When one thinks of Africa, imagery of sun-burnt plains, gritty safaris and big cats often feature prominently in our minds. So when I heard the words 'wellness', 'spa' and 'Namibia' in the same sentence, I was intrigued to find out more.
GocheGanas Wellness Village is just 25 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Namibia's capital city, Windhoek, and yet this place could be a million miles away. Beautifully poised on a hilltop with stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges.
GocheGanas - a descriptive Damara name meaning Place of Camel Thorns, abounding with Candle-Pod Acacias - is luxury lodge of 16 chalets, designed with thatched roofs and local arts and crafts for an authentic feel. Featuring four-poster beds, outdoor showers, sunken baths and timber decks overlooking the Nature Reserve.
The spa retreat has 11 treatment rooms, a gym, yoga studio and a heated indoor swimming pool under a cathedral-style masonry vault, not to mention an outdoor swimming pool offering breathtaking views.
Absolutely exceptional is the cave sauna built from the nature reserve's own granite stones; these are heated by fire and immersed into fountain water to release their energy.
An extensive spa menu offers outdoor massages, nutritional consultations and its signature massage, the Golden Dune Awakening Journey, which is named after the Namibian sand dunes. It begins with an exfoliation using dune sand, followed by a mineral-rich clay wrap, a facial using quartz stones and a calabash back massage using massage tools made from a dried-out indigenous plant. Bliss.
Of course, game drives are also offered, with 25 different wildlife species on the estate's 6000 hectares, including a local family of rhinoceros.