Thanks to stunning scenery, relaxed settings, comfortable accommodations, and remote locations, Southern and East Africa have become popular destinations for travellers seeking a wellness safari. Serene savannas, exquisite coastlines, and lush forests provide the ideal backdrops for relaxation, meditation, and rejuvenation.
Several lodges have dedicated wellness programs and world-class facilities to help you unwind and reconnect with the natural world. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at 10 of the best lodges for a wellness safari in Southern and East Africa.
Southern Africa – Top 5 Best Wellness Safari Destinations
A renowned private game reserve situated in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa, Londolozi is celebrated for its luxurious accommodations, exceptional wildlife sightings, strong commitment to conservation, and comprehensive, tailored wellness experiences.
Londolozi’s Healing House Spa is set amidst the tranquil wilderness, offering a range of holistic treatments, massages, facials, and therapies inspired by African healing traditions.
In between pamperings, there’s yoga along the river or under ancient trees and guided meditation sessions to help you connect with nature in your search for inner peace.
Wellness at Londolozi extends to its culinary offerings. Delicious and nutritious meals are prepared using fresh, locally sourced ingredients that cater to dietary preferences and goals and form an essential part of the customized wellness experience.
Londolozi also occasionally hosts wellness retreats and workshops conducted by the world’s leading wellness experts, life coaches, wisdom keepers, and shamans. These experiential learning spaces accelerate rest, rejuvenation, and awakening on safari.
Deeply invested in conservation, Tswalu offers a true wilderness experience on the southernmost edge of the Kalahari in South Africa. The largest private protected area in the country, the ratio of guests to wilderness space here is one of the lowest available, ensuring privacy and exclusivity.
While Tswalu doesn’t market itself directly as a wellness destination, it boasts state-of-the-art spa and wellness facilities and a team of skilled spa therapists are on hand both during the day and in the evening to provide reviving face and body treatments.
Treatments are available at one of two treatment suites at the Motse or in Tarkuni’s private upstairs spa suite and include the use of two proudly South African eco-conscious product ranges, Katavi and Just Pure.
The gym at Motse is flooded with natural light and features air-conditioning, a Technogym apparatus, free weights, and a mat area for stretching, pilates, and yoga.
Wellness at Tswalu doesn’t end there, though – beyond day and night safari experiences, guests can look forward to immersive horseback safaris, stargazing, walking safaris, and farm-to-table dining that will suit a variety of dietary preferences.
Featuring just six spacious luxury safari tents and cross-river access to the game-rich South Luangwa National Park, Chinzombo is celebrated for its innovative design, architecture, and use of sustainable materials.
Situated on a bend in the river, guests can enjoy sweeping views of the wildlife, even while taking a long soak in the tub.
South Luangwa is widely considered the birthplace of the walking safari, so when you’re not cooling off in your private plunge pool or taking in the sun on your deck, experienced guides are waiting to treat you to the wonders of the bush you might’ve missed on the game drive or boat safari.
It’s a great way to reconnect with nature and unwind in the pristine wilderness, and every stay at Chinzombo comes with a complimentary foot massage after your adventure.
Speaking of massages, Chinzombo offers a range of them, as well as other therapeutic spa treatments which you can indulge in right inside your villa. These wellness offerings are perfect if you’re looking for some pampering set to the sounds of the Zambian bush.
Of course, you can also re-centre on your sumptuous villa’s deck, which has a dedicated riverfront yoga and exercise area. To top it all off, dining at Chinzombo features locally grown produce for maximum freshness and health benefits.
Situated deep in Namib, the world’s oldest living desert, Sossusvlei Desert Lodge offers a sublime combination of 5-star luxury and unparalleled levels of peace and quiet.
Bordering the International Dark Sky Reserve of the NamibRand Nature Reserve, the starry nights are as brilliant as the surroundings are tranquil, and the sweeping vistas of dunes, rocky outcrops, and gravel plains only add to the sense of welcome isolation.
Featuring just 10 beautifully appointed stone and glass suites spread out along the curve of the escarpment, Sossusvlei Desert Lodge offers its guests the ultimate luxury.
Each suite features a secluded, shaded veranda, private plunge pool, living room with a fireplace, and a large, retractable skylight above the bed for stargazing in absolute comfort. An ensuite bathroom comes complete with a glass-encased rain shower offering jaw-dropping desert views.
Wellness has been carefully catered to at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, with a sunrise-view gym and sunset-facing wellness centre offering both a treatment room with a private spa bath and a separate wet-room spa.
Dining features fresh, locally sourced ingredients for delicious, well-balanced meals best paired with epic desert views.
Crowned Botswana’s Best Safari Spa at the World Spa Awards in 2021, 2022, and 2023, Xigera Safari Lodge reimagines the luxury wellness safari experience, immersing its guests in the wonders of the Okavango Delta at every turn.
Resting effortlessly within this UNESCO World Heritage Site, the lodge is all but hidden amid a canopy of ancient indigenous trees and showcases an extraordinary collection of pan-African art and design created by Africa’s most globally acclaimed designers. One kilometre from the lodge stands a marvel of architecture, Xigera’s Baobab Treehouse.
