In between the effects of the pandemic, the economy, the political climate and work stress, life can get overwhelming. We worry and become anxious, leading to a decline in our health and mental state. In these times, taking care of our mental health should be a priority – and the best cure to boost mental health can be a holiday.
“Just taking a break from your daily routine sets you in a more jovial mood,” said Modipadi Phoku, a South African travel agent.
“Exploring new cuisine, meeting new people, observing different cultures can make you appreciate life a bit more. It can give you a new perspective on life and subconsciously help you solve a problem you’ve been battling with,” she added.
Here are 5 trips to take to boost your mental health:
Nothing calms the body and mind better than a spa retreat, whether on a day trip or a full weekend of pampering. Depending on the type of treatment, the benefits can include improved sleep, better heart rate, reduced anxiety and cleansed body. At some locations, the views are pretty incredible too.
Where to go: Summerfields Rose Retreat and Spa in Mpumalanga, 10km from the Phabeni Gate of Kruger National Park, is a four-hour drive from Joburg. Their Rose Spa on the banks of the Sabie River affords views of the majestic mountains and animals. With a range of treatments as well as a steam room, jacuzzi, Vichy shower and a hydro walk, you are bound to feel yourself in no time. There are 11 secluded tented suites, a luxury Jackalberry Suite and a Forest Suite. Guests can also wander into the macadamia and litchi orchards, go on a self-guided tour of the farm and rose tunnel, or book a game drive at Kruger National Park. Visit www.summerfields.co.za/
If you feel low and need something to get you excited again, an adventure may do the trick. Getting out of your comfort zone and making a bold choice to do something insane (as long as it’s safe) allows you to appreciate life and what it has to offer. It boosts creativity and your mood. Of course, nothing makes one more proud than ticking something adventurous off your bucket list.
Where to go: South Africa is home to a myriad of adventures, from bungee jumping to abseiling. The choice depends on the traveller and what adventure they want to get their hearts racing. We suggest you book a destination with plenty of adventurous activities, like Tsitsikamma. Daring travellers can jump off one of the world’s highest bungee bridges at Bloukrans Bridge, zipline at Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours or partake in a Kayak & Lilo adventure at Storms River.
The pandemic has made people embrace nature and the outdoors, from overnight hikes, camping and safaris to horseback riding and picnics in nature reserves. These trips reduce stress, get people to exercise, and offer some gorgeous landscapes that provide a sense of calm.
Where to go: Bliss & Stars spans 1 350ha in a valley, on the banks of the Doring River in the breathtaking Cederberg Mountains. The off-the-grid Western Cape attraction provides four-day and seven-day long programmes to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul. They “fuse nature, meditation, movement, food, and astronomy to guide you into presence and stillness”. Outdoor activities include hikes, astronomy, meditation and light yoga. Visit www. blissandstars.com/
Whether you book a holiday by the sea, take part in water sports or visit the local beach at your destination, the sea will make anyone happy. Let’s not forget dipping your toes in the warm sand or taking a swim in the ocean. The latter offers great immune and circulation benefits.
Where to go: KwaZulu-Natal offers many seaside towns, from Margate on the South Coast to Ballito on the North Coast. For those who want added privacy, Zinkwazi Laguna, under an hour from Durban, offers an idyllic beach vacay that incorporates everything to keep the family happy.
The six-bedroom property comes with a pool that overlooks the spectacular lagoon, a dishwasher, a modern kitchen, TV, washing machine, braai facilities and wi-fi. Spend days stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking or swimming, or just head to one of the loungers to catch up on your latest book club read. Else whip up endless cocktails and savour the view. Travellers with a boat are welcome to bring it along, but you need to make prior arrangements with the property. The beach house sleeps eight adults and eight children. Call 021 790 0972.
South Africa is not short of food experiences, whether it’s a shisanyama meal at a township, a Cape Malay curry in the Bo-Kaap, or a lamb bunny at a family-run business in Durban. Foodie trips can fill the belly and heal the soul. Gourmet getaways are a sumptuous way for travellers to explore a destination while tucking into delicious cuisine.
Where to go: Places like the Western Cape and Durban have a strong food culture. Travellers can indulge in cooking classes by the locals, pair wine with a range of treats, and savour the sights, sounds and smell of a town through food. Eat Like a Local, a company based in Cape Town, hosts vegan food tours and a City Bowl tasting experience that takes travellers to Cape Town central and Bo-Kaap. Visit www.eatlikealocal.co