Seeking a unique wellness travel experience? Here's why Bushmans Kloof should be at the top of your list
I was invited by Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals together with Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat to an experience showcasing buchu, a South African herb that is packed with medicinal properties. Wellness travel has experienced an epic boom since last year where travellers are seeking authentic experiences, and with Africa lending itself to adventure and relaxation in a natural environment Traveller24 notes that it can easily satisfy the demand from travellers for a sustainable and responsible experience.
A three-hour drive from Cape Town, Bushmans Kloof was voted number three for Top Resorts in Africa by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2016. The trip to this resort was masked in dramatic scenery of the Cederberg mountains.
Buchu, Bushmans Kloof, the spa and delectable cuisine
Before the dawn of modern medicine, buchu was a trusted medicinal plant used by the Khoisan people to effectively manage various conditions such as general injuries and skin conditions.
Native to a very specific and small region of the Western Cape's Fynbos species, this natural and national treasure grows between the Cederberg and the Hottentots Holland mountains, and is a potent anti-inflammatory that assists in the management of a host of chronic inflammatory ailments like arthritis and eczema, and is particularly useful for urinary tract infections.
Researching the plant for more than 15 years, independent researcher for Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals, Professor Patrick Bouic describes its most potent property as anti-inflammatory.
"Most of the chronic conditions today lead to cardiovascular problems, diabetes, etc. and they’re all linked with underlying inflammation," he says. He also further adds that he believes it could replace an antibiotic one day.
Easy to see why the Duchess used the oils of this miracle herb in the form of a scented candle to aid her symptoms of nausea back in 2013.
Interestingly, Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals has entered into a benefit-sharing agreement with the South African San Council and the National Khoisan Council as a befitting acknowledgement of the wealth of knowledge that was gleaned from the Khoisan, who introduced buchu and its various medicinal benefits to the world.
Now, Bushmans Kloof might be a five-star resort, but it is certainly so in an unconventional way. Situated on over 18 000 acres of land, it is nestled in a unique and secluded part of the Cape where three botanical gardens merge: the majestic Cederberg Wilderness area, rocky Fynbos and the succulent Karoo. The seclusion of the resort makes it perfect to relax and enjoy the finer things in life.
Through vigilant wildlife and botanical conversation, they are also dedicated to restoring the land back to its natural beauty and to preserve the heritage of the bushmen who lived in the region thousands of years ago. The resort's heritage centre also offers visitors the opportunity to see a permanent exhibition of the Rudner Collection of bushmen artefacts.
What is particularly unparalleled about one's stay at this reserve is the spa and wellness programme that's all about achieving harmony and rejuvenation in a peaceful sanctuary. 'Touch' therapies, along with more than 20 other spa experiences are available. I was treated to a 45 minute body massage, but the unique twist began even before this – as part of the atypical experience, the session begins with dipping your feet into a bowl of lukewarm buchu-infused water that’s absorbed into your skin and feet, and helps the circulation to your body.
Read more: 5 must-visit destinations in Stellenbosch
The holistic principle combined with a modern approach of the massage includes rocks with different words – soothe, uplifted, tranquility, enrich, empower – you select how you wish to feel and these rocks are then dropped into the water. The massage is then followed by a break in the tranquility lounge where you can relax in between spa treatments and sip on a cup of buchu tea. Tied in with the massage, it is an unsurpassed wellness experience.
Upon arrival, we were treated to a delectable menu for lunch at The Homestead. For breakfast the next day, the menu burst with options. From a diversity of eggs – boiled, poached, buchudict (you read right!) to a Greek salad with buchu dressing, their transcendent gourmet cuisine incorporates a fine quality with the freshest ingredients right from their organic kitchen gardens.
With an emphasis on unique Cape flavours, their executive chef, Floris Brand, makes use of indigenous fynbos that grows abundantly on the reserve to create fragrant, distinctive dishes. After a game drive that encircles a beautiful landscape, we were treated to unrestrained indulgence at Kadoro, a remote, rustic cottage with no electricity. It's just you, your company and a buchu dinner by candlelight. Think buchu and sea salt focaccia bread, buchu and olive oil marinated Karroo Lamb tjops, buchu verrine with rooibos lime and blueberry and so much more!
The quality of feeling good and detoxed travels with you long after you leave the secluded, mountainous area for the hustle and bustle of your daily life. From health and wellness to travel and food, there's nothing dull about this South African miracle plant that is unknown by too many.
Disclaimer: This trip was sponsored by Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals and Bushmans Kloof Wildnerness Reserve and Wellness Retreat.