A ‘spa’ in Africa can mean anything from a therapist setting up a massage table on the deck of your tented bush suite for a treatment as antelope graze nearby and bulbuls sing in the acacia trees above you to a full-on series of steam rooms, Rasul mud treatments, hammams and other specialist wellness elements. This list is to show you the wide variety of ‘spas’ available in East and Southern Africa, from simple salas next to the water to extravagant rooms with mosaics, hydrotherapy and more.
Safari Spas in Botswana
- Elements of Africa – like traditional weaving and carving – are suffused throughout the Chobe Chilwero spa.
- Facilities include an elevated treetop treatment room, hydrotherapy, Vichy showers, an indoor spa bath and a plunge pool.
- African ingredients like marula and wild potato are found in the Africology range used while beneficial marine algae form the basis of the French Thalgo collection of products.
- Set in the very heart of the pristine Okavango Delta amid ilala palms, herds of red lechwe and watery channels banked by thick reeds.
- One of the most exclusive camps in Botswana.
- The Jao Spa is tucked away behind mature ebony trees and offers discreet treatments between safari activities like mokoro rides, sundowners and game drives.
Safari Spas in Kenya
- An eccentric private safari lodge on the Laikipia Plateau owned by the billionaire Wildenstein art-dealing family that in located on a private wildlife sanctuary and animal rescue centre.
- All rooms are individually decorated to reflect Africa, Asia and historical Europe with hand-crafted mosaics, stained-glass windows and murals.
- Gorgeous massage and steam rooms that take their inspiration from North Africa.
- Excellent location in the private Mara North Conservancy bordering the Masai Mara National Reserve, giving you the best of both worlds.
- Prime situation for the annual Great Wildebeest Migration that passes through at about mid-year.
- Massages, facials, manis and pedis all take place in classic safari style under canvas and thatch, and open to the passing parade of the Mara’s bird and animal life.
- Africa meets Arabia in the heart of Samburu National Park, a haven for some of Kenya’s more unusual species.
- An airy, laidback lodge spread out over a hill over several levels that gently slopes down to the life-giving Ewaso Nyiro River.
- ‘SpaSaab’ is centred on a reflection pool with a small fitness area to one side and a treatment space to the other, all overlooking the river and Samburu scrubland beyond.
- Enjoy yoga sessions under the thatched dome and soaring Moroccan-inspired arches.
Spas in Malawi
- ‘Kaya mawa’ means ‘maybe tomorrow’, which captures perfectly the lazy sense of having to do absolutely nothing at this lodge on Likoma Island in Lake Malawi.
- Voted one of the Top 10 Most Romantic Places in the World.
- Savour a full-body massage in one of the secluded ‘sea huts’ that are connected to the island by a swing bridge and lapped on all sides by the calm waters of Lake Malawi.
Spas in Mozambique
- Part of the beautiful Bazaruto Archipelago off the southern coast of Mozambique in the warm Indian Ocean.
- There are five treatment rooms as well as an ice-plunge pool, health bar for juices, smoothies and shakes, and a swimming pool overlooking the sea.
- Tropical ingredients like coconut, sea salt, fine Mozambican beach sand and ylang-ylang are incorporated into treatments.
- Try the intoga massage during which various wooden sticks are used to roll out knots and kinks.
- Charming beach lodge on the northern coast mainland just opposite the magical and historical Ilha da Mozambique, where Portuguese ruins date back to the 1700s.
- Relax with in-room massages and other treatments on the privacy of your suite’s spacious wooden deck, which overlooks the azure Indian Ocean.
- Therapists hail from the nearby village where water is still drawn from an old well and lime is still extracted from age-old kilns.
Safari Spas in Namibia
- Situated on a hilltop outside Windhoek, the quaint capital of Namibia.
- The GocheGanas Wellness Village has 11 treatment rooms and state-of-the-art amenities like a Vichy shower, crystal and hydrotherapy baths, Kneipp showers, a cave sauna and a heated indoor swimming pool under a vaulted stone ceiling that has a spectacular view over the peninsula.
