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Whether you’re looking for a spa hotel overlooking a Stellenbosch vineyard, luxury safari lodge or a detox retreat in KwaZulu-Natal, book one of these top South African wellness resorts.
Lush vineyards, rugged coastline and cosmopolitan Cape Town all spring to mind when you picture South Africa. Pair this with a top wellness resort, and you’ve got a truly relaxing holiday. Choose from a tranquil spa hotel, complete with mindfulness and yoga classes, or opt for a more active retreat, focused on hiking, golf and safari.
Rather than a spa attached to a hotel, Brookdale is an all-encompassing wellness retreat in KwaZulu-Natal. Choose between two-, three- and six-night escapes in the South African countryside. Each comes with guided walks, yoga and Pilates sessions, access to the pool and spa facilities, plus three wholesome meals per day. Add on Swedish massages, facials and more, depending on your budget.
The St Francis Health Centre in Eastern Cape specialises in stress relief, weight control and natural healing, offering a world-renowned detox programme. For those who want to focus solely on relaxation, the spa includes a range of different hydrotherapies, including steam baths, jet baths and swimming pools. Choose between a six- or ten-day package, which include massages, aromatherapy and reflexology sessions, plus daily aquarobic classes.
The Balinese-style spa at Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa in Johannesburg offers a wide range of therapies and signature Asian-inspired treatments, plus the gardens are worth a visit in themselves. The spa features a heated plunge pool, a spa bath, Chinese daybeds and pod swing chairs, as well as steam rooms and a sauna.
Karkloof Safari Spa in KwaZulu-Natal is world-renowned and features 17 treatment rooms, all with wonderful views of the bush and surrounding gardens. Facilities include a manicure and pedicure lounge, a flotation pool, therapy pools, an open-air jacuzzi, saunas, steam rooms and more. In addition, enjoy the personal butler service and private safari guides during your stay.
The lush gardens at Temenos in Western Cape offer a haven for those in need of a break. Enjoy daily yoga classes, meditation sessions or early morning walks. Choose between a Georgian suite (with its own private terrace and fireplace), garden cottage or a cottage near the meditative spiral garden, plus there is a hermitage suite for those embarking on a silent retreat. Workshops – from yoga to mindfulness – are regularly held here.
Kievits Kroon is a country estate, just 10 minutes from Pretoria and 45 minutes from Johannesburg. Its Cape Dutch-style architecture fits with its status as the only wine estate in Gauteng. The spa itself features mixed and female-only areas, plus advanced thermae facilities including a heated indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi, plunge pool and Swiss showers. Opt for a full-day package complete with three hours of spa treatments, including a fig and pomegranate full-body massage or clay wrap.
Located in the coastal town of Umhlanga, just 20 minutes outside of Durban, the Oyster Box is a quiet retreat from the city. It’s set in private, tropical gardens, complete with monkeys, exotic birds and colourful flowers. Dip into the plunge pool, work up a sweat in the fitness centre or indulge in a signature massage, involving crystal-infused oil for ultimate relaxation. Afterwards, tuck into sushi and rolled peach pavlova at the Ocean Terrace restaurant.
Wedgeview Country House & Spa is located just outside the picturesque town of Stellenbosch. Here, the five-star hotel experience is combined with the exclusivity of a private country residence. The 18 rooms range from deluxe rooms to courtyard suites with panoramic views across the vineyard. The garden spa is a real highlight here with its sauna, steam room and gym. All treatments use locally produced TheraVine products. Breakfast and lunch are served daily, whilst host Linda can prepare a braai on request for dinner.
Set high in the picturesque Idas Valley on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, the Hydro offers beautiful vistas in every direction. Mindfulness and organic, fresh produce grown on-site plays a central role in this wellness retreat. In fact, the food is so delicious that the hotel has its own recipe book. The three-day de-stress programme is especially popular, featuring a hydrotherapy session, Swedish massage, ozone therapy and cocoon body wrap. Book a shared room if you’re looking for a more affordable option.
Carl Pettit contributed additional reporting to this article.