Agulhas Wine Triangle

By Bloomberg Pursuits

View the full article on Bloomberg.

Inflation, recession, global conflict, labor unrest and stock market volatility cannot stop our human desire to get away. 

Some call it the tourists’ revenge: After two years of Covid-related restrictions, travel in 2022 rebounded nearly to pre-pandemic levels. International travel boosted spending in the world’s most-visited cities and was a key contributor in driving their recovery. Total tourism spending in 2023 is projected to be $1.16 trillion dollars globally, and may surpass even 2019 levels as travelers from China return to the road.

Restaurants and hospitality brands are leaping to meet the moment. Resorts both vast and tiny are opening up in hot cities and remote getaways around the globe. Chefs have crafted adventurous dining experiences to serve a newly rambunctious clientele. Many museums and cultural institutions are emerging, refreshed and renewed.

With that in mind, we put together a list of 21 places that can fulfill whatever you want most in a vacation, whether it’s outdoor adventure, luxurious pampering, delicious food, decadent nightlife or simply, a little peace and quiet. And to help you maximize your time off, we gathered insights from destination experts on the most ideal (and questionable) times to travel; paired with custom hotel price data from Google, finding your perfect trip is easier than ever.

Savor a Sip of Africa’s Deep South

Think of the South African wine lands, and Stellenbosch or Franschhoek likely spring to mind. This year, consider driving 100 miles southeast to the Western Cape’s Agulhas wine triangle, where a handful of pioneering cellars are tapping into the region’s unique coastal terroir and brisk sea winds to produce expressive wines with wonderful minerality and freshness. Syrah and sauvignon blanc are the standout cultivars—try Strandveld Vineyards, Lomond Wines or the Giant Periwinkle—but pinot noir also thrives in these cooler climes. On the banks of the Breede River, the rocky vineyards at Sijnn Wines shape impressive Rhône-style blends.
Elsewhere, book a guided tour of the Nuwejaars Wetlands, where 25 landowners are conserving 113,000 acres of the Agulhas Plain, reintroducing hippopotamus and Cape buffalo to their traditional ranges. Make your base at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, which protects the endemic fynbos, or shrubland, vegetation of the region. The original Garden Lodge was entirely rebuilt in 2022; its 11 contemporary suites are hidden amid ancient milkwood forests.

When to go: South Africa’s Western Cape is a fickle place, so be prepared to experience all four seasons in one day. Spring and fall (September/October and March through May) are a little like Goldilocks’s porridge: It’s not too hot and windy, but also not too cold and rainy. For whale watching, June, July and August are primetime, just don’t forget to pack a jacket (it’s winter).
When not to go: South Africans traveling locally make December’s festive season and the two weeks surrounding Easter (April 9 this year) particularly crowded.
Whom to call: Mango African Safaris