- Natural spring water from GocheGanas Nature Reserve is heated by fire to fuel the cave sauna (also known as the granite bath) and Kneipp showers.
Mokuti Etosha Lodge
- Near Etosha National Park, Namibia’s premier conservation area.
- The thatched wellness area offers everything from outdoor massages (ideal after a bumpy game drive) to Jacuzzi sessions.
- Basalt river rocks are used during the Emanya stone massage while the Iikogo Clouds massage combines African and Asia into one sublime treatment.
- Omaanda is one of the country’s most luxurious lodges and it built entirely from natural materials to a design that takes inspiration from age-old Namibian building techniques.
- The two double treatment rooms are housed in the spa ‘hut’, which has a reed ceiling, adobe ochre walls, and immense wooden and brass artefacts.
- Try the Miracle Tree Divine Facial that uses moringa, an anti-aging multi-vitamin that is rich in zeatin.
Safari Spas in South Africa
- A working ‘farm’ in the Franschhoek Winelands outside Cape Town where the emphasis is on organic practices and garden-to-plate eating.
- The architecture effortlessly combines traditional Cape Dutch vernacular with high-tech glass and climate-control.
- The Garden Spa is hugged by a thriving bamboo forest and features a hammam, a chill room, a hot spa and a gym.
- The lavender, rosemary and lemon thyme used in treatments are picked fresh from the garden every day.
- One of the most luxurious and pampering boutique hotels in Africa, with spectacular views over the mountains and vineyards of Stellenbosch outside Cape Town.
- Part of the Graff diamond family fortune, it is no surprise that state-of-the-art techniques such as diamond-tipped micro-dermabresion are on the spa menu.
- Aromatherapy Associates of London and Swiss Perfection from Montreux in Switzerland supply special services.
- Rituals change seasonally: the winter ritual (to coincide with peak safari season) may include a Margaret Dabbs express pedi, a Knesko collagen eye mask and a hydrating pressure-point facial topped off with a signature wine tasting.
Karkloof Safari Spa
- Near the KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields and the famed KZN Midlands Meander, Karkloof combines multiple spa and wellness options in a private game reserve.
- There is a strong emphasis on Asian techniques and the therapists are mostly experienced Thai professionals.
- Karkloof’s facilities are extensive with an indoor swimming pool, a yoga pavilion, a boxing area and even a tea studio.
- Very exclusive boutique hotel in the Franschhoek wine valley outside Cape Town.
- Exceptional art and statuary dot the spa rooms and grounds, enhancing the view over the massive manicured garden and lily pond to the craggy mountains beyond.
- Special treatment menu for children aged six to 12.
- OPI, TheraNaka and Esse products used throughout.
Mount Nelson Hotel
- Arguably Cape Town’s oldest and most venerable hotel that has hosted the rich and famous since 1743.
- Lovely gardens, sun-splashed terraces and views of Table Mountain.
- The Librisa Spa has two couples’ rooms, a Finnish sauna, a plunge pool and conservatory for enjoying a cup of herbal tea after your treatment.
One&Only Cape Town
- Luxurious hotel in the heart of the V&A Waterfront with magnificent views of Table Mountain.
- A dedicated ‘spa island’ lies in a canal that flows into Table Bay Harbour and houses a yoga pavilion, a hair-dressing salon and multiple treatment rooms.
- Indulge in the vitality pools, aroma steam room and ‘experience showers’ for a strong focus on the healing powers of water.
- The spa menu changes seasonally to reflect new ingredients and different mind-and-body needs throughout the year.
Silver Forest Boutique Lodge & Spa
- Lying in the Helderberg mountains outside Cape Town, near to the famous Stellenbosch Winelands.
- Completely water-wise as only borehole and spring water sources are used.
- Full spa with a sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, Rasul, hydro-jet pool, pedicure-and-manicure beds and two couples’ rooms.
