South Africa is fast becoming the new haven for all that is holistic. The diversity of the vast country lends itself perfectly to all pursuits mind, body and soul and boasts over 1000+ wellness offerings to choose from.
From hot springs to ‘spafaris, here are four types of retreat to experience in South Africa.
Historic Hot Springs
As the only country in the world with both a thermal and mineral spring offering, South Africa’s springs have abundant healing properties which include boosting circulation, reducing stress and promoting better sleep. Formed by ancient volcanic activity, The Baths Hot Spring based on a citrus farm in the Western Cape boasts 43-degree pools.
In addition, Avalon Springs in the Western Cape, and just two hours from Cape Town, features hot springs that were first discovered in the 1700’s. The springs flow naturally from a fissure in the rock face and reach the six pools at different temperatures due to the distance travelled.
South Africa’s wildlife is like no other, and with nature well documented as contributing to positive emotional and physical wellbeing, it is no surprise that ‘mindful safari’ is gaining popularity– which includes offerings like meditation, trail running, massages under-the-stars combined with an all-encompassing safari experience.
Longstanding safari operator, Satori Africa, offers a bespoke wellness itinerary, across 12 nights all year round. The offering includes African healing treatments, Calabash massage utilising the calabash plant as a massage tool to scatter tension zones, soften muscles and to restore the flow of energy back into your body. As well as the crystal steam room featuring a central block of rock quartz to absorb, store, release and regulate energy. The crystal is seen to draw off negative energy to harmonise the chakras and balance an individuals physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes.
‘Spafaris’ Bringing Serenity
‘Spafaris’ combine an adventurous safari in the wilderness with relaxing and invigorating spa treatments. Royal Malewane, a luxury safari lodge in Kruger National park, features an award winning and world-renowned spa, which uses traditional techniques, instruments and products.
At Lion Sands, set between Sabi Sand Game Reserve and Kruger National Park, travellers can enjoy drives in small groups of six before spa relaxation of ‘Intonga Amasatchi’, a full body deep tissue and stress relieving treatment that healers preformed using a staff that represented wisdom and direction.
Or, hidden amongst a canopy of trees, Singita Sweni Lodge offers an experience that is at one with nature and the community. Including stargazing, guided nature walks, spa experiences on a private balcony and a cooking class that supports the Singita Community Culinary School; helping kids from the community thrive economically and socially.
For ultimate luxury seekers, Richard Branson’s Ulusaba Lodge, or ‘place of little fear’, is well known for its elevated and view, in fact it once kept the Shangaan chief and warriors safe during battle. Nowadays it provides an outpost for relaxation and a notion of escaping into the wilderness as well as the Aboma Spa treatment room which built on the banks of the dry Mabrak riverbed amongst the trees, offering complete privacy.
Reach New Heights
Travellers can also take yoga practice to new heights atop Table Mountain – South Africa’s most iconic landmark situated 1086m above sea level and with abundant flora of over 2200 species of eye-catching plant life. Cape Town Yoga Experiences allows guests to take a cable car to the top and enjoy a private yoga class where yogis can take in the panoramic views of Cape Town followed by an African stone reading session.
Or for those wanting to get off the beaten track, yoga in the wilderness provides another option for self-discovery. Set high in the Natal Midlands, Satori Farm is surrounded by an indigenous forest and overlooks Inhlasane mountain. The peacefulness encourages quiet time, personal reflection and meditation. Whilst the forest promotes connecting with nature and taking time for oneself.
Be it through physical development in yoga, meditation, exercise or detox, to mental nourishment in learning from new cultures, or from environmental enrichment to spiritual growth through mindfulness and traditional therapies, South Africa is the perfect environment to enjoy a truly unique holistic wellness experience.