As a 200 lbs Thai man kneeled on the back of my thighs, I was beginning to rethink having chosen a 90 minute Thai massage, but when you are at a Thai spa with unlimited treatments (okay, you are limited to eleven treatments in one day) in South Africa, you have to try all the massages on offer. I had already sampled the aroma massage, the de-stress massage, and the poultice massage, so the traditional Thai massage seemed like the next logical choice. After wincing and groaning through the next 90 minutes, I left feeling more supple and relaxed, if that is even possible after having already spent 5 hours at the spa. This is my idea of the best way to unwind and leave behind the bustle of Johannesburg.
Karkloof Safari Spa is located in Midlands and adheres to a philosophy of timelessness. Do you want to go to the spa? You just get in a golf cart and are whisked there – no appointment needed. Do you want to eat? Pop into the cafe at the spa for a smoothie and a salad or sit down to a three course meal in the main dining room where you can choose a raw food dish or indulge in something less healthy. Do you want to go to the waterfall? A guide will accompany you to the third highest waterfall in South Africa. Do you want to go see the wildlife? There are giraffe, rhinos, hippos, cape buffalo, nyala and lots of different antelope species on the property. Do you want a drink? Snuggle next to the fire in the bar and enjoy a glass of shiraz. There is no schedule and you are never late.
The spa was the main draw for me and I worked my way through the facials, scrubs, wraps, and massages on the menu, and added on a hamam inspired steam treatment, foot reflexology, and a detoxifying herbal bath for extra measure. The spa also has multiple jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms, and chaises for quiet contemplation. No detail seems to be overlooked from multiple pillow options on your bed, to a fridge in your room stocked before you arrive with your choice of beverages, to staff always on hand to grant every request. The food was incredible, especially the raw food and veggie inspired dishes. After two nights of indulgent pampering, I left feeling like I was standing taller and the knots in my shoulders had been released after relentless kneading. Karkloof Safari Spa is a treat and will be my first choice when I need to unwind.
For stressed out Joburg residents Karkloof Safari Spa is a 20 minute drive from Pietermaritzburg. With flights from from O.R. Tambo, its easy to escape for the weekend to indulge in spa treatments surrounded by the beauty of the Midlands. One you arrive, everything is included – treatments, activities, food, and wine. It’s a bit indulgent, but throughly worth the price.