Yes it is TIME. The World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2019 of TIME magazine revealed three Southern Africa inclusions. Lekkerwater and Omaanda to stay in, Wolfgat to dine at.
To compile their second annual list of the World’s Greatest Places, TIME solicited nominations across a variety of categories from editors and correspondents around the world as well as industry experts. They then evaluated each one based on key factors, including quality, originality, sustainability, innovation and influence.
The De Hoop Nature Reserve, a few hours eaast from Cape Town, is a haven for vulnerable species like the Cape vulture and the bontebok. Now, visitors can appreciate this rare nature up close with a two-night summer-camp experience, courtesy of the Lekkerwater Beach Lodge, which opened in April on a private white-sand beach.
Up to 16 guests arrive at the lodge at the same time, share family meals cooked with local ingredients, and take part in activities like exploring tidal pools, hiking and whale watching. While the lodge’s communal atmosphere is reminiscent of summer camp, the sleeping quarters are anything but.
The seven beachfront bedrooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto private verandas with views of the Indian Ocean.
Plenty of resorts sell themselves as an escape, but few can offer the near total isolation of Omaanda, a clutch of 10 huts in a 22,000-acre nature reserve in Namibia.
French hotelier Arnaud Zannier opened Omaanda in 2018, after philanthropist and TIME contributing editor Angelina Jolie persuaded him to join Namibia’s still developing safari scene and work with the nearby Naankuse animal sanctuary—partly funded by the Jolie-Pitt Foundation—to protect local wildlife.
Now, guests can spot zebras, giraffes, rhinos and more on daily excursions, or simply relax in the hotel’s infinity pool.
A meal at Wolfgat, which opened in 2016, has always been a dining experience for the truly dedicated. That’s because the 20-seat venue is in the remote fishing village of Paternoster (pop. 2,000), a two-hour drive from Cape Town.
There, owner Kobus van der Merwe serves strandveld cuisine (which roughly translates to “beach vegetation”), harvesting his ingredients from the beach in front of his restaurant and the wild bush behind it.
Until recently, his customers mostly kept quiet about the experience, giving up bragging rights in order to secure tables at the best restaurant you had never heard of.
Then, in February, the World Restaurant Awards dubbed Wolfgat the best restaurant in the world. Walk-ins are now impossible, but bookings can still be made up to 90 days in advance online.
Images and words courtesy of TIME Magazine
Wolfgat restaurant, overlooking Paternoster beach on the Atlantic ocean