The Kindness of Down-Time ~ AtholPlace Hotel & Villa


The adventure and rush of safari life, the sunrises with elephants and sunsets with lions, dinners under the stars long into the night, these are moments you just want to make the most of. Every second… to see, do, feel, taste, touch, listen to every new thing the wilderness has to share.

But there is something essential in letting yourself rest and digest, letting the memories sink in and the extraordinary conversations had wind through your mind a little slower, longer.

On a recent journey, we had been travelling through Botswana for several days, on safari from the Selinda to the Okavango, and were headed for the Kapama Private Game Reserve in South Africa, but in between, we were in need of down-time. Serious down-time. For rest and to give the soul and spirit of the wilderness time to unfurl, brew and bloom within our minds.



AtholPlace Hotel & Villa in Johannesburg was our place to do just that. The first night, long before the sun went down, we were quickly curled into a delicious duvet embrace in a quiet suite overlooking the garden. This might not look a whole lot like deep contemplation, but our bodies know what we need, when we need it. And sleep was the first step in our wind-down.

In my dreams, lions chased me under a game vehicle, the rhinos and elephants I had been sneaking up on for low angle photographs returned to graze at my feet. The whole wild world came alive again and my unconscious imagination was having an adventure of its own.



The next day was slow and sweet, with breakfast, lunch and dinner on the verandah. Wholesome food to restore and treat our bodies. Conversation and thoughts filled the air as we tried to make sense of the magic Botswana had just shown us. It was a day of doing nothing. A day so perfect and kind. Kind to ourselves, kind to each other.

It was a lesson in going slow, a realisation that there really is no benefit to the constant rush. There is every reason to vibrate with the thrill in the moment, but there’s something much more real and whole, holistic and yes, kind, about down-time in between the thrills. Space out the adventure. Go slow. Feel everything. Make the most of it. The lions will wait.

Discover more about AtholPlace Hotel & Villa here and in the images from our recent retreat below ~ from yoga by the pool to slow breakfasts on the terrace.