Luxurious South Africa

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Wealthy South Africans know how to enjoy their wealth. According to the Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report 2017, there are 58,000 South Africans, or 0.2 percent of the population, that qualify as millionaires with 84,000 belonging to the top 1 percent of global wealth holders.

Financial services firm Allianz, using data from national accounts, estimates in their Global Wealth Report (2017), that the richest 10 percent of South Africans owned more than 70 percent of net financial assets.

A REDI study determined that one percent of South Africans were estimated to own at least half the wealth in the country and the richest 10 percent owned, “at least 90-95 percent of all wealth.”

Because of the luxurious lifestyle in South Africa, there is an increase in the number of people moving to, retiring to and visiting this country. Cape Town is one of the 20 top second home hotspots for multimillionaires (think the Hamptons, Miami and Palm Beach, as well as Sydney, and St. Tropez). Most of the wealthy people with second homes in Cape Town are from Johannesburg, the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, USA, Nigeria, and the Gulf. Wealthy Europeans usually use these homes to escape the cold winter months.

South Africans spend their wealth on art to the tune of $450 million invested in African art. Leading South African artists include Irma Stern and Hugo Naude.

They are also fond of classic cars and auctions that are regularly scheduled in Johannesburg. High Net Worth Individuals (HWNIs) prefer the Ferrari 250 GTO, Porsche 550 Spyder, the Aston Martin DB4 and Lamborghini Countach.

The South Africans are also attracted to luxury clothing (high-end brands include Ardmore Ceramics, Carrols Boyes, RainAfrica and Avoova) and accessories, watches, private jets, yachts and hotels with hotels the biggest piece of the overall luxury sector.

The main destinations for the wealthy South Africans include the Kruger Park area, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Umhlanga and the Garden Route. Popular hotels include the Lost City, 12 Apostles, Oyster Box, Beverly Hills, Westcliff, and Cape Grace.

Franschkoek, a very small town, is considered to the “fine food capital” with more than 20 highly claimed restaurants plus the Michelin starred Tasting Room.

So – if you are looking for adopting (or experiencing) the lifestyle of the rich, South Africa is your destination.

Cape Town: Twelve Apostles

Located within The Table Mountain National Park, the Dutch-style Twelve Apostles Hotel in Cape Town, is an award-winning property that is part of the Leading Hotels of the World collection. Located above the Atlantic Ocean, with only 70 rooms and suites, this boutique property includes a 2 diminutive pools, an award-winning spa, exercise space, a 16-seat cinema, dining room and bar and concierge services.

For the rich and famous in a hurry, it offers helicopter transfers to the V&A Waterfront. If you have time on your hands, the hotel also offers shuttle service to the Camps Bay Beach and the Waterfront (a 20-minute drive away).

The Azure Restaurant (modern, contemporary cuisine with a South African flair) is considered one of the best dining spots in the area, and one of the restaurants with a full-time sommelier.

The Leopard Bar (with live music) is a scene stealer for the up-market clientele. The restaurant is opulent and romantic and is the perfect backdrop for a high-level corporate meeting or a seductive evening with a significant other. The Leopard Bar Terrace is strategically positioned so you can watch the whales while enjoying a glass of South African wine.

Each room has a unique design, with a focus on blues, greens, taupe and white. In some rooms the wallpaper and room fabrics match, and the bathrooms include tubs, showers, and double vanities with top-of-the line finishes. Wheelchair adapted rooms with partially accessible amenities or facilities are available on request.

From Cape Town to Johannesburg to the Palazzo

There are two airports that I could have used to reach the Montecasino and Palazzo. I selected Lanseria International because it is newer, smaller and about 20 minutes closer to the casino and hotel.

Lanseria is north of Johannesburg and expanding to handle 4 million transit visitors yearly. Lanseria has been the fourth largest airport in South Africa and moves 1.9 million passengers. Currently airlines using the airport are Mango, Kulula and FlySafair. Commerical flights are scheduled between Johannesburg and Cape Town, Durban and George.

The airport is privately owned by the Public Investment Corporation, the Pan African Infrastructure development Fund and Nozala Investment Holdings. I flew on Kulula and fortunately the flight was uneventful. A “heads-up” is necessary for flights in South Africa; if snacks are available for purchase it is likely that payment must be made in cash (Rand) as credit cards may not be accepted.

Fortunately, I was met at the airport (always a good idea), and within minutes of landing I as on my way to the Palazzo.


Gambling became legal in South Africa in 1994, when the new democratic government took office. In 1996, the National Gambling Act started a system of licensed casinos and a national lottery with the National Gambling Act of 1966 regulating the activity.

Located at Fourways, Sandton, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa, Montecasino and the Palazzo requires a portion of everyone’s holiday time. These are destination properties and the perfect places to start and end a safari adventure or a business deal.

Designed by an American company, Creative Kingdom, and built by South African architects, Bentel Associates, at the cost of 1.6 Billion Rand, the Palazzo and Montecasino opened in 2000 and attracts over 9.3 million visitors annually. The casino is themed after Monte Casino and designed to replicate an ancient Tuscan village. The property is owned by Tsogo Sun in partnership with Southern Sun and Tsogo Investments, a black empowerment group.

Even if you are fond of Las Vegs casinos, prefer a smaller gaming experience like Temecula (California) or Ameristar (Missouri), visits to Montecasino will not disappoint. The casino has over 1700 slot machines and 70 tables, plus a private high rollers lounge and a smoking section.

In addition, it is a family destination, so – even if you do not gamble but your SO does, no problem – there are shops, 2 theatres, a cinema and gardens and dozens of restaurants/bars and games, conference and events space…providing entertainment and dining options for the entire family, regardless of budget or interests.

The Bird Gardens (located a few steps from the casino) has a collection of over 142 African Cycads species, the largest in the world, and over 1000 reptiles. All the “residents” are housed in their natural surroundings and the walk-through aviary is the largest exhibit in Africa. There is also a free flight bird show.


For over-night or extended stays in jet-set level luxury, make reservations at the Palazzo, a 246-room luxury hotel built to resemble a historic Mediterranean mansion with landscaped gardens and a large swimming pool surrounded by fountains.

The Medeo Restaurant is filled with international visitors who eagerly order Italian cuisine served with African flair. Whether dining outdoors on the terrace overlooking the Tuscan gardens, complete with palm trees and a koi pound, or indoors in an elegantly designed garden room, the dining / drinking spaces all offer visual luxury and elegant surroundings.

What to Do

The Palazzo is surrounded by an urban landscape and near shopping malls, as well as community fairs and local events. The hotel Concierge is the best resource for getting information and arranging transportation to/from the event.

Nearby. Fourways Farmers Market

There are markets throughout Johannesburg every day of the week. These local venues provide the perfect opportunities for meeting with people who live in the community, experiencing and enjoying home-cooked family treats, drinking local beers and wines, and shopping for clothes and jewelry designed in South Africa by the people who actually made them. Prices are very reasonable. It is advisable to have both cash and credit cards for purchases.

Goodbye to South Africa

O. R. Tambo International Airport

Tambo is the major domestic and international airport for travel to/from South Africa. It is the busiest airport in Africa with a capacity to facilitate travel for up to 28 million passengers annually, with non-stop flights to all continents except Antarctica. It is also the hub for South African Airways (SAA).

With 15 hours and 40 minutes of flight time ahead of me, I stopped at a food kiosk for snacks, looked forward to a few glasses of South African wine, and a very long nap.

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© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.




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