Safaris, whilst being one of the most unforgettable experiences when visiting Africa, can also be quite exhausting. Waking up at the crack of dawn to get a glimpse of the elusive Pangolin, spending hours in game vehicles and being at the mercy of the often harsh African climate can take it out of you! It thus makes perfect sense to seek some pampering rest and relaxation after your safari. Luckily for travelers to Southern and East Africa, there are numerous luxurious wellness retreats to choose from.
There is no better place to be pampered than in the calm, beautiful, and for the most part, untouched African wilderness surroundings. Relax, get back to Mother Nature and feel your stress literally melt away. This ancient African continent is one of the most naturally beautiful in the world, and people have, for centuries, found solace in its valleys, pristine coastlines and bushveld wilderness – the perfect ingredients for romantic getaways and spa breaks.
Enjoy some reprieve from your daily grind and forget about the office, conferences and carpools. Ignore the nagging emails, switch your phone to silent and head to one of our 5 best-loved health and wellness retreats.
1. Fordoun Spa
First pick of our top five is Fordoun Spa, located in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands. One of South Africa’s most luxurious, this spa lies tucked away at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains. What makes this establishment stand out from other South African wellness spas? Well, for one, Fordoun is home to a traditional African Zulu healer. Dr Elliot Ndlovu is on standby to offer guests his traditional healing treatments and stress relief. He is a fascinating man, part Inyanga (medicinal healer) and part Sangoma (spiritual healer), and his garden has over a hundred species of healing plants. Dr Ndolovu will also accompany guests on a tour to a nearby Zulu village to add context to his healing methods.
2. The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
Next on our list is the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town. The hotel to which the spa is attached is a Cape Town institution and, as such, treatments at the wellness centre have become popular with both locals and tourists alike. Arguably the most popular attraction in Cape Town is Table Mountain, and the 12 Apostles Hotel happens to be located right at its base, sandwiched between the mountain and the Atlantic seaboard coastline. Make sure you request a massage in one of the therapy rooms on the mountain. The experience is heavenly – a delightful stone path leads you to a secluded glass treatment room set deep in the aromatic ‘fynbos’. Whether you’re looking to boost your health or simply to book a spa day after a long trip, this award-winning spa has a treatment for you.
3. Royal Malewane
If you’ve always dreamt of a spa in the African bush, then Royal Malewane Safari Lodge is the perfect place to unwind. Located in the Thornybush Game Reserve – part of the greater Kruger National Park area – the spa is popular with high-end travellers who wish to combine a luxury safari with wellness during their Africa trip. The fact that it has a fully equipped spa sets Royal Malewane apart from other safari lodges which generally only offer a handful of treatments, and often have only one therapist. Here, surrounded by the views and sounds of the African bush, you’ll find a fully equipped gym, heated lap pool, Jacuzzi, steam room, hot and cold baths, private casitas, WiFi and a hair salon.
Exclusivity, superb game viewing, award winning cuisine AND a spa – the dream safari destination! It is not uncommon to hear a lion roar in the distance while you are enjoying a rejuvenating back massage.
4. Azura Benguerra
South Africa is not the only country blessed with superb spas. In fact, the African continent is filled with sumptuous options for relaxing spa weekends including the Azura Benguerra, located on Benguerra Island in Southern Mozambique. If there ever was the perfect coastal retreat, this would be it! Think decadent massages overlooking pearly white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters; cool sea breezes and Mozambican sunsets. Azura uses local ingredients like the Mongongo Nut Oil, and massages are done to the beat of an African drum, making your stay in Mozambique even more authentic.
5. Olarro Lodge
Last, but by no means least, is the Olarro Lodge in Kenya. Located in the Masai Mara National Reserve, the Olarro Lodge puts forward the epitome of Kenyan sophistication. The best therapists are sourced from all over the world which reflects in the quality of the treatments. In between pampering wellness treatments, a range of fun safari activities awaits – from nature walks, mountain biking, bird watching and their unique night game drives which require special infrared night vision goggles.
For one of the most unforgettable safari holidays book your trip to Africa. All you have to do on your arrival at any one of our top five wellness retreats is sit back, relax, close your eyes and let the therapist do the rest. We can think of no better way to get in touch with the African continent than by letting it heal you.