American/British Celebrities Who Visited South Africa in 2022 and the Hotels they Stayed in.
According to the UNWTO world tourism barometer and GlobalData, South Africa was the 3rd most visited country in Africa in 2019 and 2022. Westerners are among the tourists in SA, with a bulk of them coming from the USA, UK and Germany, followed by other EU countries. South Africa is a popular international destination, thanks to its attractive free-enterprise economy, liberal culture, upholding of constitutional values, diverse multi-racial culture, game parks, beautiful resorts, world class facilities, hospitality of its people and famous historical figures such as Nelson Mandela.
It takes the crown as the first and only African country to host the FIFA World Cup. Thus, it is no coincidence or luck that this rainbow nation affectionately known as Mzansi by locals, is not just a magnet for high-profile investors and business moguls, but also a magnet for A-List celebrities from the USA, UK and other countries around the world, including the regular tourist looking for an adventure in the African safari or good time in uptown entertainment centres such as Sandton and Sun City.
Over the past decades, a whole lot of western celebrities have visited South Africa, initially drawn by the humbling influence of Nelson Mandela, and later on by what Mzansi has to offer, not forgetting the 2010 FIFA World Cup which was a big opportunity to showcase the country. Among celebrities who have visited South Africa are Beyonce, JayZ, David Beckham, Naomi Campbell, Will Smith, Oprah Winfrey, Bono, Spice Girls, Whoopi Goldberg, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dog, 50Cent, R.Kelly, Shakira, Nicki Minaj, Richard Branson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Denzel Washington, Orlando Bloom, Samuel L Jackson, Paris Hilton, Rihanna, TI, Miley Cyrus, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ellen DeGeneres, Prince Harry, Meagan Markle, John Legend, Chris Brown, Vin Diesel, Alicia Keys, Ludacris, Sean Penn and Zac Efron.
In 2022 like in previous years, South Africa was not short of A-List celebrity tourists in the form of Hollywood Stars or Famous Personalities. The following are notable celebrities who visited Mzansi after the Covid-19 pandemic and relaxation of lockdown rules:
Western Celebrities Who Visited South Africa in 2022 and the Hotels they Stayed in.
This 6th highest grossing actor in Hollywood arrived in South Africa around the 10th of February 2022 to shoot episode 8 of his movie “Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part I and II” which was filmed in a village called Hoedspruit in the Limpopo region. The exact location was the Antares Bush Camp and Safaris. The daily schedule involved Cruise driving to a pickup point in the morning, whereby he would board and pilot a helicopter to the filming location in the bushes.
His next shooting location would take him to the KZN province in the mountainous bushes of Drakensberg and Bergville around 2 April 2022, so all in all, he had been in South Africa for nearly two months.
Tom Cruise returned to South Africa in the beginning of December 2022, snapping an Instagram photo with hotel staff on 6 December at the Killarney Country Club in Johannesburg. The Hollywood star was seen on 19 December filming from an aircraft, sky diving over a coastal water body while thanking fans for watching Top Gun:Maverick, one of his highest grossing movies.
On 14 April 2022, Kelly Rowland, the former member of Destiny’s Child, an American RnB musical group of the 1990s which included Beyonce Knowles, made a surprise announcement on Twitter when she arrived in South Africa. Apparently, she had sneaked into the country some days before the announcement, around the 9th of April 2022, seen in a high-end restaurant, and talking about how high class people are so nosy, admitting that she is also nosy Lol. The RnB star is writing a children’s book and the news of her visit to SA went viral on Twitter. Kelly was staying at the prestigious Saxon Hotel in Sandton, a favourite hotel for famous personalities and wealthy people. Some of the places she visited in Johannesburg include the Les Creatifs Restaurant in Sandton owned by celebrated Chef Wandile Mabaso and the UNESCO Cradle of Humankind Heritage site, which is about 50km from Johannesburg in the Northwest direction. It’s safe to say Kelly stayed the whole week in SA as she flew back to the United States on the 16th of April, announcing that she would come back again. So she was definitely having a blast in Mzansi.
