Wellness in Wilderness: Africa between sport, nature and wellness

Unspoilt landscapes, wild nature and traditions impervious to the passing of time: travels in Africa belong to a strongly imaginary characterized as to be almost a victim of their own stereotype. But in recent years travelers seem increasingly interested in African experiences far from clichés and different areas of the continent are establishing themselves as Wellness destinations.
Beyond the safari there is more. So we could summarize the trend identified by the World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2016, which sees Africa as an increasingly sought-after destination for those who want travel experiences characterized by well-being and movement. It is enough to do a small Google search for the words Wellness in Wilderness to get an idea of the rise of travel proposals that combine traditional safari activities such as yoga, meditation and spa treatments.
The driving force behind this ever-growing phenomenon is the search for unique and authentic holidays, in which the adventure component is accompanied by an element of relaxation or even spirituality.

While wellness trips are an established reality in the global tourist offerings, those intended as opportunities for personal growth are taking off at a sustained and unrelenting pace. There are now increasing numbers of people who aspire to develop, during their holiday days, skills that can authentically improve the quality of their everyday lives.

Never as in this last period has the concept of wellness evolved, extending to include within itself different but inextricably connected dimensions: from fitness to health, from nutrition to psychological wellbeing, from working conditions to the quality of relationships. This wide-ranging and diverse idea has paved the way for new ways of finding a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle, of which the wellness travels in Africa offer interesting and unexpected examples.

Yoga walking safari in Zambia

Walking, practicing yoga, meditating in the most remote and uncontaminated areas of the continent: it is the walking safari yoga, a travel experience that allows you to enter intimate contact with nature in the wildest state, forgetting for a moment the apprehensions of metropolitan life. Exploring the African territories of the South and at the same time dedicating oneself to wellbeing is an opportunity that offers places such as the Lungwa Valley in Zambia, an ideal destination for those who imagine a holiday that is synonymous with adventure, but also of relaxation and regeneration. Something quite different and unique from a simple weekend at the spa.

Stargazing in Namibia

The role that the environment plays in determining stress levels, mood and state of health more generally understood is a very strong theme for those who live in cities. In the current state of affairs, the impact of the context on everyday life is so great that any change, even minor changes, is perceptible. Escaping into nature has returned to being an ideal reference point of life, and if a radical change in lifestyle often appears to be an unrealistic goal, being able to reserve at least a few days into the wild has become a priority for many.

That's how even a common activity such as watching the stars has turned into a little luxury, and someone has chosen to even reach the desert in Namibia to find complete darkness and the brightest stars. On the other hand, few things provide the same sense of peace and tranquility as the observation of the starry sky. Among these, perhaps, there is that of reaching the observation point on foot, sleeping under the stars after an exploration trek in the desert along the boundary of the NamibRand Nature Reserve.

This demonstrates that sometimes it is the simplest things that make the difference.

Eating like a native in North Island, Seychelles

Where there is wellness there must be awareness. In order to care for one's own well-being it is essential to know as much as possible and the awareness of what a person’s body passes from the food that is eaten. This is the reason why wellness tourism and conscious tourism go hand in hand, especially in those destinations where food is a particularly significant element of culture and traditions.

In North Island, the inner island of the Seychelles archipelago, eating in a certain way means entering fully into the spirit of the place. And the way the island's inhabitants understand their food is in complete harmony with what the "healthy philosophy" dictates: local, fresh and seasonal products. Those who want a holiday based on healthy and conscious eating cannot ask for anything more.

Tanzania: the relationship as a wellness element

We have said that personal relationships are a fundamental factor in determining people’s well-being. Today, more than ever, there is a strong need for genuine and sincere human relationships, and above all for them not to be mediated by a screen. Is this something to do with the journey? It seems to be yes.

Of the people who travel to Africa, an increasing number of them are interested in getting in touch with the inhabitants of the territories visited, beyond the normal "tourist" interactions. This is evidenced by the fact that visits to the Maasai tribes, famous for their artisan jewellery production, and to the Hadzabe' e, one of the last large community of hunter-gatherers, are becoming very popular.

A trip to Tanzania in the area of Lake Manyara National Park gives the opportunity to go canoeing, moutain bike rides or climbing, as well as ensuring a total and engaging cultural immersion, with all the benefits that come from direct human contact.

The wellness destination you don't expect: Madagascar

By now it is clear: Africa's wellness destinations are many and increasingly fashionable. The fact that these new travel opportunities exist is exciting, yet someone will surely be nodding to hear about "trendy" destinations. Well, Africa offers attractive destinations for even the most demanding travellers, those who are constantly looking for unknown or at least little-known lands. This is certainly the case in Madagascar, which has always been perceived as a destination for sun, beach and sea holidays and absolute relaxation.

The area around the city of Ambositra, in the center of the country, offers lands completely ignored by tourism, where you can trek in the forest and in the Zafimaniry territories, reaching natural paradises inaccessible in other ways with the certainty of not meeting even a tourist, and the luxury of being able to say that you were (almost) first.

Antsirabe, on the other hand, is not exactly an unknown destination: on the contrary, it is a well-known spa town. But the area outside the city is ideal for cycling (and neglected by large scale tourism): the bicycle is the perfect way to discover the Andraikiba and Andrononobe lakes, where in the months between May and December you cannot deny a swim between waterfalls and natural pools.

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