The best wellness spa in Africa

Christine Cunanan for The Frequent Flier in Travelife Magazine

On a recent visit to Bushman’s Kloof in the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa, we booked an afternoon of wellness treatments at their spa, recently chosen the best spa in Africa. Temping as it was to stay in and enjoy our beautiful private villa, the newly opened Cederberg House, the spa beckoned.

The spa of Bushman’s Kloof was recently chosen the best spa in Africa and the Indian Ocean — so how could I miss this? We booked the Bushman’s Kloof signature massage in the spa gazebo, which opened up to an old river bed of wild grass.


Bushman's Kloof has the best spa in Africa
Bushman’s Kloof has the best spa in Africa

In this pretty cottage, two cheerful therapists performed the Bushman’s Kloof signature massage and successfully kneaded the knots out of our backs. We actually fell asleep because it was so relaxing.

Bushman's Kloof has the best spa in Africa
The outdoor gazebo of the spa

After the massage was over, they gave us cups of Rooibos tea and left us to relax in the open-air terrace. It was surreal to be having wonderful spa treatments in the middle of the wilderness.

Bushman's Kloof: The best spa in Africa
Bushman’s Kloof: The best spa in Africa


Meanwhile Martin, our ranger, arranged a picnic lunch in a cave that was ten minutes away by jeep. By the time our treatment was over, it was noon and he was back at the spa, ready to drive us to a lagoon on the game reserve.

Paddling a canoe in Bushman's Kloof in South Africa
Paddling a canoe in Bushman’s Kloof in South Africa

While we were having our spa treatments, he’d been busy setting up a canoe and two paddle boards on the water.


When he stopped by the shore, we looked at him inquiringly; although it was already 1230 PM, we did not see any food.

“I thought you guys might want to go paddling on our lagoon first,” he said.

Read about a journey across South Africa on The Blue Train

Then he added: “If you follow the route to the right, you’ll find lunch waiting for you somewhere along the way.” 

I wasn’t convinced this was a good plan but I got in anyway. We paddled along with Martin waving us off encouragingly from the shore.


Picnic on safari at Bushman's Kloof in South Africa
Picnic on safari at Bushman’s Kloof in South Africa

I actually enjoyed paddling as it was easy in this lagoon without waves. Then, just as we entered a narrow canal and I was preparing myself for an hour of effort with the boat, we saw a beautiful picnic spread on a ledge


A large mat had been laid out with giant pillows. Also, from the water, I espied a silver bucket brimming with champagne, wines and juices. Upon making our way up to the spot, we enjoyed the wonderful spectacle of a quintessential South African picnic hamper, ready for photographs. 

Bushman's Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat
A South African hamper for a picnic at Bushman’s Kloof

We ate roast beef sandwiches, boiled eggs, salads and fruits, and a cheese plate. We even had a basket of assorted biltong. Not forgetting that I had a sweet tooth, Martin also included little pudding pots for dessert. This lovely picnic in the great outdoors truly delighted me.

Champagne on a picnic on safari at Bushman's Kloof in South Africa
Champagne on a picnic on safari

In fact, we had so many wonderful travel experiences here. I guess this is why so many people from all over the world travel to the Cederberg Mountains, to stay at Bushman’s Kloof.

Bushman’s Kloof is a member of the Red Carnation Hotels and the Relais & Chateaux group. It’s considered one of the top wilderness retreats in Africa. You’re taken out of your own world. Then suddenly you find yourself in a place where nothing else really matters but your bliss.

Read more stories about spa treatments and outdoor adventures in South Africa in Travelife Magazine.