True to her word, the Star of Destiny’s Child returned to South Africa in the first week of December 2022, holding a press conference at the 5-star The Leonardo Hotel, a 55-storey mixed-use luxury apartment tower in Sandton, Johannesburg on 9 December. This time, Kelly was on a mission to promote the YOU Belong campaign as well as the locally-made Brutal Fruit Spritzer alcohol brand. On 10 December, the #YouBelong event for women organized by Brutal Fruit Spritzer in partnership with Kelly Rowland was held at a private location in the Old Park Station, attracting a host of local female celebrities and influencers from Simphiwe Ngema to Thando Thabethe, who engaged with the star during the luncheon.
Singer-songwriter Kehlani Ashley Parrish, also known as Kehlani, stayed at The Bay Hotel, Camps Bay in Cape Town during her trip to South Africa. The main reason for her trip was to attend the “Rocking the Daisies Festival” which took place on the weekend of October 6, 2022. During her trip in that country, Kehlani was at Cloof Wine Estate, Darling Cellars Winery on the West Coast just an hour’s drive from Cape Town. In addition to getting to know that part of the country, the celebrity enjoyed a walk through Johannesburg on October 9 at SuperSport Park, Centurion, Gauteng. That’s not all, she also stayed a couple of extra days in the country, so her social media was filled with selfies and posts from the most exclusive places.
Social media was flooded with fan posts showing Kehlani walking the streets of Camps Bay. Her big performance at the festival was on Saturday, October 8, so she had a few extra days to tour the city. To rest, the singer was able to enjoy the hotel pool, and even some employees of the Bay Hotel stated that she was able to enjoy a complete package of massages in the hotel spa.
In the photo that Kehlani uploaded on her Instagram and Facebook, you can see that she stayed in a Corner Sea View room, with a window that allows you to look directly at the coast that surrounds the hotel. Not everything was staying locked in a hotel, Kehlani walked through the streets of Camp Bay and Johannesburg greeting all her fans, and she got to know restaurants that served local South African food.
This is allegedly the first time the American singer has visited South Africa, and she said it helped her learn about another part of her identity. Although the artist was born in the United States,a part of her family is from South Africa, and her name is native to this country, so she says that being here helped her contact her roots and embrace her South African name. The singer took advantage of some interviews to say that she felt in touch with her heritage every time she visited South Africa, and she encourages young American girls to use their real name proudly, even if it comes from a different place.
At the end of her performance at the festival, the singer said that she loved South Africa and the audience said that the energy that her South African fans transmitted was unique and that she couldn’t wait to see them again. Now time will tell if Kehlani keeps her promise and revisits South Africa in the near future, we know her fans will be waiting for her.
British actor Idris Elba was in South Africa in May 2022 to record one of his latest films called “Beast”. The film was shot in Limpopo, Northern Cape and the City of Cape Town and was released in August 2022. If you watch the film you will recognize some of the most striking landscapes in South Africa, and the film’s cast and crew had the privilege of staying in the best places. In their moments recording the movie in the Northern Cape they stayed at the Tutwa Desert Lodge located in the Orange River Valley, near the neighbouring country of Namibia. Then for filming in Limpopo they stayed at Palala Boutique Game Lodge and Spa in Lephalale, just right next to Zimbabwe. This was not the first time the award-winning actor had been in South Africa. In fact, in 2013 he was in the country to promote the movie “Long Walk to Freedom” where he plays Nelson Mandela. In 2016 he stayed at The Bay Hotel in Camps Bay while shooting the movie “The Dark Tower” near Cavendish Square Shopping Center in Claremont. During that stay in South Africa, Elba also got to enjoy some fantastic drinks at the Cubana Havana Lounge, a popular place to have fun in Green Point.
Some members of the cast and crew enjoyed campfires and BBQs at the Tutwa Desert Lodge, which is considered an oasis to rest and recover energy. The child actors of the cast assure that this was the best hotel where they stayed in their life since they had games and saw exotic animals all day (anyone who stays at the hotel, without being famous can enjoy that).
On the other hand, the adults of the cast and crew loved the Palala Boutique Game Lodge and Spa. This hotel is always described as the place for a romantic getaway, but the actors say it was the perfect place to relax and enjoy the spa after a long day of filming.
