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A couple's massage at The Hydro, Stellenbosch | Courtesy of The Hydro
A couple's massage at The Hydro, Stellenbosch | Courtesy of The Hydro
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The 11 Best Wellness Retreats in South Africa

Picture of Carina Claassens
Updated: 4 May 2017
Showcasing spas in the Cape, Stellenbosch, KwaZulu-Natal, Pretoria and Johannesburg, this selection is designed with relaxation in mind, and offers resorts perfect for connecting with nature, clearing your mind and escaping city life.

Babylonstoren

The Garden Spa at Babylonstoren in Western Cape is set within a bamboo forest and offers an assortment of treatments, from facials and massages, to ancient cleansing rituals. Some treatment rooms are housed within a pavilion made of bamboo, which features a hammam, chill room and a gym.

The wall-to-floor marble in the spa has a calming effect | Courtesy of Babylonstoren
The wall-to-floor marble in the spa has a calming effect | Courtesy of Babylonstoren

Brookdale Health Hydro

Brookdale Health Hydro in KwaZulu-Natal combines all the soothing elements of nature to ensure a relaxing time. They have different relaxation lounges and outdoor areas, and the retreat options include everything from accommodation in the scenic countryside, to daily yoga and Pilates classes.

The indoor pool is often used for aquacise classes | Courtesy of Brookdale Health Hydro
The indoor pool is often used for aquacise classes | Courtesy of Brookdale Health Hydro

Fairlawns Boutique Hotel and Spa

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 breathtaking. The spa features a heated plunge pool, a spa bath, Chinese daybeds and pod swing chairs, as well as steam rooms and a sauna.

The manicure and pedicure lounge at Fairlawns is the ultimate treat | Courtesy of Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa
The manicure and pedicure lounge at Fairlawns is the ultimate treat | Courtesy of Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa

Karkloof Safari Spa

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.

The eco design incorporates natural materials, with thatch and living roofs, which invite game to graze as you relax | Courtesy of Karkloof Spa
The eco design incorporates natural materials, with thatch and living roofs, which invite game to graze as you relax | Courtesy of Karkloof Spa

Kievits Kroon

Kievits Kroon is a country estate just 10 minutes from Pretoria and 45 minutes from Johannesburg. Its Cape Dutch-style architecture gives rise to the nickname ‘the Winelands in Gauteng’, and the estate offers pampering and luxury for those looking for a romantic weekend or mid-week getaway.

The spa has one of the most advanced thermal treatment facilities in Gauteng | Courtesy of Kievits Kroon
The spa has one of the most advanced thermal treatment facilities in Gauteng | Courtesy of Kievits Kroon

Lakeside Lodge & Spa

This five-star lodge is situated in the beautiful Wilderness National Park, on Swartvlei Lake, making it the ideal spot to clear your thoughts and take a breather. The spa has nine suites and is accompanied by the Benguela Brasserie Bistro and a private jetty, ensuring ultimate relaxation.

Benguela Brasserie & Restaurant is popular for its imaginative and varied menu | Courtesy of Lakeside Lodge & Spa
Benguela Brasserie & Restaurant is popular for its imaginative and varied menu | Courtesy of Lakeside Lodge & Spa

St Francis Health Centre

The St Francis Health Centre in Eastern Cape specialises in stress relief, weight control and natural healing and offers 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.

A stay of at least six days is recommended, to ensure ultimate relaxation | Courtesy of St Francis Health Centre
A stay of at least six days is recommended, to ensure ultimate relaxation | Courtesy of St Francis Health Centre

Temenos Retreat

The lush gardens at Temenos in Western Cape offer a haven for those in need of a break, and there are many other spaces at the retreat ideal for meditation or quiet reflection. Guests can enjoy a daily yoga class, meditation sessions or early morning walks, plus there’s the option to retreat in solitude, if so desired.

Temenos also offers daily silent meditation sessions | Courtesy of Temenos Retreat
Temenos also offers daily silent meditation sessions | Courtesy of Temenos Retreat

The Hydro

Set high in the picturesque Idas Valley on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, visitors can expect beautiful vistas in every direction. Whether focusing on health, or if you simply want to escape the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, The Hydro offers detoxification therapies, as well as all the usual spa treatments.

Founded in 1972, this natural health destination offers over four decades of expertise and care in wellbeing | Courtesy of The Hydro
Founded in 1972, this natural health destination offers over four decades of expertise and care in wellbeing | Courtesy of The Hydro

The Oyster Box Hotel Spa

The Spa at The Oyster Box Hotel in Durban is set in private, tropical gardens complete with monkeys, exotic birds and colourful flowers. It offers a unique range of body care products and treatments, prepared by blending native African plant extracts, the natural goodness of the sea and eco-friendly production technologies.

Try the traditional Oriental heat experience | Courtesy of The Oyster Box Spa
Try the traditional Oriental heat experience | Courtesy of The Oyster Box Spa

Wedgeview Country House & Spa

Wedgeview Country House & Spa is located just outside the picturesque and historic town of Stellenbosch, where the indulgence of a five-star hotel is combined with the exclusivity of a private country residence. Pamper yourself with their amazing therapeutic essential oils and natural plant extracts, used in the locally produced TheraVine products.

View of the Stellenbosch Mountains, from the vineyards surrounding WedgeView Country House & Spa | ©John Hickey-Fry/Flickr
View of the Stellenbosch Mountains, from the vineyards surrounding WedgeView Country House & Spa | ©John Hickey-Fry/Flickr