There is nothing quite like getting a deep tissue massage on your private deck as you look out over the wild bush to the savanna beyond.
Whether you want some extra pampering on safari or indulgent therapy in the city, here's our pick of the best luxury spa hotels in Africa.
1) Royal Malewane, The Kruger, South Africa
Glamorous, opulent, intimate and secluded, this colonial era retreat in the 13,000 hectare Hoedspruit private reserve is a unique and delicious African experience. Suites are spacious and airy, adorned with mahogany furniture, Victorian rolltop baths, 4-poster beds, travelling chests, fireplaces and Persian rugs. Each has its own rim-flow pool, wooden decks and gazebos.
The Royal Suites enjoy a private lounge and dining room as well as a complimentary butler, chef and massages. Immerse yourself in the fantastic spa, relaxed in the knowledge that you need only glance out of the window or look up from your plate to see the sights of the bush and animals wandering by.
2) Earth Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa
This state-of-the-art eco lodge blends seamlessly into its environment, a masterpiece in contemporary design mimicking the folds of the landscape and merging into the savannah and bush. Its minimalist calm and serenity make a sublime base for a relaxing safari experience.
In addition to the truly excellent spa here, you’ll find a wine cellar, library and lovely swimming pool, with the opportunity to go on game drives, bush walks, community tours, or even take photography classes.
3) Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa, The Winelands, South Africa
The large communal area at the centre of this luxe winelands property boasts a large pool, Jacuzzi and outdoor deck with spectacular views – as well as an in-house cinema and two superb restaurants. Sitting on a privileged vantage point within the Helshoogte mountain range, there are just 10 elegant private individual lodgings.
When you’re not indulging in the excellent spa facilities, you can try the region’s other famous form of therapy through some world-class wine tours at the likes of Stellenbosch and Franschhoeck.
4) Tarkuni Private House, The Kalahari, South Africa
The Oppenheimer family’s private and prestigious game reserve in South Africa’s green Kalahari is one of the ultimate luxury safaris to be had in southern Africa, where you shouldn’t expect to see another vehicle on your game drives and where authentic African panache and soul are delivered in an impeccable manner.
Its unique and unusual spa are as characterful as your lodgings, decorated in a soothing style of natural materials and earth tones. The treatment menu is extensive and spoiling, with a gym and yoga lessons available as well.
5) Shanti Maurice, Mauritius
If the Nira Spa’s signature treatment, the Sega Ritual, is anything to go by you know they pull out all the stops to make you feel lighter in your mind and on your feet. The Ritual is performed on the beach with bonfires as a chef prepares organic cane sugar to exfoliate the skin followed by a coconut butter and frangipani-based massage.
If you wanted to opt for something a little simpler, than this Conde Nast Traveller Readers Award Winner can provide you with yoga, meditation, pilates classes and a whole host of Ayurvedic remedies and beauty treatments in the midst of a tropical island paradise.
The Best of the Rest
6) Bushmans Kloof Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa
This wilderness retreat in the Cederberg mountains above Cape Town is a real escape to the outdoors and great for those looking for some nourishing active pursuits. Yoga and meditation are of course offered alongside daily hikes, fly fishing, mountain biking and much more, not to mention the fantastic gastronomy too. The spa is state-of-the-art and really rounds off the experience.
7) The Saxon, Johannesburg
Another of Johannesburg’s stylish city boltholes, the Saxon Hotel & Villas is an institution and the place where Nelson Mandela penned his “Long Walk to Freedom”. Having fielded many awards over the years the Saxon’s Spa is frequented by guests and city residents in equal measure, to enjoy its Rasul Chamber, their signature sound therapy (an ancient Tibetan remedy of curing the body from the inside out) and elemental massage (to name but a few).
8) Molori, Madikwe, South Africa
Molori is one of the most decadent and exquisite safari lodges in all of Africa let alone Madikwe, so it’s no wonder its Spa carries a similar reputation. Guests can enjoy a host of varied and expert wellness treatments, with signature therapies in reflexology and aromatherapy, in the lodge spa, bush massage area, spa deck or even in the comfort of their own vast, private suite (there are only five!).
9) Sasaab Lodge, Samburu
Amid the really wild, stunning landscapes and tribal culture of Kenya’s Samburu National Park, the Sasaab Lodge is an oasis of natural sophistication and Moroccan-styled luxury. The SpaSaab here was purpose-built to be a state-of-the-art therapeutic haven overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro river below, and where you can benefit from Liz Earle beauty treatments in between your morning and afternoon game drives.
10) Oyster Box, Durban, South Africa
Oyster Box is an exemplary model of modern seaside panache and pampering. A popular Durban city hotel on your way up the Western Cape en route to the reserves of the north-east, the property boasts an excellent spa and is the place to stop for some r&r en route, not forgetting a dip in the infinity pool that seemingly spills into the Indian Ocean.
11) Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Cape Town, South Africa
This natural sanctuary is ensconced in the midst of a World Heritage Site, tumbling gently into the rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Its light, airy rooms and exceptional service go above and beyond expectation, so relaxing in the excellent spa, heated swimming pools or idyllic beaches is the easiest thing in the world. Just a short dash from Cape Town, you can even wander off for some retail therapy if the mood strikes you…
12) Thanda Safari Lodge, The Elephant Coast, South Africa
Enjoy therapy pools, aromatherapy massages, reflexology and detoxing beauty treatments all within the wilds of this 14,000-acre private Big Five game reserve in north eastern South Africa. This lodge features a level of luxury, service and Bushveld character that is rarely – if ever – equalled, frequently earning it the coveted title of “Africa’s Leading Luxury Lodge”.
13) Raffles Praslin, Praslin Island, The Seychelles
Sometimes a hotel spa is key to the full experience of a hotel; this no more true than at the divine Raffles Praslin on the Seychelles’ Praslin Island. Suspended in the hillside bove Takama Bay, the spa’s sumptuous treatment rooms look out over the tropical bush and crystal blue Indian Ocean. A true island paradise.
14) Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa, Johannesburg, South Africa
One of the finest places to stay in Johannesburg, Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa is a sanctuary in the city for many reasons. Its pleasant gardens and wonderful staff are up there, but also its deluxe spa, a destination for travellers and city residents alike.
15) Singita Concession, The Kruger, South Africa
The Singita Kruger Concession and lodges Lebombo and Sweni offer some of the finest safari alongside sky-high style, comfort and relaxation. The Bush Spa is possibly one of the most scenic in all the World, giving you sweeping views over the wild bush of the Kruger as you enjoy a signature massage or nourishing beauty mask.
16) One&Only Cape Town, South Africa
A first class hotel through and through, come here for some world-class pampering during your stay in Cape Town. With an outdoor pool, jacuzzis and sublime spa all situated around its island lagoon, you can indulge in the utmost style and luxury in this multi-award winning, endlessly trendy V&A waterfront resort.