Stress, anxiety and uncertainty bubbled to the surface last year forcing us to rethink how we viewed the need for time away and vacations.
With health and wellness already on everyone’s minds, the tourism industry has started to take note.
At the Global Wellness Summit held last year, experts predicted a boom in the demand for wellness therapies and that they may even surpass medical treatments. “Wellness has become the cool kid on the block,” said Cecelia Girr, senior strategist at Backslash, the cultural intelligence unit.
With the pandemic waging on, wellness vacations, eco-tourism and healing holidays are on everyone’s minds.
The trend is proving to be big once more borders open up and people become comfortable with travelling again.
From yoga retreats in the mountains to entire packages consisting of meditation classes and consultations with ayurvedic doctors, tourism sectors across the globe and within South Africa are readying themselves to cater for an unprecedented demand for physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing packages.
Bliss & Stars
Where: Western Cape
Bliss & Stars is a beautiful wilderness retreat in the heart of the Cederberg, outside Clanwilliam. They opened their doors in December 2020 after the owners, Heine and Daria Rasmussen traded their fast-paced lives abroad for the bush.
Set on 1350 hectares of pristine mountainous land, bordered by the Doring and Brandewyn rivers, their sanctuary offers spectacular views and an absolute escape from city life.
“We envisioned a place where people could come to truly relax and reconnect with nature and themselves - a place for people to think and see clearly and possibly even reset towards a more wholesome and joyful life,” said Daria.
They have three signature retreat packages: Rest & Thrive, Self- Compassion Retreat and Silent Retreat. Each was designed with a different focus in mind but incorporates common elements such as guided meditation sessions, stargazing through telescopes, nutritious and delicious meals as well as an abundance of rest and relaxation in a peaceful and wholesome setting.
If you’re a lover of astronomy, one of the best experiences at Bliss & Stars becomes evident at night when the sky is ablaze with stars. Heine is a serious astronomer and takes guests on tours of galaxies, black holes, nebulae, and other wonders, making the universe accessible to newbie astronomers and working with experts from all internationally.
Brookdale Health Hydro
Set in Nottingham Road, an area surrounded by rolling hills, grazing livestock and hidden treasures to explore, Brookdale brings the soothing elements of nature together to restore the mind, body, and soul.
Drawing on your senses, their calming fragrances and soft music greet you, upon arrival, you’ll be enveloped by a soft, plush robe whilst you take a few moments to unwind in one of their lounges or outdoor relaxation areas. They have a variety of unique packages available to suit a variety of needs perfect for a journey to total relaxation.
Each one is all-inclusive, providing a set range of treatments including accommodation, meals, snacks, guided walks and meditation. However, you are free to book additional treatments and consultations during your stay.
A Brookdale consultant meets with each guest on arrival to ascertain their health, level of fitness, personal objectives and to advise on the most suitable treatments, exercise and diet.
Overall, your stay should feel like you have escaped into a way of life that reduces stress, enhances sleep, and fuels the mind and body for general wellbeing.
Summerfield Rose Retreat and Spa
From tented suites to forest rooms surrounded by trees, birdlife and natural beauty, surround yourself with nature while on a wellness retreat at Summerfields. Placing a major emphasis is on comfort, relaxation and romance, their ethos is to do anything that they can do to make your stay special.
Staff, from the front office and housekeeping to the kitchen, are formally trained to meet your every need. However, they still offer guests the privacy that’s so important, while always making sure that your stay at Summerfields is as worry-free and restful as it can be.
Accommodation, dining, the lux gardens, the spa and boma – everything is designed for your relaxation. Let the stress wash away to the sounds of the birds. The Spa is located by the river, just a short walk from the Tented Suites and River Café.
The spa is surrounded by bush-clad mountains on the banks of the Sabie River which affords glimpses of crocodiles and an abundance of hippos. Facilities include a steam room, Jacuzzi, swimming pool, Vichy shower, unisex change rooms and hydro walk along the banks of the Sabie giving meaning to the philosophy “Sanare per Aquam” which means ‘health through water’.
While you’re there venture out to Hazyview, where there are shops, restaurants and even a nursery and reptile park. And, of course, Kruger Park is also just a short drive away.
Oxford Healthcare Retreat
Hunched, heavy shoulders carrying the weight of your stress, stiff joints and energy levels that are at an all-time low - for most people, going through the motions of everyday life, this is their reality.
At Oxford Healthcare Retreat, they believe that managing our stress and taking care of ourselves is crucial to a healthy sense of self, maintaining satisfying relationships, embracing our lives and finding pleasure in what we do and who we are.
From their Stress Detox to Nourishing Overnight Experiences, they have 7 retreats on offer each boasting a range of specially designed treatments that were carefully curated. Their long stay packages offer a tranquil and caring environment to rest and recuperate.
All of the emotional and physical treatments will be designed and monitored by their professional team to support their guests’ particular healing needs.
Life coaching, floatation pools, an abundance of fresh air and sunshine - it all sounds too good to resist.