It’s that time of year again where it just feels like everything is spinning out of control. There’s the mad rush to meet all deadlines before year-end, the sudden increase in social events to diarise and the temptation to overindulge as we enter the festive season. It also happens to be the time of year when people (read: most of us) seem to take to social media with more gusto than usual to show just how fun, exciting and busy their lives are. If you’re susceptible to envy (once again: most of us), this can have a hugely negative impact on your self-esteem, productivity and general joy of life. While it’s pretty much impossible to escape our digital devices entirely these days, we can make a concerted effort to take a good and proper break from them every once in a while. All hail the digital detox! Even just stepping away from your scrolling habit for a weekend can give you that energy
boost you’ve been craving.

Here are four of our favourite spots to go off the grid and enjoy a creative reboot:

1. Enjo Nature Farm, Cedarberg

Deep in the heart of the Biedouw Valley (famous for its rooibos tea), lies the most magical little patch of earth, called Enjo Nature Farm. Far removed from highways and city lights, it’s quiet and remote and exactly the sort of place your soul can come into its own again.

Spend your days exploring the mountain trails on foot or by bike, rowing on the paddle ski lake or swimming in the gorgeously renovated farm dam. There’s also a beautiful labyrinth laid out in an old sheep kraal, with a reading room built around a tree. After a day of soaking up the Cederberg sun,
gather round your personal firepit and gaze up at the twinkling night sky. Keep your eyes peeled for shooting stars.

They have various accommodation offerings, ranging from an adorably dinky two-person cabin to a six-person house, as well as camping sites right on the Biedouw River.

Cell phone signal: No, but there is WiFi at reception if you REALLY need to connect
Electricity: Yes

2. Mtentu Lodge, Wild Coast

Located on the border of the Mkambati Nature Reserve, Mtentu Lodge is one of the dreamiest spots on the Wild Coast. This is the kind of place where ‘rewilding’ is easy; where you kick off your shoes on arrival and only put them back on (if you really want to) upon returning home; where your hair
gets saltier by the day, and swimming and snorkelling are activities from dawn till dusk. The kind of place where you can explore on horseback or discover hidden paths during a guided hike.

With wooden cabins, safari tents and a campsite overlooking the beach, their accommodation options are also delightfully rustic.
Cell phone signal: Very patchy
Electricity: Only solar power

3. AfriCamps at Mackers, Hazyview

So, you like the IDEA of camping, but putting it into practice just freaks you out? That’s totally okay! We’re all entitled to enjoying nature on our own terms.

Fortunately, ‘glamping’ has become a thing in recent years and you can now experience the joyful simplicity of camping, while indulging in a few little luxuries that just make it that much more comfortable.

I recently visited AfriCamps at Mackers just outside Hazyview in Mpumalanga and fell head over heels in love. Located on the banks of the Sabie River, they have 10 boutique glamping tents, complete with a little kitchenette, beds covered with crisp white linen, warm showers and a flushing
toilet. Each tent has two bedrooms – one with a double bed and the other with a double bed and single bunk overhead – a large deck with a picnic bench and visiting area. Heck, they even have a wood-burning fireplace!

Falling asleep to the gentle murmur of the river at night will soothe even the most anxious soul and waking up with bushveld bird calls will keep it soaring.
Cell phone signal: Very patchy
Electricity: Yes

4. Kurisa Moya Forest Cabin, Limpopo

If you’re looking for something meltingly romantic, you simply cannot go wrong with one of the Kurisa Moya’s Forest Cabins in Magoebaskloof. The cabins are built on stilts and rise into the leafy green canopy, making you feel at one with the buzz of life happening all around.

Each cabin is fully self-contained with a double bed looking out onto ancient trees, a fireplace with a free basket of firewood supplied each day, a kitchenette with all you need, a bathroom and private deck with a Weber braai.
Cell phone signal: No
Electricity: Only solar power

 

Even though you may find yourself somewhere the signal is weak, and nature is strong, you might still find switching off entirely really hard.
Here are some tips to deal with the digital withdrawal:

  • Keep a journal close at hand to jot down your thoughts. They will most likely be all over the place, but just let it flow from your mind, through your hand and onto the page.
  • Commit to mindfulness – if you find your mind wondering to your email inbox and what a mess it will be when you eventually return to your desk, bring your awareness back to right where you are. Focus on something natural in front of you – watch an ant climb over a rock, listen to a bird’s call and try to spot it in the foliage, feel the sand under your toes.
  • Wake up early to experience and enjoy the magical unfolding of a new day. There’s nothing quite like it to help you realise that miracles are everywhere all the time.
  • If you’re with a loved one, make sure that you don’t let this special time with them slip by. Treat each meal as a special feast with them – take your time, make conversation, have a good laugh – don’t let that feeling of being rushed creep in!
  • Finally, rest. Don’t feel bad about taking a nap or spending the entire day reading. Chances to indulge in this kind of rest are few and far between. Make use of this period of disconnection to switch off and rejuvenate completely.

10 days in silence and my thoughts on detoxing the mind