Game drives, bush walks, tracking, paddling in the pool and the general dawn-to-dusk nature of safari can sometimes leave you a bit winded. That’s why for those who enjoy some indulgence while on holiday, we recommend a stay at a property with a spa. Not all spas are created equally, and while we think a massage on the banks of the Zambezi is every bit as amazing as one in a plush environment, to narrow down the best we’re concentrating on full-service spas that are renowned for their facilities, services and experiences. Read on to find out which of Africa’s amazing spas made our exclusive list.
The awards for our top city spas go to South African properties – the Cape Grace in Cape Town and the Saxon in Johannesburg.
- The spa at the Cape Grace is truly full service and includes a fitness studio, a serene relaxation area and a full range of services. We particularly love the customized Kalahari massage, using products made from sustainable indigenous plants and natural resources.
- If the surroundings (including water features and a cozy fireplace) at The Saxon Spa don’t ease you into relaxation, their treatments surely will. There’s something for everyone, including thoughtful treatments for couples, but we like that they also cater to men! For the guys, we recommend their ‘Men’s Executive Package,’ which includes a facial, a deep tissue massage and a hot towel shave.
These spas aren’t out in the bush, but they’re not in the heart of a city, either. These are places to unwind a bit further in an already restful environment.
- Grootbos Private Nature Reserve on South Africa’s coast is a great place to hike, enjoy land-based whale watching, go horseback riding and more. We also love the wine cellar and the food! But the spa treatments are a true indulgence. The Reserve crafts beauty products from plants found around the property. Treatments can take place in your open, airy suite, in one of two beauty centers, or in the middle of the forest, truly integrating nature and wellness. We opt for outside every time.
- Nestled into a lush hillside in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Gibb’s Farm is a sanctuary for the senses. Breathtaking gardens, beautiful panoramic views, incredible freshly harvested food and a truly tranquil environment add up to a spot that you will never want to leave. The spa at Gibb’s provides the cherry on top of an already blissful experience. Your spa therapist will meet with you to craft bespoke treatments using local Maasai herbs and rituals for a holistic wellness experience. Our honeymooners can count on a complimentary couple’s massage and romantic dinner set up.
- Tucked away in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, Kasbah Tamadot is a retreat from the everyday. Its spa follows suit, offering a traditional Moroccan hammam cleansing ritual. A full body wash and exfoliation is performed with black soap. The treatment also includes a shampoo and conditioning treatment followed by a scalp massage. The treatment leaves you rejuvenated, while your mind and body will be totally relaxed. We recommend following the hammam with a full body massage!
These are extraordinary facilities found in wilderness environments – little oases in areas that are already an escape from the world.
- The spa at Tanzania’s Singita Grumeti aims to reconnect people with nature. The full range of treatments can be performed in the spa itself, out on a private deck overlooking the beautiful Serengeti plains or in the comfort of your suite. We recommend the signature Mwarobaini treatment. Mwarobaini is a medicinal Swahili tree whose bark, roots and leaves are used to treat more than 40 ailments. The team at Singita Grumeti have used Mwarobaini wood to craft massage ‘tools’ that they use to create pressure for easing tension and releasing pressure points, as well as gliding over the body for relaxation and stress relief.
- The Amani Spa at Mara Bushtops Camp in Kenya offers every treatment you would expect in a city spa as well as a range of hydrotherapy options – all far away from city lights and the bustle of crowds. They offer access to a sauna, steam room (featuring multi-sensory Arabian mud cleansing treatments), a whirlpool spa and a heated infinity pool – with beds inside the pool complete with water jets. There is also a cold plunge pool to take the edge off the heat. We dare you to try and find more ways to relax!
- The spa at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero in Botswana has a wide range of treatment options. We’re partial to the Indoceane Treatment Journey, which covers four continents of treatment expertise. It starts in the Mediterranean with a sweet and savory body scrub, then on to Egypt for a milk bath, followed by a body massage based on Ayurverdic principles and finishes in China with a sublime body wrap. It’s the ultimate indulgence! Ask us about stay/pay discounts at Sanctuary properties in Southern Africa.