Taking a vacation to improve your spiritual, physical, or emotional well-being is not a new concept. Health-inspired travel dates back to ancient times when people would to travel vast distances to bathe in the therapeutic waters of the Dead Sea – Europe’s healing mineral baths were a must-visit for elites.
The last decade has seen fitness-themed vacations gain renewed popularity across Africa. The industry has ballooned to include weight-loss programs, holistic cruises, spiritual and creative retreats, backpacking and hiking trips, weight-loss clinics, and healthy hotels as the go-to places for those looking for a wellness vacation. Whether you’re into a meditation-based vacation or a regimental boot camp, there’s definitely something to suit your budget, ability, level, and fitness tastes. Pack your sneakers and head to one of these upscale boot camp-style vacations in Kenya to reconnect with your mind, body and spirit.
Wilderness Wellness Retreat
In northern Kenya, the Samburu tribespeople are also known as the ‘Butterfly People’ – not only because of their vibrant traditional dresses, but because of the freedom with which they enjoy a simple life that is intrinsically connected to the earth. Their serene existence amidst the raw and rugged wilderness of the northern desert, provides the required inspiration for Sasaab’s Wilderness Wellness Retreat – a retreat suitable for those seeking a wellness-inspired safari.
Throughout the four-day wellness retreat, days are be spent under Karina’s (professional personal trainer and Pilates instructor) guidance doing Pilates by the river, walks with the warriors and stretch sessions in the swimming pool. Whilst Karina strengthens your body, Heather (nutritional therapist and therapeutic chef) nourishes it. Her fresh food is all organic, gluten free and full of goodness. Sasaab is the ultimate Zen zone where one can switch off, reconnect with nature and observe the incredible wildlife that inhabits this area whilst nurturing your mind, body and soul.
Rapids Camp Sagana
Also known as the ‘Adrenaline Camp’, Rapids Camp Sagana is a camping site located 106 Kilometres from Nairobi. The camp, which is surrounded by many of nature’s endowments, including rivers, waterfalls and rocks, offers limitless opportunities such as Team Building Venue, Kayaking, Camping, Picnic River Swims, River Glides, Rock Climbing, Men’s Bathroom Activity, Plunge, Local Boating, Moon Light Walks, Nature Walks, Fishing, Rice Fields Tours, Star Gazing & Water Sports such as Slalom, White Water Rafting, Tubing down River Sagana, Angels Bowl Sagana and Bungee Jumping. The camp also offers its guests bush and local meals which can be enjoyed while watching and listening to the massive waterfall of the Sagana River. Best part is that they offer offers parking, airport and city shuttle services for guests upon request.
With the focus being on the wild; wild living, wild eating and wild moving – the WildFitness retreat might just prove to be life-changing. The fitness side will have you moving in myriad ways – whether it’s jumping, hanging, crawling or carrying – with a strong emphasis on helping you find pleasure in doing so. Located at one of the country’s beautiful beaches, Watamu, WildFitness Kenya has been voted as one of the top ten fitness boot camp destinations in the world. In the stunning Watamu landscape you can take part in intense training sessions that will kick-start your fitness regime into high gear.
It is a life changing, profound process that helps you connect with nature and exercise in the way that our bodies were designed: tree climbing, jumping off sand dunes, walking across a slack line, swimming across creeks and bare foot running all feature as part of this 8-night luxury boot camp fitness holiday which aims to naturally and healthily help you to transform your lifestyle.
The luxury boot camp and fitness holiday is not purely for the super fit. During your course you will take part in tailored assessments, bare foot running, group flexibility and stretching classes and 2–3 training sessions per day. Your accommodation is in one of three lovely houses with bedrooms overlooking to Indian Ocean, treetops or gardens. Also take time out to relax in the swimming pool, one of the beautiful communal areas or the indigenous forests.
Fit Kenya Boot Camp
FKB (Fit Kenyan Boot camp) has transformed, inspired and made people sweat in Kenya since 2013. The Fit Kenya holds boot camps at different locations throughout the year, ranging from a weekend to several days. FKB was founded with the main aim to create an affordable work out regime with the concept to make use of their beautiful parks and green areas for health and fitness purposes. Outdoor workouts gives natural challenges for the body, leads to improved oxygen uptake and better workout results. Definitely working out outdoors is more stimulating, fun and motivating than the inside of a gym. The main focus of FKB, apart from Health and Fitness, is to create possibilities for young, motivated individuals from unfortunate areas in Nairobi and give them a head start in life by educating them in health and fitness and offer them the opportunity to work as trainers. In Nairobi, they usually meet at Arboretum.
Yoga at the Treehouse, Watamu
A few years back, the mention of the word yoga wouldn’t get people talking. The new fitness craze is now growing, attracting hoteliers selling yoga holidays. One of the Wonders of Watamu is the Yoga Session at the Watamu Treehouse Yoga Centre. Yoga retreats are a mainstay here, with seven retreats having been scheduled for 2018 alone. Owners of Treehouse, Paul, Aja and Vera are passionate yogis and they offer the yoga classes on stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) in the sea or in the mangrove creek. Every retreat is different, featuring different types of yoga, detox and other wellness aspects, with guest instructors, both from the region and overseas, brought in to lead the retreats. It is a daily dose of mental clarity and physical wellbeing – salute the sun on the beach at sunrise, pause to meditate in an indigenous forest, or find stillness on a sandbar, suspended in azure ocean water. No experience is needed; just a sense of balance and humour.
Lamu Yoga Festival
Lamu Island is the perfect retreat where one gets to stretch and do breathing exercises in pristine and unpolluted environment with no traffic – a perfect combination, perhaps, of tree poses, seafood and the sounds of the sea. A brainchild of Monika Faith, owner of Banana House, a wellness centre in Lamu and Kelly Alomba, a Banana House yoga instructor, the annual “go-to” event on Kenya’s yoga calendar – a Swahili-inspired festival is all about changing up your routine to try one of the many different types of yoga offered by the 26 instructors and communing with hundreds of like-minded yoga fans from all over the world. Classes span the unspoiled Shela and Manda Bay beaches, to Lamu Town. The festival brings people not only within the East Africa but yogis and teachers from as far as UK, Holland, Sudan and other parts of the world have been coming to join this wellness festival. The four days festival offers meditating under the moon, a dhow sail, workshops, fun competitions, Swahili dishes and a grand finale beach party with Lamu drummers and acrobats.
The Travel Yogi
Yoga-travel the world and strike a balance between culture-packed, nature-engaging, invigorating and energetic one-of-a-kind wellness adventures with the Travel Yogi. The Travel Yogi has pioneered taking yoga retreats out of their comfort zone and continues to change the way we look at traditional adventure travel destinations. Wanderlust-loving yogis can keep their sense of adventure going on their mats all around the world with The Travel Yogi. You’ll stay in lux private glamping camps and boutique lodges before heading off to secluded nature reserves and conservancies for intimate, awe-inspiring nature sightings and interactions. You will also enjoy a life-changing celebration with Maasai locals and have private, intimate hands-on access to the baby elephants at the Sheldrake Orphanage. Savour ten full days on their African yoga journey with top guides who know how to ensure epic animal encounters, sundowners, sun-uppers and memories that will stay with you for a lifetime. And (bonus) get the expertise of their been-there-done-that office crew.