In a hidden location amongst giant sandstone rocks on the West Coast of South Africa near Eland’s Bay, Southern African Yoga Safaris makes use of a rocky retreat for a getaway with a difference. While doing your ‘Salute to the Sun’ or Tree Posture, you stare out and may meet the eyes of some of the antelopes or zebra that live in this nature reserve. Or if you are very yogic, you may be looking inwards and finding the peace within.
You don’t have to do yoga to go on a Southern Africa Yoga Safari, but it helps.
Donkieskraal farm, used as the venue for the yoga safaris, is a perfect place for stilling the mind and finding inner peace. Yeah, I know it sounds very esoteric, but being tucked away in a place where you can almost feel the earth pulsing and where bushmen left indelible marks on the rocks, thousands of years ago, is good for the soul.
So is the yoga, led by Cheryl Lancellas, whose long slim body is proof that yoga slows down the aging process. She’s been teaching various forms of exercise for many years, but it is yoga that she favours most. I can relate to this as I too have tried all sorts of exercise and thought yoga would be too slow for me. What was I thinking? It’s hard! It gets muscles really toned and limbs stretched, but more than that, it is a philosophy that helps you understand yourself better. I wish I had taken up yoga 30 years ago!
The Donkieskraal family farm grows mainly potatoes but they have set aside a great chunk of land for their nature reserve. Beside but not inside the reserve is where you find the accommodation, consisting of cave dwellings and tented rooms.
The first ‘cave’ started as somewhere for friends to stay. They used stone to deepen the natural cave and put in huge bathrooms and baths sunken into the natural rock. These are nice and cool in summer, when the temperatures are often into the high 30’s degrees centigrade. The tented rooms are like other tented safari lodges, giving enough comfort to make the experience really special without attempting sophisticated décor. These tented rooms are big enough for a whole family with really comfy beds and huge bathrooms.
There are various buildings incorporated into the rock, with barbeque braai areas, dining areas inside and out and the most beautiful natural rock swimming pool.
The Yoga Safari was a vegetarian affair, which at Sunday breakfast proved a little too basic, but Sunday lunch was a different matter. The spread of salads and baked mushrooms with butternut and all sorts of divine tasting things was enough to make me have seconds and think about thirds.
The practice is Hatha Yoga, with chanting, breathing and meditations to give a good experience of what yoga is all about. Cheryl also introduced us to a Shirodane hot oil therapy. The heated oil was suspended in a small put with a nozzle, which was slowly opened until it released a steady stream onto the third-eye area of the forehead of someone lying on the massage bed. It was, apparently, the most diving feeling.
Whether you can do yoga or not, this yoga safari is a lovely way for a family to connect, or for you to just connect with yourself.
Contact Cheryl at Southern African Yoga Safaris: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: + 27 22 972 1636 .