, including booking lodges, meals, transportation between lodges and flights within the country.

Wine at Imbali Safari Lodge in Kruger National Park

My favorite safari lodge was Imbali, located in Kruger National Park, where the hospitality is warm and friendly, and wine, beer, and cocktails are complimentary. Indeed, in my luxury suite complete with a comfortable bed draped with mosquito netting, there was a small refrigerator stocked with South African sauvignon blanc and pinotage, as well as all types of beer, sodas, and spirits. Guests can help themselves to a drink in one of the 12 private luxury cabanas this lodge provides, and then soak in their private plunge pool on the deck, while overlooking the river to see elephants, impala, and wildebeest foraging nearby.

During lunch and the three course gourmet dinner each evening, a selection of 10 to 12 different South African wines, including sparkling, were available. Therefore during the three days I was there, I was able to sample a little of each of the wines and found them to be refreshing with crisp acidity, fruit-focused with some minerality, and lower alcohol – around 12%. My favorites were the dry chenin blancs, fruity pinotages, and crisp sauvignon blancs. I was also impressed with their very generous pours – usually around 6 ounces. Since the weather was hot, they often served white and rose wines with ice on the side, which I thought was a nice touch.

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