The Best of South Africa’s Soulful Escapes and Wellness Retreats.

As I look to how busy the first three months of 2019 have been and consider all the adventures that the year will still hold, I’m aware that between it all I do need to break away to replenish energies and nurture my health. But where does one go for that? These are the South African Soulful Escapes and Wellness Retreats that I recommend you start saving for, to tick off your bucket list.

To retreat is to take time out from the world, to cleanse and exercise the body and to quiet the mind and to come to rest in our essential nature.

If you can, look beyond to a retreat in India’s Rishikesh, which I was lucky enough to enjoy last year.

The Buddhist Retreat Ixopo

A calming setting with rolling green fields, forests, valleys and dams. The country’s longest-running Buddhist centre was established in 1980 and offers much more than just Buddhist-focused workshops. Weekend and week-long retreats range from drumming classes and tai chi workshops to art and creativity classes as well as yoga. Another big draw of the centre is its healthy and delicious vegetarian food, they have even published two cookbooks of favourite recipes. More information:

Temenos in McGregor

Housed in a restored 19th-century farmhouse in the quiet country village of McGregor, retreats run throughout the year. Many of which focus on health such as detoxing and stress release, but also covering themes like creativity and cooking. They also have regular wellness weeks where you can enjoy country walks, do guided meditation sessions and yoga classes and get some pampering body treatments. More information –

Cape Town Retreats

Inviting you to reset your life, the Cape Town Retreats offer an opportunity to rest, recuperate and regenerate both your mind and your body. The retreats are designed to completely detoxify your body and your mind and to recharge your mental and physical health. The retreat home is a beautiful farmhouse in Tulbagh in the Western Cape near Cape Town and is surrounded by mountains and fresh air. To support the detoxification, the have daily hikes, yoga and breathing exercises, pilates and mediation. For more information:

The Emoyeni Retreat Centre

Situated high on the northern slopes of the beautiful Magaliesberg less than a two-hour drive from Johannesburg, is a haven of tranquillity from the fast pace of the city. Run on Buddhist principles, Emoyeni, which means “place of spirit” in Zulu, runs regular retreats, some that are conducted in silence. They range from two-day to week-long and include healthy cooking, Nia and “Stoep Zen” – a retreat about Zen practice and meditation. With no TV, silence after dinner and simple vegetarian meals, here it is all about disconnecting and getting back to basics. More information:

Pafuri Walking Trails

Should you prefer to take your retreat in the form of a digital detox out in nature, the three-night walking safari is for you. Working out of the private 24,000ha Makuleke Concession in the remote and Northern part of the Kruger National Park, this is where South Africa meets Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Each day you’ll spend 4-5 hours walking a distance of no more than 10 kilometres, with breaks and plenty of stops to look at tracks and find wildlife. It’s introspective and quiet and brings you up close and personal with nature. More information:

Headspace Meditation App

In the interim days when life carries on, mostly at a very rapid pace, there’s the option of an App called Headspace, which once downloaded offers a 10 – 15-minute meditation session that will simply ground the body and mind before starting each day. Referred to as ‘gym membership for the mind’, it will certainly train you to escape, regroup and breath, whatever the situation. I use this every day. Download it here:

** This post is a collaboration with Nedbank, opinions are my own. I highly recommend that you make saving for and booking an annual escape to relax and replenish, a priority. I do x.

** Property pics supplied.

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Dawn Bradnick Jorgensen
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