Our Top Wellness Retreats in South Africa
Day-to-day life can take its toll on the body, mind and soul. Sometimes, all we need is a little break from the mundane or chaotic stresses that come with balancing a career and everyday life. Fear not though – we have a comprehensive list of wellness retreats far and wide across South Africa for you to unbend your busy body at.
Wellness Retreats South Africa
TEMENOS RETREAT & WELLNESS CENTRE
Meaning a sacred, peaceful space – Temenos Retreat and Wellness Centre offers an idyllic oasis for visitors to enjoy a truly wellness-oriented retreat away from the city. Situated in the beautiful and quaint town of McGregor, it’s a short drive and a well-deserved escape from the busy hustle and bustle in Cape Town.
The fairytale setting of Temenos allows you to fully relax and unwind. The centre holds beautiful prayer and reflection areas, as well as extensive green gardens, dotted with colourful flowers, trees and wildlife. The centre offers a full range of treatments, as well as numerous structured wellness retreats which run all throughout the year. These include meditation and mindfulness, yoga, inner growth and silent retreats which you can find in their diary.
Location: Bree St, McGregor
Contact: 023 625 1871
Bodhi Khaya sits snugly at the foot of the Witkransberg in the beautiful Overberg region, a short 2-hour drive from Cape Town. This welcoming spiritual oasis is home to over 200-hectares of indigenous fynbos and milkwood forest, an opportune space to connect with nature, loved ones, and most importantly, yourself.
Owner, Georgina Hamilton, has nurtured this space into a sanctuary for those who wish to escape for awhile and foster their hearts and minds. Bodhi Khaya encapsulates a blend of Buddhism with South African culture, ‘Bodhi” meaning ‘awareness’, and ‘khaya’ holding the very essence of the definition ‘home’. The expansive space and welcoming atmosphere allow for calm reflection amongst the ample forestry. Bodhi Khaya offers a wide variety of wellness retreats and workshops to book in for, so it is advised to browse their website and secure your spot.
NOTE: Bodhi Khaya is undergoing some refurbishments and will be open again for retreats in October 2018. The self-catering cottages, however, are still available.
Location: R43 towards Gaansbaai
Contact: 028 388 0156
Less than an hour outside Cape Town, the Hydro can be found nestled in the most beautiful part of Stellenbosch. Surrounded by the most spectacular array of views, from the jagged Simonsberg mountains to expansive lawns and rolling hills into orchards and vineyards, this place has it all. Perfect for escaping the stresses and chaos of day-to-day life.
Whether you intend on addressing health issues, need to rejuvenate or simply want to temporarily run away from real life for a short while – the Hydro has something for everyone. Indulge in their numerous detoxification therapies and usual spa treatments, or opt to include yourself in one of their famous retreats.
Location: Lelie St, Idas Valley, Stellenbosch
Contact: 021 809 3800
DHAMMA PATAKA VIPASSANA CENTRE
This is not akin to the other luxurious wellness retreats mentioned here. This wellness journey is a 10-day silent meditation retreat in Worcester – and not for the faint-hearted.
Vipassana means “to see things as they really are”. It is a process of self-purification by self-observation. This retreat is designed for those who want to delve into the depths of their minds, and really challenge themselves to redesign their thought patterns and practice inner peace. The 10-day stay is a very humbling experience, consisting predominantly of meditation and reflection, with no verbal communication allowed during the course. It is not a five-star luxury accommodation and spa with treatments and fine dining like many other retreats, but rather a stay within the grounds with simple provided vegetarian meals during the 10-day course. The courses are solely run on a donation basis, and therefore no costs are involved partaking in this wellness retreat.
Location: Brandwacht Farm, Worcester
Contact: 023 004 0147
CAPE TOWN RETREATS
Only a 90 minute drive from Cape Town will bring you to the beautiful Cape Town Retreats local centre. The new venture is under the management of Annie Wyatt, a Cape Town based detoxing specialist and yoga teacher. The retreat focuses on cleansing practices through juice fasting and light daily activities that promise to enhance your overall wellbeing. These include morning yoga classes, beginner and advanced Pilates sessions to strengthen and support the physical changes, as well as daily walks.
In addition to Cape Town Retreats, Annie has also recently launched Namaste Retreats India in partnership with Veechi Shahi, to be held in Gokarna, in the Southern region of India and in Rishikesh up North near the Himalayas. Veechi is a Transformational Life and Wellness Coach based in Mumbai. Their respective cultural backgrounds, skills and professional experience complement each other to offer retreat travellers the best of both world.
