A wild way to relax

After a long day's giraffe-spotting, there's no better way to unwind than with a 'spafari', says Aoife O'Riordain

"Spafari" - what will the travel industry think of next? Across South Africa spas offer everything from treatments using traditional African plants and herbs to Merlot baths in the famous Winelands. However, one of the latest trends is the "spafari". An ever-increasing number of luxurious safari lodges offer superior spa facilities and treatments so that guests can spend the hours between morning and evening games drives relaxing by the pool and being pummelled and massaged deep in the African bush.

"Spafari" - what will the travel industry think of next? Across South Africa spas offer everything from treatments using traditional African plants and herbs to Merlot baths in the famous Winelands. However, one of the latest trends is the "spafari". An ever-increasing number of luxurious safari lodges offer superior spa facilities and treatments so that guests can spend the hours between morning and evening games drives relaxing by the pool and being pummelled and massaged deep in the African bush.

Starting with one of the gateways to the South African bush, however, Cape Town's Cape Grace hotel (00 27 21 410 7100; www.capegrace.com) has a wonderful location on the city's Waterfront. The Spa at Cape Grace, which opened late last year, is situated on the top floor of the hotel and has spectacular views of Table Mountain, Cape Town and the marina below.

The place takes its inspiration from the spice routes - Cape Town was a port of call for ships sailing between Europe and Asia from the 15th century. Treatments at the spa incorporate African herbs and spices. The "African Face and Body", for example, combines a full poppy seed and aloe vera exfoliation with a massage using Xhosa beads. Double rooms start from SAR2,700 (£240) with breakfast, based on two sharing.

Forty-five minutes drive from Cape Town in the Wineland's is one of South Africa's most novel spas. The Winelands Hotel and Wellness Centre (00 27 21 875 8200; www.santewellness.co.za) is located in the Drakestein Valley near Paarl. It claims to be the only property outside France offering treatments utilising the antioxidant and detoxing powers attributed to grapes.

When not sampling the wine of the many vineyards of the surrounding areas of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschoek, guests can enjoy Shiraz Body Wraps or Cabernet Sauvignon wine-casket baths at the purpose-built Sante Spa and Wellness centre in the middle of the hotel's working wine estate. As well as offering a hydrotherapy bath, steam rooms and swimming pool, and Vichy water spa, the centre also offers guests the chance to participate in t'ai chi, yoga and pilates classes. Double rooms start from SAR2,200 (£200) with breakfast. Two-day Vinotherapy packages start at SAR2,145 (£180) per person.

The Cybele Forest Lodge and Spa (00 27 13 764 9500; www.cybele.co.za) is a small hunting lodge set in woodland and meadows near Hazyview, just 65km from the Kruger National Park. Cybele's romantic location and small size (it sleeps 28) is definitely a draw, but so is the spa. This is tucked into the forest and offers a range of holistic and beauty treatments. Double rooms start from SAR1,100 (£100) per person. Or, Far Side Africa (0131-315 2464; www.farsideafrica.com) offers a six-night itinerary including two nights at Cybele and four nights at the Garonga Safari Camp in the Kruger National Park from £1,580 per person, based on two sharing. This includes return flights from London via Johannesburg to Nepspruit, accommodation with most meals, car hire and activities.

The Kruger National Park and surrounding areas offer some of the best opportunities to test the virtues of the spafari. Three-and-a-half hours from Johannesburg, in the heart of the Madikwe Game Reserve, is one of the most impressive: the Etali Safari Lodge (00 27 12 346 0124; www.etalisafari.co.za). Its eight lodges are set on their own patch of the bushveld with far-reaching views.

As well as daily game drives, bush walks and star-gazing, Etali also has a modern "Wellness Centre", offering a range of treatments including reflexology and La Stone Therapy. And if they are still feeling energetic, guests can commune with nature in bush yoga sessions. Double rooms start from SAR2,750 (£252) per person, based on two sharing. Steppes Africa (01285 650 011; www.steppesafrica.co.uk) can arrange itineraries including a stay at Etali from £250 per person, based on two sharing. This includes accommodation, two game drives or walks, food and drinks.

The Big Five prowl the vast wilderness surrounding the Singita Lebombo Lodge (00 27 21 683 3424; www.singita.co.za) set deep in a reserve. The lodge has been owned by the Bailes family since 1925 and is believed to possess one of the highest concentrations of wildlife within the Kruger.

Double rooms start from SAR6,800 (£600) per person, based on two sharing. Roxton Bailey Robinson Worldwide (01488 689 700; www.rbrww.com) offers three nights at Singita Lebombo from £2,199 per person, based on two people sharing. This includes Federalair flights from Johannesburg to Singita, full-board accommodation, all drinks excluding champagne, all game activities and valet, laundry.

It's not uncommon to open your eyes mid-treatment at the bush spa at Tintswalo Safari Lodge (00 27 11 706 7207; www.tintswalo.com) and see a large bull elephant wandering past. This 16-bedroom lodge, surrounded by sycamore fig trees forms part of a private concession buried in the Manyeleti Reserve close to the border of the Kruger National Park. This is the place to go for classic African safari style: lodges and guestrooms with thatched roofs and mosquito-net swathed beds. During the day guests can join safari drives and walks and at night go star-gazing and devour gourmet meals. Double rooms start from SAR4,000 (£354) per person, based on two sharing. Tim Best Travel (020-7591 0300; www.timbesttravel.com) can arrange a five-night at Tintswalo for £2,785 including flights, transfers and select spa treatments.

The Sabi Sabi reserve is the location for Sir Richard Branson's Ulusaba, undoubtedly one of South Africa's most luxurious locations. You can combine game viewing with some serious pampering on a 66,000-hectare private game reserve on the edge of the greater Kruger National Park.

One of Ulusaba's two lodges, Rock Lodge, perches 250m at the summit of a koppie (rocky hill) and has panoramic views of the Drankensberg Mountains. This is also home to the Aroma Boma Virgin Touch Spa. Treatments include the luxurious three-and-a-half-hour "Elephant Package" and "The Bushveld Back" - specially designed for aching post-walking safari muscles.

Guests can also join walking safaris and game drives or simply enjoy the spectacular view of the rolling African bush. Double rooms start from SAR7,000 (£685), including meals and drinks, two game drives per day and a daily walking safari. Call Virgin Limited Edition on 0800 716 919 or go to www.virgin.com/ulusaba.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam