Top 10: Spectacular South African Spas


The end of the year is on the horizon and recharging your batteries before that final sprint towards the Christmas holiday season might be just what the doctor ordered.

If you’re in need of some pampering and a little time out of town to refresh and revive yourself, why not consider a short spa-cation?

There are some fantastic spas and wellness retreats in and around South Africa so book your spot now!

Top 10 Spas in South Africa


Oyster Box Hotel

In KwaZulu-Natal, The Oyster Box Hotel has an award-winning spa in a beautiful location in Umhlanga along the North Coast.This hotel is something of an institution along this coastline and the spa has a fantastic reputation and great facilities. If you’re looking for something a little different, there’s the Hammam and Sensation Shower (a traditional Oriental “heat experience” to help you relax and unwind). There are also Signature Experiences such as the Our Journey Through Africa ritual; a Change of Season Ritual and the Absolute Beachfront Hot Lava Shell Massage. There’s a Tranquility Lounge to relax in-between treatments, a salon for manicures and pedicures and a health bar if you’re feeling peckish. The hammam spa treatment is a popular choice and there are also couples treatments on offer. In addition, a stroll along the promenade before or after your treatment or time spent around the candy-striped pool area with a cocktail in hand is bound to lift your spirits in a heartbeat.


The Saxon Spa

The Saxon Villas & Spa in Johannesburg is a tranquil spot close to Sandton, one of Jozi’s ever-expanding business and entertainment districts. The award-winning hotel is surrounded by gorgeous gardens and the spa is a perfect hideaway for an afternoon of pampering. For something a little different, try the Tibetan sound therapy room…


The Twelve Apostles

Cape Town is a well-known wellness destination, and the Spa at The Twelve Apostles Hotel has won numerous awards and accolades. There is nothing to beat a massage in an outdoor gazebo among the fynbos, with a view of the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. There are rasul chamber ceremonies, a hot lava shell massage (one of the spa’s signature therapies), as well as traditional touch therapies.


Umngazi River Bungalows and Spa, Eastern Cape

This is a great choice if you’re looking for a family escape that allows for some pampering for you. There’s loads for everyone to do, including mountain biking, swimming, fishing, hiking and birding. And when you want some grown-up downtime (who doesn’t?), Umngazi’s dedicated team of childminders will entertain the kids while you hit the spa.

Set up on a hill, the exquisite views over the resort and ocean, the secluded, award-winning Spa at Umngazi River offers a range of luxurious packages that are guaranteed to leave you feeling entirely rejuvenated and ready to take on the world.

A full range of massage and beauty treatments are available and every treatment room has its own private spa bath offering spectacular views of the sea. The Wild Coast never looked so good!


One&Only Cape Town

The One&Only Cape Town Spa is in a league of its own. Here you can explore the sumptuous ‘spa island’ in the shadow of gorgeous Table Mountain. A range of special treatments is on offer, and you might want to indulge in a Bastien Gonzalez Mani Pedi – said to be one of the best beauty treatments on the planet.


Fresh Wellness Spa, Western Cape 

Beach escape or mountain retreat? With branches in two very different parts of the Western Cape – at the Hohenbort Hotel in the Constantia Valley, Cape Town and at the Plettenberg Hotel, in Plettenberg Bay, Fresh Wellness Spas are ideal for a weekend away with the girls. On the menu are the usual manis, pedis and body-wraps and massages, as well as hydrotherapy, touch therapies, detox and medi-cosmetic treatments to soothe your body, mind and soul. Medical, anti-ageing aesthetic treatments, such as Botox, collagen fillers and Restylane Skinbooster are administered at the Constantia Spa, and an image consultant is available at the Plett spa. The vibe is up-market, calm and relaxing and you can enjoy the hotels’ fantastic cuisine before or after your treatments. Sublime treatments and food – it’s the perfect combination to soothe the senses.


Bushmans Kloof Wellness and Wildlife Retreat

Bushmans Kloof (around 3 hours from the Mother City) is the perfect option for nature-lovers. Regular retreats are held at this spa, which focuses on getting back in touch with the natural elements and truly unwinding. Guests can enjoy hikes into the Cederberg Mountains and explorations of ancient rock art in surrounding caves.

Babylonstoren Garden Spa

Designer spas don’t get more gorgeous than the Babylonstoren Garden Spa. Open seven days a week there are a number of decadent treatments to enjoy including the bamboo massage (using bamboo sticks for deep relaxation). Their Hammam Water Ritual (Turkish bath) is also an absolute spoil and includes a delicious lunch and chill time in the bamboo garden. Take the time to stroll around the gardens after your treatments and book a luncheon at the legendary Babel Restaurant.


Hoogland Health Hydro, Gauteng

Family run and loved for over 40 years, Hoogland is less than an hour’s drive from Jo’burg or Pretoria, but its idyllic valley location in the Schurveberg Mountains makes the outside world seem very far away. This is so much more than a spa, and the dedicated team includes medical and complementary therapy practitioners who work with guests to boost their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. And it’s the real deal, with diabetes, weight and stress management programmes available, as well as weight loss and detox packages.

Forget strict routines, everything at this unpretentious spa is geared towards being mindful of the body’s natural rhythms. There are no fixed set meal times, and a nourishing buffet of fresh fruit and nutritious meals are available 24/7. The activity programme changes daily and includes activities like yoga, biodanza, drumming, meditation and nature walks. Nothing is compulsory and you set your own perfect pace. The hydrotherapy cycle is particularly healing and there are three variously heated pools as well as saunas, Turkish and Sitz baths, steam rooms and Jacuzzis to ease you back to wellness. Adults only.


Valley Lodge Spa 

The Valley Lodge in the Magaliesberg (some 45 minutes from Johannesburg) has excellent spa facilities and before or after treatments you can spend time enjoying the pool and hydrotherapy areas.

Spa safaris

What better way to unwind than by heading off to the bush for a bit of game-viewing, rest, relaxation and pampering spa treatments.

While some of the five-star lodges have their own on-site spas, many offer massage options in the comfort of your room – or on the deck of your luxury suite overlooking the bushveld while listening to the sounds of nature.

Great spafari options in SA include: Lion Sands, Royal MalewaneSingita Sweni Lodge Kruger Park, Amani Spa at Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge and spa treatments at the Aroma Boma at Richard Branson’s Ulusaba lodge.

Just one more wonderful way to experience the South African bush.

So beat end-of-year burnout and book a spa experience in SA today.


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