15 Places in Africa for the Best Sleep of Your Life

I don’t think I have ever uttered the words, “Sleep when you’re dead.” I understand the notion behind the adage and I’m all for living a full and adventurous life. But that full and adventurous life includes sleep. Hours and hours of it.

I don’t enjoy sleep for the reasons Hemingway did. As he wrote, “I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake.” But I do like the renewal of it,  like Ghandi. “Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn,” the peacemaker once said.

Above: Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa

I’ll admit, though, to sleep being an oddity… as George Carlin describes it:

“People say, ‘I’m going to sleep now,’ as if it were nothing. But it’s really a bizarre activity. ‘For the next several hours, while the sun is gone, I’m going to become unconscious, temporarily losing command over everything I know and understand. When the sun returns, I will resume my life.’

If you didn’t know what sleep was, and you had only seen it in a science fiction movie, you would think it was weird and tell all your friends about the movie you’d seen.

‘They had these people, you know? And they would walk around all day and be OK? And then, once a day, usually after dark, they would lie down on these special platforms and become unconscious. They would stop functioning almost completely, except deep in their minds they would have adventures and experiences that were completely impossible in real life. As they lay there, completely vulnerable to their enemies, their only movements were to occasionally shift from one position to another; or, if one of the ‘mind adventures’ got too real, they would sit up and scream and be glad they weren’t unconscious anymore. Then they would drink a lot of coffee.’

So, next time you see someone sleeping, make believe you’re in a science fiction movie. And whisper, ‘The creature is regenerating itself.’”

Above: AtholPlace Hotel & Villa, Johannesburg

I’m convinced that even those who say they contentedly live on only four hours of sleep a night would not turn down the offer of eight whole hours of sweet slumber. Perhaps all they’re missing is the time, or the right mood, the right setting, and the right company (which might very well be no company at all).

After all..

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.” ― Anthony Burgess

Above: ol Donyo Lodge

So turn in early or sleep in late… but sleep. Sleep is essential to life, to a good life, a full life. It improves our concentration and productivity; it boosts energy and fitness; it makes us happier; it can improve metabolism; it makes us more sociable, more able to handle each other; it can improve memory; it makes us feel more relaxed; and as a result it enhances our experience of a destination while travelling.

Read more about the importance of sleep in this blog from Red Carnation Hotels, which features the Relais & Chateaux lodge, Bushmans Kloof in the Cederberg Mountains of South Africa.

Above: Mara Plains Camp

Here are 15 places in Africa and the Indian Ocean with the promise of the best night’s sleep in your life. Whether for you that means a single down pillow and block-out curtains; the soft sounds of the sea lapping the shore; or leaving the spouse and/or children at home.

How you spend the wakeful hours is up to you… tire yourself out with adventures from sunrise to set or reset your mind and body with slow, restful relaxation.

20° Sud Boutique Hôtel, Mauritius

Anjajavy le Lodge, Madagascar

AtholPlace Hotel & Villa, Johannesburg

Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, Cederberg Mountains

Camp Jabulani, Kapama Private Game Reserve, South Africa

The Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town

Château de Feuilles, Seychelles

Seychelles

Delaire Graff Estate, Cape Winelands

Ellerman House, Cape Town

Londolozi Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sand, South Africa

Mara Plains Camp, Kenya

ol Donyo Lodge, Kenya

Royal Chundu, Zambia

Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa, Zanzibar

Zarafa Camp, Botswana

Discover more unique places to sleep in our article, 10 Best Unexpected Rooms, on Instants, the Relais & Châteaux Magazine.

Why You Should Give Yoga Another Try

It’s easy to think that yoga is something for other people, as your head throbs while you attempt to rest the weight of thirty, forty, fifty years upon it. I kept hearing people say that, while it originated in India, “yoga is for everyone”. It doesn’t discriminate, but rather transcends religion, culture, race, gender and age. It may be easier to learn than the Argentine tango, but I often wondered, when glimpsing out from under my own shaky downward dog at the bumbling happening on the mats around me, if yoga is perhaps not for everyone.

And then I detected the changes.