When the British actor was asked by the press what he thought about filming in South Africa, he reaffirmed his love for the country and the African continent. He pointed out that it seems to him one of the best places in the world to shoot movies, especially if they are action movies. He also highlighted the beauty of the natural landscapes and thanked the South African authorities for giving him the chance to film there and not having to rely on special effects. Both Elba and the director of the film and the crew in general stated that South Africa had always been the favourite place to film and that if they had not been able to do it, the film might not have been made.
Nothing is confirmed yet, but there are rumours that the British actor will visit South Africa again between 2023 and 2024 to film another of his films. This should not come as a surprise since due to its natural landscapes this country is popular for filming action or adventure movies.
English singer and record producer Craig David had a lavish trip to South Africa. The composer arrived in South Africa on December 6, 2022, a few days before his shows began as part of the TS5 Experience World Tour. This tour began at the Grand Arena, Cape Town’s Grand West, although his tour of the country did not end there. Craig David performed at a private party for Ian Bredenkamp, a philanthropist and entrepreneur. During his trip, he was friendly with the fans and the press, he even gave an interview with Katlego Maboe on the Expresso Show. This was not the first time that the singer visited the African country, he had already performed when he recently launched his career in 2003. Later, he became a UN Goodwill Ambassador for which he visited the country in 2010 and 2012. During his stay stayed at the Alphen Hotel in Constantia located in Cape Town.
In addition to staying at the prestigious Alphen Hotel in Constantia, the singer also gave private shows to the guests. In his free moments, he could be seen enjoying the hotel’s outdoor bar with his friends or cooling off in the pool. Employees of the Alphen Hotel in Constantia claim that Craig David ate at the restaurant most of the days he was in the city, and was encouraged to try all kinds of dishes.
The Cape Town City Festivals welcomed Craig David with open arms. Not everything was work, since some nights the singer went to a party but did not perform at the venue. Those who attended these festivities assure that they were the best of the summer and that they continued until the sun went down.
It’s safe to say that this won’t be the last time Craig David visits South Africa. He always includes the country in his tours, and he is also an ambassador for different foundations that do charity in the country. The World Health Organization named him as a tuberculosis ambassador in 2010, so he travelled to South Africa to learn more about the disease and learn how to combat it. Since that trip, the singer does not let much time pass between his visits to South Africa, and he has repeatedly claimed to be in love with the country.
There are rumours that the singer will make a song collaborating with one of South Africa’s best-known female artists for a new song, so if that happens you can expect Craig David to return to the country sooner than expected.
Gabriella Union and Dwayne Wade
The actress Gabrielle Union and her husband, the basketball player Dwayne Wade, visited South Africa at the beginning of November 2022 on a business trip, but the times of enjoyment were not lacking. The main reason for the happy couple’s trip was to launch the haircare line that the actress did with Clicks Pharmacy. The products of the line called “Flawless” can be found in different stores in South Africa, so the couple did the promotion in different parts of the country. First, they were in Johannesburg where they did most of the business, then their vacation time was in Cape Town at the Topiary Wine Estate in Franschhoek. In addition, they enjoyed a fantastic meal at Reuben’s Restaurant, owned by world-renowned chef Reuben Riffle.
Gabriella Union and Dwayne Wade sampled a premium wine tasting at Topiary Wine Estate, plus they took free products from the vineyard to enjoy at home. The happy couple was seen in the most exclusive places in Johannesburg at lunches and dinners with executives and famous businessmen of the country.
While launching the product, they gave interviews talking about the benefits of this new line for haircare and also thanked South Africa and its people for this opportunity. They said that they were received fantastically by all the people and that they made their stay in South Africa something unique and unforgettable.
While in South Africa Gabrielle Union celebrated her 50th birthday, accompanied by other celebrities, friends and family. Her party was a unique celebration, and even the famous Latin singer Lisa Lisa travelled to give a surprise performance that made the actress emotional.
The stay in the South African country was also within the framework of the D Wade World Tour 2022, where the basketball player visited European, African and Asian countries. However, South Africa was the country where the couple met to enjoy the best moments of the tour, and take a mini vacation.
His trips to visit other countries on the world tour were much shorter, his stay in South Africa lasted almost two weeks. During that time it was not all business, the superstar couple also took the opportunity to tour the country. They were able to tour the markets, walk through Johannesburg, and also had rest times. At their hotel, they were seen enjoying the outdoor pool, had a few drinks in the lounge bar, and enjoyed some massages in the spa.