6 steps to safari wellness

Simple wellness no-brainers to ensure the safari is restorative for the mind, body and soul…

As we plod through pandemic life as bonafide work-(from home)-aholics, it’s starting to feel like we’re living (and working) on auto pilot. We have become so programmed to rapidly multi-task between multiple screens and countless platforms that we often forget to take a step back.

The fact that we have so many fitness devices and health apps reminding us when to drink water, to eat the next meal, to take a deep breath and even when to stand up (!), is both worrisome and a reflection of just how crucial our own personal health, wellness and mindfulness have become.

The post-pandemic paradox

The unencumbered joy of travel is that it enables us to disengage the auto pilot and delve (almost) device-free into an exciting new world full of adventures, flavours, interactions and unbridled spontaneity.

Yet many travellers are feeling a post-pandemic paradox: on the one side, a desperate need for escapism, hedonistic adventure and indulging and overloading each and every one of the senses; while on the other, an ever-mindful focus on health, wellness and self-care.

The &Beyond safari experience enables both sides of this paradox, subtly and harmoniously, so that travellers can indulge, explore and live large while maintaining their physical and mental health. These six simple wellness no-brainers ensure the safari is as exciting as it is restorative for the mind, body and soul.

1. Eat well

Travel, with its long-haul flights, foreign flavours and sudden interruption to our daily nutrition and exercise routines, can certainly affect the gut. Finding simple ways to restore gut health while we travel is beneficial and our chefs make this easy and unnoticeable by ensuring our menus are always wholesome, nutritious, well-balanced and irresistibly moreish.

A crucial sidenote for all food-lovers: our chefs will never skimp on flavour or variety, nor do our guests ever have to skimp on servings, unless they prefer something light. Our food is always served in abundance so that guests can indulge and truly savour the moment. From the carb-loving, non-calorie-counting food lovers, to the lighter, more health-conscious eaters, every appetite is catered for. It’s all about balance and, most importantly, choice.

Not to worry. Ever-present are creamy cheeses; warm, buttery breads; out-of-the-oven pastries; rich, flavourful curries and pastas; cheese-stuffed and fire-roasted jaffles; stringy pizzas with every topping; evening roasts with all the trimmings; and decadent malva puddings, to name just a few of the crowd-pleasing classics.

Food is fuel and, more importantly, food is medicine. Therefore our chefs seek to incorporate restorative and wellness-inspired natural ingredients to help subtly restore gut health, promote cognitive function and maintain that healthy body/healthy mind connection without ever skimping on robust flavour.

Think ancient grains, super seeds, healthy spices, fresh berries, herbal remedies, nutrient-dense vegetables and fermented foods. Things like activated charcoal bread, sourdough loaves, in-house pickling, kombucha cultures, fruity desserts, plant-based bowls and vegetable-forward dishes are making their way onto our menus to inspire wellness and provide (healthy) choice.

Safari goers can look forward to wholesome, colourful-plate goodness and hearty, well-balanced dining, from the early-morning, pre-safari fuelling station to the all-out evening feast (and indeed every morsel in between). So tuck into every snack, salad, meal and dessert without guilt or hesitation.

2. Hydrate often

The excitement, adventure and absence of daily routines while travelling can make it easy to forget that all-important daily water intake. Conveniently positioned and easily accessible within the guest areas of our lodges are water stations, complete with fresh, chilled bottled water. Refreshing fruit and cucumber-infused versions are readily available and perfect for quenching that safari afternoon thirst.

While on game drive, every vehicle is equipped with a (more than) well-stocked cooler box, filled with ice, individual glass water bottles (still and sparkling) and a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for evening sundowners and freshly-brewed coffee, cappuccinos and herbal teas for celebrating the sunrise.

From wellness tonics, freshly-squeezed fruit juices and herbal teas, to kombucha, smoothies and an assortment of non-alcoholic tonics and cordials, you certainly won’t need that app reminding you to hydrate. We’ve got you covered.

Drink happy thoughts.

3. Move more

Holidays are meant for relaxing, but it’s good to stretch those safari legs every once in a while. Grab your hat and a pair of binoculars and head out on a guided nature walk to fully appreciate the smaller wonders (and sounds) of the bush without the hum of the safari vehicle. In some destinations, you can hop on a bike and pedal your way through the beautiful landscape, and in some cases, into the surrounding community.

Some lodges have small gyms with equipment and weights, whereas others provide in-room yoga mats and resistance bands. Some lodges have large, rim-flow swimming pools, while others feature private plunge pools.

And for the more energetic, there’s always the option to join one of the rangers on a guided run through the rugged terrain, or even a friendly football (soccer) match or round of touch rugby with our staff. There’s always an opportunity to get out and move, get that heart pumping and, most of all, have fun in the extraordinary natural surroundings.

4. Pamper yourself

Perhaps one afternoon you opt for that adventurous walk through Big Five wilderness, and the next you spoil yourself with a soothing spa treatment followed by a gloriously unhurried lunch, complete with celebratory mimosas (it’s always five o’clock somewhere).

Many lodges have small massage salas where guests can indulge in a variety of massages and calming treatments, or they can be arranged for the privacy of your own suite or private veranda.

Our trained therapists use the gentle, luxuriant range of spa products by Healing Earth, a leading natural, eco-friendly and holistic spa and skincare company. Therapeutic in its approach, Healing Earth uses all-natural ingredients and essential oils with relaxing, healing and restorative benefits.

Choose from a selection of African aromatherapy oils and botanical body balms: African potato balm for its ancient healing powers; Kalahari melon for its hydrating properties; mongongo nut for its detoxifying elements; and tanga orange polish for its deep cleansing, to name a few.

Not only are the treatments inspired by the wisdom of Africa’s traditional healers, they also celebrate the continent’s diverse and medicinal plant life and vibrant heritage. From African shea butter rituals and ancient Zulu foot treatments, to aloe vera after-sun remedies and quiet mind journeys, this is the ultimate way to unwind after an energetic morning of safari adrenaline.

6. Sleep peacefully

Sleep is the best medicine and if you’ve ever slept in an &Beyond bed, you’ll know that end-of-day excitement and sheer relief of climbing into one of our seven-layer beds. Just as our chefs delight guests with seven official mealtimes, our beds, too, provide seven glorious layers of comfort.

When that unspeakably early wake-up call heralds the arrival of an exciting new day, there is often a brief moment of fierce internal monologue: the one side suggesting stay-in-bed indulgence; the other insisting on jump-out-of-bed game drive excitement. Opt for door number two, always.

For those wanting to retire early and ensure a good night’s rest, the evening menus always include a few lighter, less carb-heavy meal alternatives. Meals are also served earlier to provide ample time for those after-dinner, round-the-fire night caps, as well as ample time for beauty sleep. There’s nothing better than falling asleep to the distant roaring of lions, whooping of hyena and cries of the jackal. This is Africa.

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