Image above taken by client Gary Harwyn
As we all know, life is a journey. And throughout all of our journeys, there are ups and downs that take us from one chapter of our lives to the next. But when we experience down times in our lives, we often go through major stress, anxiety, and even sadness and chronic physical pain. Some events in our lives are more powerful than others in negatively affecting our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. So when these events occur, it’s important to find relief and get your life back on track.
For some of us, relief comes in the form of exercise, yoga, enjoying a glass of wine (or two!), talk therapy, meditation, or hanging out with friends and family. But one of the most powerful forms of therapy is taking a much-needed vacation or getaway. And not just any trip, a trip to a place where you can clear your mind and unplug from technology and the hustle and bustle of daily life and connect with nature and yourself. Arguably, the best place on planet earth to do this is in Africa. Trust me, I know! I always return from my trips to Africa feeling completely rejuvenated and with a new outlook on life. It’s amazing how powerful Africa can be in transforming your life. Every time I go I learn something new about myself and always feel refreshed when I come home.
Some of my favorite ways to reduce stress and find clarity whilst in Africa include:
Enjoying spa treatments in South Africa: From lavish day spas in Cape Town to nature-inspired spas in the African bush, visitors on a trip to South Africa can experience world-class wellness treatments in a variety of different settings.
One of my favorite spas in South Africa has to be The Spa at Tswalu Kalahari. Offering a variety of specialty treatments, including the signature Tswalu touch experience, aromatic candle massage, and hot stone massage—just to name a few—The Spa at Tswalu Kalahari brings guests into a state of complete relaxation among nature. The signature Tswalu touch experience, for example, immerses guests into deep relaxation while rejuvenating and cleansing the skin. Specifically, guests can choose between a natural red dune sand or desert crystal exfoliation before they receive a Kalahari stone massage fusion—unique to Tswalu Kalahari.
Staying at accommodations that are luxurious and remote: In my opinion, nature is one of the most powerful forms of therapy for the mind, body, and soul. And since Africa is one of the world’s last natural frontiers, it’s no wonder that travelers from around the world flock to witness the serenity of Africa’s vast wildernesses.
There are dozens of exceptional accommodations to stay within southern and eastern Africa that are remote and boutique in size. This ensures that guests experience little interaction with other tourists and can simply enjoy being at peace with nature. The remote properties are almost always set up around watering holes, as well, so that guests can enjoy a cocktail or cup of tea on their private veranda as they overlook a wildlife-clad watering hole.
Volunteering: Sometimes the key to overcoming our own struggles in life is to give back to others. There is a sense of fulfillment and joy that comes with helping others who are also struggling. It can be so easy to get caught up in our own mind with our own issues, but when we have the ability to help others find joy in their lives and overcome their personal obstacles, we suddenly forget about our own for a while.
There are literally hundreds of different volunteer opportunities to take part in whilst in Africa. Some of these opportunities include helping to build a house for a family in need with Habitat for Humanity, offering assistance to a wildlife conservation program, offering your time to teach arts and crafts for a few days at a local school or orphanage, assisting Uthando’s Green Pop organization with planting trees, volunteering as a medical assistant at a village clinic—the list literally goes on and on.
Horseback riding: There is something about horseback riding that I find so calming and revitalizing—perhaps it’s the feeling of the gentle sway of the horse as it walks or the beautiful sounds of nature all around. There is no game vehicle engine obscuring the soft sounds of wildlife—just pure wilderness all around.
Kristin Keun, African safari guide who also accompanies guests on horseback safaris, describes the experience of a horseback safari as such: “Horses often relax in the vicinity of wildlife, interacting through their body language, scent, and sounds. We are the tourists here, the visitors, and we learn from the wildlife and horses’ instincts and behaviors.” (Read our full interview with him here.)
Canoeing down the Mana Pools Canoe Trail: Imagine traveling down a calm river, surrounded by untouched landscapes as far as the eye can see, where the only inhabitants are animals, and where a sense of calm and excitement simultaneously find a place within your mind, body, and soul. This is on Mana Pools Canoe Trail in Zimbabwe, and it’s one of the most captivating and calming destinations on earth.
Visitors interested in seeking a connection with nature and who enjoy being on the water will find endless benefits from this 4-day journey through Mana Pools.
During this trip, guests experience up-close encounters with the wildlife of Zimbabwe, without the constraints of fences, game vehicles, and other restrictive barriers. In fact, the Mana Pools Canoe Trail is globally recognized for its ability to bring guests into the closest possible proximity to wildlife, without compromising safety.