Have you ever thought of Africa as a destination for wellness travel? Perhaps not. The African continent is a relatively new addition to the fast-growing worldwide wellness travel map. And yet, it’s happening. And I, being a keen advocate for holistic living, am welcoming this shift towards – clients wanting, and lodges offering – a more mindful and slow safari itinerary.
People often comment on that ‘sense of coming home’ when they first arrive on African soil. It’s where we humans first walked after all. That ancestral draw is there, and for me is possibly what makes Africa unique as a place for healing and reconnection. Ancient traditions and wisdom are still inherent to the locals, especially in the remote communities, where they’re closely connected to their land. I’ve found if you slow down enough to connect with them, they will share some of this wisdom with you.
Slowing down and reconnecting with nature’s rhythms… It’s a lovely alternative safari to racing around ticking off the Big Five. Going on safari has been a form of retreat for me for nearly thirty years. I can now see that wildlife drives and nature walks have always been a form of meditation. Being present. Nothing slows you down quicker than watching a herd of elephants playing at a watering hole, or sitting quietly as sleeping lions wake at sunset. Let’s add in yoga and meditation at sunrise, massages with locally made organic products, freshly picked exotic fruits, and a guide who can help open you up to – and magnify – the experiences even more. Now we’re talking!
Well, my – and maybe your – wish has been granted. Last year Segera, in northern Kenya, ran their first ‘Sacred Safari’: a week of powerful healing in the wilderness. Alongside wildlife safaris, they offer crystal sound baths, yoga sessions, meditation classes, and spa treatments in their organic spa. Segera, with its 50,000 acres of pristine wilderness, is the perfect playground to reconnect with nature, and yourself. I’ve always found, especially when travelling, that watching the sun rise and set is one of the best ways to regulate my circadian rhythm, or natural body clock. I reckon a night sleeping out under the clear African sky here and waking up to sunrise over Mt Kenya would tick that box nicely.
For those who prefer to be closer to the ocean, there are yoga weeks running at the beautiful, family-owned Kinondo Kwetu beach retreat on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast. And, for those who connect best with nature when they’re in the ocean. I can highly recommend a SURFari with Escape & Explore’s Nikita Robb, eight times South African Female Surf Champion. Physically and mentally strengthening, these itineraries connect adventurous travellers with their natural environment and inner child. Sparkling eyes, ear-to-ear smiles, and an overflowing sense of inner peace and pure joy. That to me is what wellness travel is all about. Rise up Africa, come take your well-earned place on the holistic travel map.
Experienced Africa travel consultant and fan of all things well-being, Sally Kirby writes for a number of travel-orientated outlets, and blogs at The Teal Journal.