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Wellness Travel in the Wilderness

1 Jul 2020 | By Author Thornybush | Experiences

Paracelsus, the 16th-century physician, wrote: “The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician”. According to the “2020 Top Wellness Travel Trends”, South Africa is one of the up and coming wellness destinations in the world, leading the innovation behind health and wellness tourism. It’s no surprise to us here at Thornybush, that the transformative experience one feels on safari is where you’ll discover how the wilderness awakens your own true nature. 


Why Wellness Travel in South Africa?

South Africa’s riches don’t just stop at its natural wonders, wildlife diversity and awe-inspiring landscapes, it also offers one-of-a-kind settings for travellers looking to indulge in a holistic wellness experience. The concept of mixing your wellness with a wilderness experience is fast becoming an appeal to tourists who are looking for a more authentic connection with the wild.  

What a wellness safari aims to do is nourish and heal the mind, body and soul. As nurturing mental wellness is ranking higher and higher on travellers’ lists, so is the motivation to combine a retreat time-out into a safari escape. 


Transformative effects of a wellness safari: 

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety
  2. Rejuvenates the body and mind
  3. Promotes rest and relaxation 
  4. Allows you to disconnect from urban life
  5. Renews the spirit


Bush spas are forming an essential part of the luxury game lodge experience. Through the unique concept of combining an immersive safari adventure with that of pampering treatments, allows health-minded visitors to discover nature’s healing properties in a holistic approach.  


A Wellness Safari 

When looking at what a wellness safari entails, the magic is in the personalization. Being able to pick and choose your own wellness treatments and when you’d like them, ensures your wellness journey is on your own terms. Where there are the some-what “obligatory” activities such as captivating game drives, sipping on sundowners and enchanting boma dinners, the wellness aspect of your stay is customized to your agenda. 


To be able to fall in line with nature’s rhythm and find your inner-self is an integral part of exploring a wellness safari. At Thornybush, our aim is to bring balance to your well-being and instil a gentle glow into your days. There is no better place to remember your own true nature than in the middle of the wilderness. From this place of deep awareness your connectivity to nature plays a role in healing the planet. 


Thornybush Wellness Experience

Our Spas

Here at Thornybush we have two lodges that host wellness spas as part of their safari offering:

Both spas’ foundations are set on promoting holistic health through the use of the finest eco-friendly and natural products which are inspired by South African indigenous plants that harness restorative powers. 


Whilst nothing beats a pamper session in the wild African bush, we can guarantee that ‘roughing’ it has never felt so decadent. 


Our Lodge Experience

But it’s not just wellness treatments that aid in the vitality of your stay. Each of our lodges allows you to fall into the rhythm of nature. Here you’ll feel yourself succumb to the regenerative powers of nature. Aided by the combination of deep rest and the excitement of coming face-to-face with Africa’s iconic wildlife, is a sure way to reboot your mind, body and soul. 

Take heed of the African bush scents on your morning game drive, the iconic night sounds of the wilderness that become eerily comforting and the fresh morning wind on your face which is, in itself, a wellness treatment. 


Our Culinary Creations

With inner peace comes a well fed soul, that’s why our meals are prepared farm-to-table. Most of our produce is sourced locally from community farms, whilst our chefs do their very best to use organic ingredients where possible, and of the finest quality, so you can expect healthy and delicious meal-time satisfaction.


Our Hospitality

Our warm African hospitality also plays its part in being able to completely switch off from the world you’ve departed. Sit back and enjoy the exemplary service of our Thornybush team as they take care of your every whim. Being able to bring you back to your wellness balance is one of the powerful aspects in a Thornybush experience, as we encourage you at all times to reconnect. Whether it’s to your new found appetite (for the African bush) or inner peace. 


Wellness from Nature 

As much as Africa boasts about the atmosphere in creating the perfect wellness escape, so too does its natural surroundings. 

The Thornybush Nature Reserve is also home to a host of medicinal plants, where for centuries the original habitants used this vegetation for its healing powers. Still today, as you take a walk around the Thornybush lodge properties (guided by one of our knowledgeable team members), you’ll be able to learn about the plants around you and their healing powers. 


Be on the lookout for the Krantz Aloe, which is commercially used to treat burns and wounds, the Bushman Poison Bulb, which ironically isn’t poison at all but is used for dressing burns and wounds and the Sausage tree, where it’s fruit does all the healing, notably used in cosmetics and lotions. 


They say that when people go on safari, they feel instantly more grounded and this rings true no more than ever before, as the ground itself holds holistic properties. The exceptional spa treatments probably play their part, too. 


If you are seeking to travel and want to ensure your renewed spirit remains rejuvenated well after your trip is over, then this is the type of experience you should incorporate into your safari itinerary. Where before you may have returned home and lost the feeling of the wilderness peace, by taking part in some wellness activities during your stay, you’re equipping yourself with the mindful shift to ensure that peace remains long after you’ve left. 



Indulge in a Thornybush treatment from home 

To get a sense of grounding and to come back into your body, from the comforts of your own home, try our pampering Body Glow treatment below. 


The Thornybush Body Glow Recipe courtesy of Mandy Trollip from Amani Spas


What you’ll need: 

o Brown Sugar (3 TBS)

o Coconut oil or Olive oil (1TBS) Keep an extra bit aside for your after shower body moisturising treatment. 

o Honey (1TBS)

o Use 3 drops of lavender or your favourite essential oil (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl to form a well-blended paste. 



It is best to do this standing in the shower so you can really immerse yourself in the treatment. 

  • Turn the tap on in the shower and allow it to get hot and steamy.
  • Turn the water temperature down a little and wash your hair to prep it for later in the
  • treatment.
  • Turn the water off.
  • Apply the paste to the entire body, start at the top of your body, from the neck and
  • shoulders, working all the way down to your toes. Paying special attention to the driest areas, normally the hands, elbows and feet.
  • Use very gentle circular movements over each area until the sugar has dissolved and then move to the next area, reapplying a little product to each area as you go.
  • Turn the warm water back on and rinse your body completely. Don’t use soap, just allow the hot water to remove the residue product.
  • Once you are out of the shower, dry your skin thoroughly and wrap your hair in a dry towel to absorb the water.
  • Cocoon your entire body with a generous layer of coconut oil.
  • Wrap yourself in a warm gown
  • Use about a tablespoon of coconut oil (depending on the length of your hair) and massage it into your hair and scalp. Comb through and allow the coconut oil to reach the very ends of your hair. 
  • Wrap your hair in a warm towel.
  • Find a quiet, peaceful spot and relax for at least a half hour to allow the rich coconut oil to nourish your skin and hair.
  • You can either leave the coconut oil on your hair for a couple of hours or you can wash it out with shampoo and dry as normal.

Your skin and hair will be left nourished and soft and silky.


Treatment Travel Tip: The African bush can get quite dry in the winter months so this treatment is a great addition to bring along with you when travelling. Pop the mixture in a well-sealed jar and keep that body glow going.