The subtle ways my body started to give way more than it used to. The freeing of my breath from the chest and stomach. The quiet that replaced the noise. The stillness that transformed the tension. The passion that flowed back into the compassion. And the future that returned home to the present.

And what I realised was that yoga is something we get better at, the more time and energy we dedicate to it. It is a practice that demands practice and that rewards loyalty and tenacity, each time you roll out your mat. It feels foreign at first, as much as that tango, but, slowly, it becomes a part of you. And you, and you, and you.

It was the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, who called for a day dedicated to yoga, during a speech at the UN General Assembly:

“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in well being. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”

The 21st of June was chosen as the date to celebrate the day on, as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has a special significance in many parts of the world. Modi’s hope was for International Yoga Day to help spread the practice of yoga and its positive influence around the world.

As Indian spiritual leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, “It is very difficult for any philosophy, religion or culture to survive without state patronage. Yoga has existed so far almost like an orphan. Now, official recognition by the UN would further spread the benefit of yoga to the entire world. India is the land where yoga was born and we must finally take the responsibility to spread it everywhere, starting from classrooms. This will help young people to move away from gun culture and violence.”

While spreading from north to south, east to west, yoga made a home in many of our lodges in remote parts of Africa, including Londolozi Private Game Reserve, with yoga teacher, BeJay Watson, and Royal Chundu, with Kundalini teacher, Live Shanti. In places where the stillness of the wilderness, the simple fresh air freedom, serves as the idyllic setting for yogis of still beginning their journey, wondering, as I have, if yoga really is “for everyone”, as well as the more advanced yogis.

Take a look below at one of Royal Chundu’s yoga retreats held on the banks of the Zambezi River and discover more about Londolozi’s yoga sessions in their blogs, Conscious Safari: Yoga at Londolozi, and A Place To Be: Londolozi’s New Yoga Deck 

“Why they always look so serious in yoga? You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver. Practice tonight at hotel. Not to hurry, not to try too hard. Too serious, you make you sick. You can calling the good energy with a smile. (From Ketut Liyer, the Balinese healer).”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love

The 10 Rules of Slow Travel, Inspired by Bushmans Kloof

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Like a rolling stone

The beauty of going slow when on an adventure is the gift of time, seeing more and seeing it more fully. I read somewhere recently that the smallest moments contain the whole universe if we just slow down enough, are present enough, to recognise them.

This is what I love about Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat. On the journey to the lodge, in its remote mountain valley in the Cederberg, travelling by car from Cape Town, my mind can wander through the clouds and the faces of the people we pass and the lyrics of Rodriguez and Bob Dylan that play over my speakers as the city slips away. As the red rocks of this part of the country come into frame through the window of the car.

I like things slow. Some of us simply do… our natural rhythms flow to a gentler tune. We get to see the little wonders that connect to the larger ones this way. You don’t have to do more to see these. You don’t have to think more, say more, be more. You just have to stop, to sit in the safari vehicle at dusk or around the dam in the sunlight and do nothing else but sit in the safari vehicle at dusk or around the dam in the sunlight. Like Thích Nhất Hạnh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, says, Why do we eat? To eat, of course.

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In those moments we see it all… the zebra grazing on the ground, the foals rubbing their soft fur against Mom’s legs, the eland and bontebok dining beside them, a hawk in mid-swoop, the bees and sunbirds doting on the fiery flowers of the aloes, the sun and moon moving too slowly to detect, and the dung beetle at work, like a rolling stone…

You don’t miss it. You don’t miss out on the bright little moments that are life itself. The next time you find yourself embarking on an adventure, even if it is simply the daily adventure of life, consider these…

10 Rules of Slow Travel

  1. Slow down
  2. Pack less
  3. Get out of the car
  4. Be patient
  5. Look and listen
  6. Connect and Interact
  7. Keep that mind open
  8. Seek authenticity
  9. Journal it all
  10. Play more Bob Dylan

Bushmanskloof Little Wisdoms

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Bushmans Kloof

Little Wisdoms 12

Read more about Bushmans Kloof in these articles on Instants

The Bushmans Kloof: Reconnecting with the Human Past
The Bushmans Kloof: The Cave
The Bushmans Kloof: Food, Shelter and Fire