Elegant SA at Fairlawns Boutique Hotel

Day 9 of the Elegant tour is a “dinner at your leisure” evening. We’ll be at the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel. I have a favorite restaurant from past travels that we’d like to go to. It’s about 3 miles away. I’m leery of Jo-burg transportation options. Has someone gone “off campus” there recently? If so, how did you get out and back?


  • Mike

    We took this tour last November. My only real disappointment with this tour was the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel. The hotel itself was very nice, the employees were all very nice, the property was very nice but the location not so much. I did a short review of this tour which you can access from the link below.

    South Africa an Elegant Adventure Review

    The hotel is not located near any restaurants. We were told by the tour director that the hotel would provide a shuttle to anyone who needed transportation to restaurants or shopping. It turns out that the hotel did not have a shuttle and we should call Uber for a ride. The hotel restaurant was good except for very slow service. We did not want to eat there a second night. We ended up eating some cheese and crackers we had in our suitcases for emergency snacks. (We had a big lunch that day anyway)

  • When we took this tour, the Johannesburg hotel was in an upmarket shopping center, I forget the name but there was a big statue of Mandela there. I think some parts of the tour have changed quite a bit. We went to see a fantastic dance group who”s dances were based on what the miners danced of I remember and a lecture on buying diamonds, do their still offer that?

  • The statue is in Mandela Square, coincidentally right where my restaurant choice is located. I don’t think I’d use Uber in Jo-burg. If the hotel doesn’t offer a shuttle, we’ll stay in. I love SA, but Jo-burg is a bit dicey.

  • Yes, believe Jo burg is the murder capital of the world

  • Mike, I took this tour in 2019 before the world shut down. Don’t remember the hotel name, but I think it is the one British described. That hotel arranged for a driver to take us to and from the magnificent Marble restaurant in Joberg - one of the prettiest restaurants I have ever eaten in. We were there for the sunset, and it was magical. There was a guard at the entrance to Marble who made sure we had reservations. Everyone is right about Joberg being dicey.

  • Thanks, Ladybombay. I believe your trip was before the hotel change. We can always eat at the Fairlawn again (dinner is there the day before), but I hope they’ll provide some ground services. Not a major problem, but there is a great place at Mandela Square we hope to get back to.

  • I was on this trip in January/February 2022 The hotel does have a shuttle that takes you to a nearby shopping area that has restaurants. Perhaps they can help you make arrangements with the transportation to and from the restaurant you have chosen. I thought the Fairlawn was a lovely hotel. The dining service in the hotel was a little slow, but we didn't have a problem with it. Regarding the diamond lecture British mentioned, there was a guest speaker the 1st night of our stay who talked about the gemstone / diamond mining and the related industries - we found it interesting.

  • KHCHgo, do you know if the shuttle went to Mandela Square or Sandton City Mall? Both are relatively nearby and both have a number of restaurants. I’m hoping for Mandela Square. Did you enjoy the tour overall? Thanks for your input!

  • I'm not certain but I believe it was the Sandton City Mall. I loved this tour, it was a good mix of history, a winery and of course the safari. We had a terrific tour director. Loved Capetown, the winery and most of all the safari. You'll have a great time!

  • The Elegant South Africa is a great tour. I think it’s really important to understanding the history of the countries and visit places like Soweto. Does the tour still take you to lunch in a typical Soweto restaurant? The massive Johannesburg homes surrounded by high walls and fences, I think they were bigger than any American homes I have seen

  • British, The group lunch in Soweto was at "La Boqueria" Restaurant, a Spanish type menu. Not sure it's the same one you went to.

  • The Apartheid Museum is open again and the tour goes there. It includes a meeting with the sister of Hector Pietersen who is in the iconic photo of Hector when he was killed. There is no visit to Soweto on the tour now.

  • This tour seems to have less and less included, what a shame. Did you go to see the youth dancing miners dance in there rubber boots? We even went to Robben island which is no longer on the tour either.

  • We did not see the dancers. However, the meeting with Antoinette Petersen was very special as was the visit to the Apartheid Museum, neither of which would have happened had we gone to Soweto. By the way, the Fairlawns Hotel was beautiful and the service level was actually good. In addition, they did provide a driver to take us to Mandela Square which is adjacent to the very upscale Sandton Mall. There are several great restaurants overlooking the square. Over the years I’ve eaten in several of them. The TDs know which to choose, but we had a great lunch that left us less than hungry at dinner time. A taste of Häagen-Dazs in the mall left us satisfied.

  • edited August 2022

    We went to Soweto and the apartheid museum and met Hector Pietersen’s sister on our tour, I had quite a conversation with her when we came out of the museum before the others came out, I was asking our local guide if she was his girlfriend. For most of us on the tour, that was the highlight of the entire tour. Of course you want to cry after she has told you her story. On another Africa tour, that TD made us laugh because when the talk is over and everyone is crying, she skips happily off saying, ok, see you next week.
    Here is the Wiki link to the story and the famous picture of her running alongside the man carrying her dead brother. I remember all the news reports very well. South Africa is so much more than safaris and animals which is why I think the Elegant South Africa tour is so important

  • edited August 2022

    I agree with British, the South Africa an Elegant Adventure (which I did first) affords you the opportunity to see some of the travails people went through during apartheid and how pretty some of the cities are. It is so much more that safaris and animals.

  • gladysorlando984
    7:11AM edited 7:11AM
    I agree with British, the South Africa an Elegant Adventure (which I did first) affords you the opportunity to see some of the
    travails people went through during apartheid and how pretty some of the cities are. It is so much more that safaris and animals.

    In addition, it's the cheapest tour that still gets you to Victoria Falls. :D

  • Just returned from this trip. The Fairlawn hotel does offer a shuttle to the shopping center, which has lots of shops and restaurants. However, you won't have much time there. The shops close at 7 pm. The Fairlawn hotel was nice, but service in the restaurant was slower than slow. Food was good. You can order off any menu in the dining room, but be prepared to wait.

  • Thank you Mike Coyner for your description of the South Africa: An Elegant Adventure tour. I have copied it to share with our family.
    Six of us are going on May 31, 2024 and greatly looking forward to it.
    Somewhere you mentioned that you were from Western N.Y. . We live on Chautauqua Lake.
    Best regards.

  • Does Tauck supply duffle bags for this trip?

  • No duffel bags for this tour.

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