Time to look after yourself
Sharing new experiences with family and friends and taking the opportunity to ‘disconnect to reconnect’ has benefits that last for months if not years. The raw wilderness, the huge skies, open fires, smiling faces, warm evenings, delicious food, the ordered chaos and the charm and warmth of the local people hearten the soul. They say a change is as good as a rest and if that’s the case then a safari is the best rest and reset you can get.
While wildlife viewing is the mainstay of the holidays we organise, it’s very easy to incorporate some proper relaxation time into a safari whether that’s at an individual camp or a safari combined with a few days at one of the hotels and lodges scattered across our Indian Ocean destinations, most of which have fabulous spas.
Here are some of our favourite options for a truly relaxing holiday:
Rarely would you find such an eclectic mix of elements packaged as wonderfully as they are at Segera Retreat, a luxury oasis in 50,000 acres of wild Kenyan savannah. All the usual animal suspects combined with Jochen Zeitz’s impressive collection of contemporary African art, superb accommodation and a magnificent spa, set this glorious spot a class apart. It’s the sort of place you can easily take a day off and simply wander the gardens with their extraordinary statues, relax by the pool or indulge in a spa treatment.
Other East African camps, slightly more traditional in nature than Segera, but also with lovely spa options include Ol Lentille in Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau, and over in Tanzania, Chem Chem Lodge just on the edge of Tarangire National Park and Mwiba Lodge on the southern tip of the Serengeti. At each you can enjoy a wonderful range of safari activities alongside relaxing treatments in characterful bush spas.
In the heart of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, Jao is famous for its proximity to prolific wildlife. Among the safari activities are day and night wildlife drives, boat and mokoro trips, helicopter excursions and walking safaris. If this all sounds rather hectic, there’s a tranquil side to the camp too with a stunning safari spa offering signature ‘African Botanicals’ treatments after a long day out in the bush. It’s a combination of compelling wildlife and a holistic wellness experience that promises a rather lovely balance of excitement and relaxation.
The Tswalu Reserve at nearly 250,000 acres is the largest privately owned reserve in South Africa and home to Tswalu Tarkuni and Tswalu The Motse. The striking landscape, punctuated by stunning red sand dunes is home to a surprising diversity of wildlife and it’s one of the best places in Africa to see pangolin and aardvark. The award winning spa offers a range of treatments including reflexology, massage, and facials. There’s even a junior spa option for younger guests.
Tracking the mountain gorillas is one of the most exhilarating experiences we arrange. How far you have to walk, and over what terrain, is somewhat in the lap of the Gods (though the rangers will know to some degree where to find the habituated gorilla families). So if you’ve had a particularly long walk or you just feel like switching off after a full-on experience then a massage or a yoga session at Singita Kwitonda Lodge is a treat to bear in mind. With treatments offered in-suite or in the tranquillity of your private deck it’s is definitely something to think about. Riders, too, might like to know that it’s possible to arrange a treatment for saddle weary muscles at Okavango Horse Safaris.
Many African beach destinations work just as well as a standalone holiday as they do to complement a safari. You’ll find every type of accommodation – from five star luxury to bare foot escapism – amid beaches and exotic islands that rank among the best in the world. There’s plenty to do with some wonderful snorkelling and diving, surfing, kayaking, sailing, fishing and more. Anyone after some proper R&R will be well served too with a glorious range of spas to choose from.
Head for the Maldives and you’ll find enchanting island resorts that provide a range of accommodations from family friendly to sophisticated luxury. Stunning over-water villas, fabulous restaurants and spas that sooth and pamper are all part of the offering here. If you really want a mind and body overhaul then Six Senses Laamu will create a bespoke wellness programme for you, with personalised treatments, activities and nutritional advice – sending you back home with a renewed lease of life. Of course you don’t have to go to quite that length in search of delicious food and a relaxing massage, with pretty much every Maldives’ resort we offer housing a world class spa.
Although there’s plenty to see and do on Mauritius most visitors are bewitched by the charms of gorgeous coastal hotels with spas, golf courses, restaurants, stunning beaches and pools. If an easy week or two of pampering is on your list then there are some superb options here. You can’t go wrong with One&Only Le Saint Géran (Mauritius’ grand old lady which underwent a complete revamp a couple of years ago) or Paradis Beachcomber which is a veritable paradise with plenty of activities to keep children happy while parents relax.
The hundred plus islands that make up the Seychelles host a wealth of hotels and resorts, each set amid idyllic surroundings in this unspoilt paradise. Though they may be tad less formal than some in Mauritius and the Maldives there’s character in abundance with private islands like Fregate, Denis and North perfect spots for a luxurious fly and flop break or the likes of Lemuira and Raffles occupying superb beachfronts on lovely Praslin. It goes without saying that the spas here will delight and pamper in equal measure.
Moving away from the Indian Ocean’s big names, it’s well worth adding the likes of southern Mozambique, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Lake Malawi and the Kenyan coast to ‘the beach list for consideration.’ Perhaps the more barefoot luxury end of things, the small, individual beach properties here are full of charm and plenty will offer spa treatments in a relaxed, outdoor setting with the sound of the sea to lull the senses. Just perfect.
We would be delighted to help you plan a relaxing holiday encompassing any of the safari or beach spas mentioned here. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.