- Enjoy views over gorgeous False Bay onto the Atlantic Ocean after your treatment.
The Oyster Box
- Perfect stop-over in the semi-tropical seaside city of Durban before moving on the KZN Battlefields, Phinda Private Game Reserve or the superb diving destinations to the north of the province.
- The award-winning spa is secluded amid lush gardens that are home to songbirds and acrobatic vervet monkeys.
- The hammam is especially pretty while the plunge pool and ‘tranquillity lounge’ are also exquisite, with subtle hints of North Africa here and there.
- Arguably Johannesburg’s most discreet and luxurious hotel, which has hosted scores of celebrities and was the home of former president Nelson Mandela while he was writing his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.
- Only top products are used such as La Prairie and Caviar Hair, and there are separate manicure and pedicure lounges, as well as a ‘hair spa’ and a Rasul chamber.
- One of the few places where you can indulge in top-notch sound therapy.
The Twelve Apostles
- The hotel is an historic building that lies outside Cape Town in the foothills of the Twelve Apostles mountain range, which is part of Table Mountain National Park.
- Its terraces are among the best places to watch the city’s famously brilliant sunsets.
- The main spa swimming pool is fashioned as an ‘underwater cave’ while there are also outside rock pools for guests to enjoy.
- Head to one of the private glass chalets up a nature trail for transporting massage amid the indigenous fynbos of the Cape Floral Kingdom.
Safari Spas in Tanzania
- A historical working farm – with a piggery and a coffee plantation – near the very sought-after Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
- Following a personal consultation, the therapists will design a special series of treatments to soothe and revitalise that are all based on Maasai herbs and rituals.
- Ojingai involves heating a special mixture of indigenous herbs in muslin bags to induce relaxation while the ‘After Safari Relaxer’ provides a bliss out over early mornings and long days on the road.
- Local elements – like arabica coffee beans and olkaria red clay – are used as well as over 50 indigenous plant species.
Mnemba Island Lodge
- The only lodge on a completely private island adjacent to Zanzibar, the major Spice Island lying off the coast of Tanzania.
- Very laidback atmosphere with massages on the beach, private yoga sessions and in-room ‘gym in a bag’.
- Devoted to R&R, this barefoot luxury beach lodge emphasizes fresh seafood straight off the ngalawa, or traditional Zanzibari outriggers, that go out daily.
Safari Spas in Zambia
Royal Zambezi Lodge
- Regular winner on ‘World’s Best Spa’ awards’ lists on the banks of the mighty Zambezi, with the snorting of hippos and cries of African fish eagles in the air.
- Its minimalist design – simple white floors and drapes under a traditional thatched roof – allows the natural beauty of the surrounding bush to take centre stage.
- The age-old Zambian ukuchina massage technique is a speciality here.
- Royal Zambezi is the flagship for Dermologica in the region.
Sussi & Chuma
- Situated in Mosi-ao-Tunya National Park, close to Victoria Falls.
- Specialist guided walking safaris will let you get exercise, clear your head and be amid Zambia’s abundant flora.
- Treatments make use of traditional African plants like rooibos (red-bush tea), aloe ferox, marula fruit (used to make Amarula, a liqueur often enjoyed on safari) and wild African potato.
- Try the Imkovi Sloughing Process to get rid of dead skin cells using walnut shells or the Ukincha massage, a traditional Zambian treatment that sometimes involves two therapists working on you simultaneously to improve circulation and reduce stress.
Safari Spas in Zimbabwe
- Luxurious lodge in the large Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in southern Zimbabwe, with very few other visitors.
- Treatments take place overlooking the beautiful Malilangwe Dam or in the privacy of your designer room. Couples’ options are available.
- Ingredients used include baobab seeds (from the famous ‘upside-down trees’ that dot Zimbabwe) and omumbiri body butter.
- Try an aromatherapy session where African essential oils have been blended to evoke the fragrance of early morning dew on the savannah or the iconic smell of freshly crushed fynbos (heather and wild basil).