After flying nearly 11 hours nonstop from London-Heathrow to Johannesburg South Africa like anyone I was ready to get to my hotel. After breezing through immigration I met my driver to take me to the Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa. The drive to the hotel took about 25 minutes (35 km) to the suburb of Sandhurst. The tree lined streets with its upscale homes and shopping is well known for business travelers or those en route for safari.
Upon entering the Saxon you will be met by two very imposing wood doors and security of this walled property. If privacy and safety are at the top of your priorities this property will be well suited for you. The Clintons and Oprah Winfrey and other well known celebrities have stayed at The Saxon.
The Saxon is on 10 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds where visitors are free to roam and enjoy. The hotel has been the recipient of numerous awards and was the place where Nelson Mandela wrote his autobiography Long Walk To Freedom.
The Saxon (www.saxon.co.za) has 53 suites all modern and spacious. The Presidential Suite is 2152 square feet and the Nelson Mandela Platinum Suite is 4305 square feet and feature butler service. Other luxury suites are 861 square feet and all feature spacious bathrooms and great views of the property. Not surprisingly the Saxon is popular for business events and especially weddings.
After a day of exploring Johannesburg the first stop should be the Saxon Terrace for relaxation and lunch. Great for cocktails and even bird watching this venue is open from early morning till late evening and provides a great place for good informal dining and enjoy the views of the property. In the evening the Saxon Five Hundred offers the best in local cuisine along with South African wines along with its own vegetable garden for freshness. Another choice for dining at The Saxon is the Qunu Grill which prepares buffet or specialty dies from the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I dined in all three and was not disappointed as all of my meals were quite good.
One of the most popular features of The Saxon is its Spa and Studio. The spa offers an array of holistic therapies offered in a peaceful and secluded environment to increase your relaxation and wellbeing.
Not only is Johannesburg the largest and most populated city with all most 4.4 million residents its also the wealthiest in South Africa. Known originally for its gold mines in the late 1880s the city is also the largest city in the world that is not on a coastline, lake or river.
Visits should include the Apartheid Museum, Botanical Gardens and Constitution Hill in the city, the nearby city of Soweto, and the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site about 90 minutes away. Shopping and eating out is easy and there are plenty of choices to pick from.
The weather in Johannesburg allows for almost year around visiting. Summer which is the months of December and January are considered to be one of the best times to visit along with September into April.
From the U.K. British Airways, South African Airways and Virgin-Atlantic offer direct service to Johannesburg with flying time being just under 11 hours nonstop.
From North America Delta has service to Johannesburg from Atlanta with flying time of about 15 hours and South African Airways from JFK in New York also with about 15 hours of flying time.
Started this June 2015 a new series of rules went in to effect for children traveling to South Africa: All children under the age of 18 years who travel into or out of South Africa need the consent of both their parents, and to produce an unabridged birth certificate to get a visa or at a port of entry.
Citizens of America and U.K. typically do not need visas for holiday journeys.
Article by Kevin Murphy: www.kevinmurphy.london