Massages in the bush are right at the top of the list of South African health and beauty indulgences. What better way to pummel out the stress and strains of life than with a relaxing massage out in the tranquil African bush? Sigh, life really doesn’t get much better than this.

Okay, we admit it – massages in the bush are the height of indulgence. Just think of it: you're lying on a massage bed on your private verandah at a luxury bush lodge somewhere in South Africa. Your therapist is reducing your muscles to butter, the smell of an aromatherapy oil lightly teases the fresh earthy air and in the distance you hear the sounds of wildlife and birdsong.

Sounds like heaven? It is.

Bush massages are served up on the therapy menus at the many bush spas found in our luxury private game reserves. One can either book a massage in the spa or on the private verandah of your elegant suite.

At Shibula Lodge & Bush Spa in Limpopo province there is a massage menu that includes full-body massage, hot stone massage, Swedish back and neck massage and an aromatherapy back and neck massage.

The Sabi Sands Reserve is home to some of the most phenomenal luxury bush lodges, and most of these have a spa onsite or a therapist on hand should you want a massage in the privacy of your own suite. The top bush spas in Sabi Sand can be found at Lion Sands, Singita, Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge and Ulusaba.

African bush massages are a real highlight at the Garonga Safari Camp in the Makalali Conservancy in Limpopo. Here you can have your choice of massage in an open-air sala (or 'aroma boma') surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature. The Garonga Indulgence Experience is a must with 3 types of massage on offer in one comprehensive treatment.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Shibula Lodge & Spa:

Tel: +27 (0) 21 882 8206

Lion Sands:

Tel: +27 (0) 11 484 9911


Tel: +27 (0) 21 683 3424

Sabi Sabi:

Tel: +27 (0) 11 447 7172


Tel: +27 (0) 11 325 4405


Tel: +27 (0) 87 806 2080

How to get here

Please visit the websites for the following private game reserves: Shibula, Singita, Lion Sands, Sabi Sabi, Ulusaba and Garonga. You will find detailed maps and directions.

Best time to visit

Any time is a good time to visit a bush spa. For game-viewing, however, the South African winter is the best time to go (May to August).

Tours to do

Guided game walks and game drives are an option. Ask about cultural tours in and around the area.

What will it cost

It's best to consult with the spas at the various lodges regarding costs. Spa menus are available on most websites.

Length of stay

A 3-4 day stay should do the trick. Massages generally last from 1 to 2 hours.

What to pack

Sunblock, hat and sunglasses.

What to eat

Healthy food is always on the menu at any of these high-end lodges.

What's happening

After your massage, head out on a game drive into the African bushveld.

Best buys

Beauty, health and wellness products at the various spas.

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