7 Luxurious Destinations for African Health & Wellbeing

When we consider a safari, an African retreat for health and wellness is possibly one of our last considerations.

Safaris are traditionally more oriented towards adventure and excitement, days spent on game drives, walks and imbibing the spectacular surroundings of Africa’s diverse landscapes.

That isn’t to suggest that these activities can’t be relaxing in themselves or interspersed with aspects of quiet repose and indulgent pampering, but the greater distractions of your vacation will be more akin to adventurous exploits than luxuriant spa treatments.

There is, however, a way to enjoy Africa’s more iconic offering and humour your more indulgent side. We have collected together some of our favourite African wellness venues that combine the more conventional safari offerings with exceptional, world-class wellbeing treatments, activities and services. 

So whether you wish to take a little you time on your family vacation or to combine an African adventure with more mindful and health-oriented pursuits, continue reading to discover how, even on safari, you can still relax, unwind and rejuvenate.

African Retreat
Photo: @singita_

Zil Pasyon, Seychelles

The Seychelles is not renowned for its wide plains and Big 5 game drives, but its proximity to the African continent makes it the perfect pampering book-end to an otherwise intrepid safari experience.

Six hours from Kenya’s coastline, it is somewhat of a committed addition to your itinerary, but the vexation of a longer flight will simply melt away upon arrival at this exquisite African retreat.

Yoga Retreat Seychelles
Photo: @sixsenseszilpasyon

Golden beaches cascade into a turquoise ocean, nature whispers gently all around you and the facilities available at Zil Pasyon will have you drifting away on Cloud Nine before you can say ‘avocado skin masque’. A delicious menu of treatments is available in the two retreat spas, gently brushing the dust of the Mara from between your toes to completely rejuvenate for your return to reality. Wellbeing reaches far beyond naturally nourishing cosmetics at Zil Pasyon, with meditation, yoga and a wonderful ‘Mind Your Brain’ program available, to take the rejuvenation deep within, clearing the fog of the daily grind and returning you to reality vibrant and restored.

Finch Hattons, Kenya

Finch Hattons’ Chyulu African Retreat prides itself on being the largest bush spa in East Africa. Situated within Tsavo West National Park, 17 award-winning luxury suites seamlessly unite you with the untouched natural surroundings of Kenya’s Chyulu foothills. As one of our favourite of all African camps, Finch Hattons’ impeccable quality is enough to alleviate your tension in itself. 

African Retreat

Abundant game viewing and a host of cultural, adventurous and family-oriented experiences is more than enough to keep you entertained throughout an extended stay. But while your little tribe goes off on its eighth game drive, you may wish to explore the offerings of the wonderful Chyulu wellness spa.

Using African-made products containing natural botanicals, Chyulu spa is highly renowned for the exceptional quality of its offerings. A professional-standard gymnasium allows you to keep your fitness in check, and several massage suites will help you untie even the tightest of knots. 

For those inclined, a breathtaking yoga shala will have you saluting the African sun and melting into a savasana surrounded by the sounds of nature. 

One&Only Nyungwe House, Rwanda

The prime reason – or should that be ‘primate reason? – for visiting Nyungwe House is to explore Rwanda’s the national park for which it is named in search of the resident chimpanzee and monkey colonies. The thick foliage of the Nyungwe rainforest, one of the oldest in Africa, provides the perfect home for thirteen different species of primate, from tiny bush babies to the large chimps and baboons of the region.

While chimpanzee trekking is reward all of its own and one that is simply unparalleled, it can be quite taxing. The trails of Nyungwe are rugged and extensive, and the pursuit of chimpanzees and other wildlife can involve a full day of hiking.

Fortunately, Nyungwe House offers one of Africa’s finest wellness spas. Designed by eco-friendly skin & body care brand Africology, the menu of treatments rivals any more conveniently located spa. Traditional African holistic techniques are combined with contemporary natural skincare innovations to create the perfect bespoke treatment.

African Retreat
Photo: One&Only Nyungwe House

Body scrubs and deep, therapeutic wellness massages will revive tired limbs from even the most gruelling of chimp treks and the wind through the enveloping tea plantation will help you drift away in absolute bliss.

&Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia

The Himba tribespeople of Namibia are renowned for their spectacularly radiant skin, attributed to the otjize paste they apply daily. Though thought more to act as a bug repellent and sunscreen, the Himba women also consider it a beauty practice.

While the muddy blend of butterfat and ochre may not be an appealing wellness treatment, Sossusvlei Desert Lodge provides many more desirable services.

African Retreat
Photo: @andbeyondsossusvlei

The stunning and pervasive tranquility of the Sossusvlei is a waking meditation in itself, but Desert Lodge’s wellness spa takes relaxation to exquisite levels. An intimate gym gives you the opportunity to exercise in awe of expansive desert views, will the spa’s expansive window bathes you in natural light as you sink into expert treatments and therapies for the entire body. 

Though otjize may not be on the menu, natural shea butter and many more organic ingredients and botanicals are used across a wide range of wellness therapies for body and mind.

Mfuwe Lodge, Zambia

Simply being in the presence of elephant brings one to a blissful state of mindfulness and peace, and at Mfuwe Lodge, the resident herd are frequently guests of honour on the grounds.

Mfuwe is a wonderful destination for a wellness safari. Set within South Luangwa National Park, Mfuwe Lodge is the central hub in a series of intimate bushcamps scattered throughout the park. Whether you are staying at the lodge or popping in for the day from your camp on the periphery, the Bush Spa will entice you with the wonderful aromas of their natural products and keep you captivated as you indulge in your treatment from a private balcony overlooking the park.

Reflexology, body wraps, massages and a comprehensive collection of wellness treatments are offered, and from such an impressive vantage point, you can quite literally combine the indulgence of the spa with a game-viewing safari experience. 

Delaire Graff Estate, South Africa

Bush spas, especially those we have shared above, can be wonderfully pampering and welcomingly revitalising, but absolute indulgence requires a touch more luxury.

Resting gracefully on the rolling landscapes South Africa’s Cape Winelands, Delaire Graff Estate feels like a decadent luxury spa before you even enter the treatment rooms. The clean lines of its contemporary architecture magnify the majesty of the landscapes and the locally-sourced organic cuisine begins your wellness journey from the inside. Award-winning chefs prepare exquisite dishes that indulge the senses and nourish the cells.

Designed to stimulate mind, body and soul, an Afro-Asian-inspired spa menu comprises a range of luxurious skin treatments, massages, body therapies and wellbeing journeys, all delivered by expert therapists. Wellness offerings include single therapies from massage to manicure, but for absolute pampering, a full-day wellness journey is also available, comprising a three-course luncheon, unlimited use of spa facilities and four decadent hours of the wellness treatments of your choosing.

Arijiju, Kenya

The architecturally-unique Arijiju combines all the offerings one might expect of an African safari with a full complement of health and wellness experiences. Set on 97,000 hectares of prime conservation reserve, the region is home to the BIg Five of African game, and provides sanctuary for a diverse range of native fauna.

Poised upon the hillsides of the Kenyan highlands of Laikipia, Arijiju is a spectacular property, crafted from rough-hewn rocks, its cool, sumptuous interior impeccably furnished for your absolute comfort. Horse rides, game drives, helicopter tours and much more are provided for your safari cravings, but Arijiju also prides itself on its wellness practices. A complete gymnasium is provided exclusively for guests, yoga classes can be taken upon request, and a consummate collection of therapies is also available.

Arijiju Credit Crookes Jackson

Arijiju takes wellness and the African Retreat concept one step further, its own organic garden providing nutritionally-balanced, deeply nourishing cuisine at every meal. Expert chefs create mouthwatering dishes so delicious that you could not imagine they are also superbly healthy and beneficial.

Each of our seven wellness experiences offers its own nuanced interpretation of a wellness safari, but Arijiju has been crafted specifically with that intention, bringing an unmitigated wellness retreat into the African bush without compromising either.

Whatever one wishes of an African Retreat, every vacation warrants a little bit of pampering. The only question for you must ask is just how much pampering do you want?

Relaxing experiences don’t only have to take place in the spa, and our Travel Designers can help you discover the perfect balance of adventure and indulgence on your next journey… wherever it may take you.

Header image: One&Only Nyungwe House