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Wellness & vitality

It’s all very well having an active holiday, seeing loads of different things and learning about the world, but a holiday is supposed to be recreation. In other words, it’s supposed to “knit the ravelled sleeve of care” of our day-to-day stress-filled lives. So, if you’re looking for a way to destress, detox, lose some weight or just relax, you’ll find an enormous range of dedicated spas and wellness centres in southern and South Africa. But do your homework carefully to ensure you end up getting what you want. Some are just a wonderful relaxing experience with light meals and the odd massage, while others offer serious detoxing and therapeutic treatments.
For something a little less structured, you may just decide to spend some time at a natural hot spring, some of which have attached spas, and you’ll find a good many hotels and game lodges with attached wellness centres, where you can get massages and a range of beauty treatments. For a short pampering session, you could book in for a day of indulgence at any one of a number of day spas, and there are dedicated treatment salons and hair salons in all the major cities and most of the towns. Some local spas utilise the therapeutic properties of indigenous African plants such as Rooibos Tea and Aloe Ferox (which has significantly more therapeutic benefits than the better known Aloe Vera). If you find this particularly interesting, you can visit and tour the factories where these products are manufactured.
Catering more to mind and spirit than body, there are a number of great retreats where you can relax in fantastic surroundings knowing that you’re protected from TV, cell phones, traffic, etc. Some offer no more than a space for you to do your own thing, while others also offer meditation, yoga or other more structured forms of relaxation. There are a few dedicated meditation centres, ranging from quite laid back to very structured. And, not surprisingly, some practitioners have utilised the healing power of the wilderness to create personal development programmes and/or tours through the wilder parts of the sub-continent.

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