Standing nearly 10 meters high, the structure features three levels: a spacious bathroom on the first level, a beautifully appointed bedroom on the second level, and an open-air deck on the 3rd level, complete with a king-size bed for snoozing under the stars. It’s the ultimate experience if you’re looking for seclusion in the African wilderness.
When it comes to Xigera’s wellness offering, every last detail has been carefully considered. The spa has been meticulously designed to offer exquisitely framed views of the seasonal floodplains and lush riverine forests, and its soothing colour palette is perfectly complemented by organic textures.
Beyond a considerable selection of body and facial treatments, Xigera Safari Lodge offers an extensive wellness programme featuring international guest experts and pioneers in the fields of mindfulness, wellness, holistic healing, and channelling the natural healing powers of the wilderness.
If you’re feeling more active, the lodge also features an air-conditioned gym kitted out with Technogym equipment.
East Africa – Top 5 Best Wellness Safari Destinations
1. Gibb’s Farm
Settle into the gentle rhythm of farm life at Gibb’s Farm in Tanzania and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of one of the most idyllic destinations in Africa.
Located on the verdant forested slopes of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Gibb’s Farm bills itself as a sanctuary for the senses, and with freshly grown Arabica coffee and tea, organic farm-to-fork dining, and a comprehensive list of Maasai-inspired body, foot, and facial treatments, there’s no shortage of opportunities for wellness experiences.
To truly get the most out of your stay at Gibb’s Farm, head out on a guided walking safari to Elephant Caves, a, half-day safari to Lake Manyara, or take a guided early morning walk through the gardens and around the coffee plantation for a spot of birdwatching.
While Gibb’s Farm has a more cottage-chic, rustic feel than that of a luxe experience, the sense of history and East African tradition is plentiful and adds to the serenity of a stay here.
2. Angama Mara
The word ‘Angama’ is Swahili for ‘suspended in mid-air’, and that’s pretty much where you’ll be during a stay at the exclusive and luxurious Angama Mara.
Gracefully positioned high on a ledge above the floor of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, the lodge offers tremendous views of the Maasai Mara Reserve, a fantastic place from which to observe the annual Great Migration, but abundant with wildlife all year round.
The Mara Triangle is less than half an hour away from your lodge, and there are a range of awesome activities on offer, including hot air ballooning, walking safaris, game drives, and cultural village visits.
The central pavilion at Angama Mara features an infinity pool for refreshing dips between safari adventures and a gym with a folding glass front offering exceptional views. For the ultimate pampering, indulge in a full-body Swedish massage in your tent or on your private deck, followed by a mani and pedi.
Set within 140 acres of indigenous forest on the outskirts of Nairobi, Giraffe Manor takes its name from the abundance of Rothchild’s giraffes that inhabit this area, quite a number of whom you’ll get up close and personal with during your stay at this stunning destination.
The manor itself dates back to the 1930s and is based on a Scottish hunting lodge design, mixing luxury with charm.
If a friendly giraffe isn’t poking its head through your window looking for a snack, you can go on a guided walk through the forest on the estate or indulge in some bird watching – there are 180 species to spot!
There’s a gym for the active at heart, but the real treat at Giraffe Manor is The Retreat, which features an infinity pool, sauna, steam room, and hot tub, along with a variety of massages and beauty treatments in the spa rooms overlooking the sanctuary. A rooftop garden tops it all off.
Set on the sprawling grasslands of Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau, Segera Retreat provides complete privacy and exclusivity for the discerning traveller. It’s the perfect place to unwind and revive yourself before or after your safari adventure, offering a tranquil environment where you can get your breath back.
While spectacular views of Mount Kenya provide a grounding experience, you can also get back to nature, gathering wild honey in bee suits or helping with the daily harvest for the exquisite farm-to-fork menu.
If you’d prefer to stay active, Segera Retreat offers a full gym, while the spa, rasul shower, and enriching botanical treatments provide ample opportunity to relax and be pampered. For the ultimate sense of seclusion, spend a night under the stars in the Nay Palad Bird Nest, enchanted by the call of the wild.
Wellness doesn’t end there – dining at Segera is as fresh as it gets, with organic produce that’s locally grown and handpicked. Before you leave, don’t forget to plant a tree in the new community forest, an ambitious reforestation project.
5. Jabali Ridge
Set on the banks of the Mwagusi River in the northern part of the game-rich Ruaha National Park, Jabali Ridge is easily one of the most luxurious retreats in Tanzania. Ruaha is 40% bigger than the Serengeti yet sees a fraction of the visitors, making for a truly exclusive safari experience.
Beyond early morning and late afternoon game drives, you’ll also get the chance to go on enchanting night drives to spot the magical nocturnal life of the park.
For the ultimate spa-on-safari experience, head to the spa at Jabali Ridge after your flight or on a dusty morning safari for a relaxing massage, indulgent spa treatment, or hot stone treatment. When you’re done, cool off in the infinity pool, where you’ll be surrounded by the sights and sounds of the African wilderness.
For a change of pace, become one with the Ruaha landscape on an immersive walking safari led by an experienced guide and local tracker – there’s no better way to reconnect with Mother Nature.
As you can tell, there’s no shortage of world-class wellness safari destinations in Southern and East Africa. If you’re looking to unwind and recharge surrounded by the beauty of the African bush, speak to a safari expert at Discover Africa today and start planning your tailor-made, luxury safari escape.