There are yoga retreats all over South Africa – in the mountains of the Drakensberg, bush lodges in the Pilanesberg, on houseboats in Langebaan and farms in the Midlands. But there are only two events that go beyond a retreat and enter into the realm of full-on wellness festivals. Set in beautiful locations and full of workshops, classes, markets and healthy eating options, these festivals are wonderfully inspiring and restorative experiences and both happen to fall in March next year.
26 – 29 March 2020, Elandskloof Farm near Greyton
Retreat Yourself embraces a combination of both wellness and music. A variety of health practitioners, speakers, yogis and pilates instructors from across South Africa will be leading classes through the four-day festival. Beginners to advanced workshops will be offered, ensuring there’s something for everyone. There will also be movement classes, music, dancing, live art and workshops. And two mountain biking and trail running routes – one 10 kilometres and the other 18 kilometres. Festival-goers can also let their hair down at a roller disco, on a secret dance floor and at stand-up comedy stage. There’s a little something for everyone and you’re encouraged to curate your own weekend. Exercise, eat well and learn or indulge, dance and let go – it’s up to you.
There’s a wide variety of accommodation options. You can bring your own tent or pay a little extra to stay in a thatch or riverside cottage or a vinyl, dome, bell or luxury bell tent. The festival welcomes families, is open to all ages and aims to create a playground open to people from all walks of life. It’s a meat-free getaway where you can revitalise, learn, dance and feast.
5 – 8 March 2020, Somerset Gift near Swellendam
This three-day celebration looks to bring together the power of yoga, meditation, dance and community alongside a river and surrounded by mountains. It encourages you to open your heart and explore your mind and body to help you experience the profound nourishment of the self – that each of us is capable of creating and living. They say, ‘Whether you’re seeking to play or pray, dance or trance, be in nature or just nurture your being, you’ll soon be making SpiritFest your pilgrimage.’
Start your day with 5 AM meditation followed by various styles of yoga classes, workshops and dances throughout the day and enjoy sound journeys of deep relaxation into the evening. Food stalls selling healthy and nourishing vegetarian meals will be open while you can also go for a massage, go sunbathing, mountain biking, for a dam swim or even some shopping at a mini market catering to yoga lovers and health-aware individuals.
You can bring your own tent or enjoy the luxury of arriving to a tent already setup for you. There are tent providers in three separate campsites that offer belle tents, glamp tents and budget options. SpiritFest raises funds to support local community and animal shelters – projects such as EarthChild, Seva Unite and Rosie’s Soup Kitchen.
The venue, Somerset Gift, is a pristine green farm and nature reserve just outside Swellendam. Richard Holmes wrote of it in the Sunday Times, ‘Perfect where the road ends… Owner Dion Wright has ticked all the right boxes when it comes to creating my perfect country escape.’