Location: Guinevere Guest Farm, Portion 1 of Farm 402, Main Road, Tulbagh
Contact: 084 297 5736
Enter Trogon House – an intimate wilderness wonderland, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. This untouched stretch of dense forest envelopes Trogon House in all its green glory. All you can see outside of the glass walls is an entanglement of vines, branches and brilliantly green leaves releasing streaks of sunshine and rainfall.
The lodge is comprised of a mere 5 suites, so the experience is guaranteed to be as peaceful and uninterrupted as possible. Stroll over wooden walkways above the dense forest and breathe in the deliciously fresh air produced by all the beautiful trees. The lodge has a restaurant, communal lounge, and elevated deck with a swimming pool and views over the dense, wild forest and valley. The forest spa is available at an extra cost,and accommodates only one couple at a time to ensure a truly relaxing experience. Kitted out with a sauna, fireplace, massage tables, a daybed and jacuzzi. Bubbly included too!
Location: Animal Alley, The Crags, Plettenberg Bay
Contact: 044 534 8191
Forget escaping the city – this spot in Johannesburg will transport you to the revamped homestead of Marie Antoinette. Drawing from French provincial inspiration, the boutique hotel boasts amazing attention to detail, beautiful architecture, and an awe-inspiring setting to de-stress and disconnect.
The whole venue just spills over with opulence and luxury, with numerous suites and private villas to choose from. Step away from your provincial French experience and into the Balinese-style outdoor spa. A bamboo-inspired forest available to guests, offering a range of signature Asian-inspired treatments and therapies sure to knead and manicure all of your problems away.
Location: 1 Alma Road, Morningside, Gallo Manor, Sandton
Contact: 011 808 7300
KARKLOOF SAFARI SPA
Sink into this luxurious bush experience renowned for being one of the best wellness retreats in the country. The landscape, buzzing with grazing game and wonderful wildlife, stretches across the rolling hills and mountainous setting of the KZN region.
The Safari Spa at Karkloof is exceptional and as a guest, you don’t need to book an appointment here. Simply stroll over the wooden boardwalks to the spa and pick from the enormous list of treatments on offer, all of which are included in the daily rate. Have a dip in one of their bubbling Roman baths or flotation pools while you wait for your therapist to call you, and enjoy your peaceful treatment amongst the trees. If massages and plunge pools aren’t your ideal stress-relievers – guided meditation, yoga classes and executive wellness classes are also on offer. Day trips are also available to those who are not staying at the lodge.
Location: Ottos Bluff Rd, Chase Valley, Pietermaritzburg
Contact: 033 569 1324
UMNGAZI RIVER BUNGALOWS AND SPA
Hidden in the foothills of the Transkei, far away from modern civilization, Umngazi River Bungalows sits at the meeting point between the Indian ocean and river, offering the most beautiful views of the Wild Coast and complete serenity.
The vast surrounding landscape encapsulates an outstretching ocean and rolling hills untouched by civilization. Go for a relaxing walk/jog along one of the trails on the hills overlooking the shoreline, or kayak to dunes and beaches that stretch over kilometres – you may even receive a visit from wild cows and animal life that share the space. The Umngazi River Spa has beautiful treatment rooms with wooden balconies that overlook the lagoon and sea. Enjoy a number of treatments on offer or a hydro bath in one of the little bungalows along the ridge, and finish off with a beautiful outdoor shower found along the wooden walkways. Finally, you can end the day on a sunset boat ride and trawl along the lagoon, kitted out with drinks and snacks – bliss!
Location: Mgazi, Port St Johns
Contact: 047 564 1115
SUMMERFIELDS RETREAT AND SPA
Feel at one with nature in this ultimate glamping experience. Summerfields exudes a raw and rustic feel, designed to truly immerse you in the basics of nature, without foregoing the luxury of five-star accommodation and service.
Situated amongst thick green bushveld beside the Sabie River, and orchards holding 100-acres of macadamia and litchi trees, Summerfields holds a truly magical presence. The tents are more like luxury canvassed lodges that include everything that you would find in a top hotel – only you feel as though you are living in the trees. In our opinion – these kinds of wellness retreats are far better than any high rise hotel in the city! The gorgeous Rose Spa can be accessed over wooden boardwalks, and with only two wooden walls on either side and a roof, you can marvel at the views and enjoy the sounds of the river while receiving your treatments.
Location: R536 Hazyview – Sabie Road Hazyview
Contact: 013 737 6500