What’s hotter than hot? Zambia, apparently. The southern African nation isn’t just sun-spoiled and summery all the way through November, it’s also becoming one of the most talked-about post-pandemic destinations across the continent. One fine hotel along the mighty Zambezi River, the Anantara Royal Livingstone Hotel, has come up with quite the treat for guests looking to reconnect with themselves later during the year. But it’s not all rest and relaxation.
We don’t know about you but we’d be very much up for a few days of wellness coupled with a slice of action. In fact, when we heard about the holistic Om Namaste wellness retreat available at Anantara Royal Livingstone Hotel from 4-7 November, we were all ears. The riverside resort, part of Anantara’s much-lauded collection of luxury properties, has invited beloved yoga master Stuart Kirton, of Yo Yoga fame, to practise his best moves with guests; from Ashtanga yoga to the sweat-inducing Hot 26, a Bikram sequence to bring even the toughest ‘travlethes’ to their knees (quite literally, as position 22, the Camel, will see wannabe-yogis kneel on their mats and bend back until their eyes go just a bit watery).
If you’re after something a little more adventurous, there’s a small number of utterly memorable-sounding excursions to take your stay to the next level. Think helicopter rides through the dramatic cliffs of the Batoka Gorge or a dip in the pool – no, not the pretty hotel pool, but rather, the deceivingly dangerous-looking Devil’s Pool, which sits right on the edge of Victoria Falls, inviting visitors to swim in peace as thundering cascades plummet some 350 feet downwards mere metres away. Those looking to rest up after so much action (even Olympians have to take a break!) will be delighted to hear the three-night package also entails daily meditation sessions and spa treatments on the Royal deck overlooking the adjoining Zambezi. A particular treat, if you ask us, will be the Zambezi Massage, using the traditional Ukuchina technique and warm towels to stimulate circulation and relax tense muscles. Though, Ukuchina or not, the idea of a spa consisting of riverside gazebos in and of itself goes some way in soothing our senses.
You could say that there are countless wellness retreats on offer at luxury properties all over, and that certainly is true. But what’s refreshing about the Om Namaste package at the Anantara Royal Livingstone Hotel is that it goes a little further than merely inviting guests to rest and relax in a contemporary-looking spa with no relation to the outside world. We can’t recall the number of times we thought heading for a facial or a massage felt like descending into a bunker – if a fancy one, stocked with high-end amenities and trained therapists. The Zambian-style spa at the Anantara, in contrast, adds some local flavour and a good dose of experiential fun. And the same goes for the activities on offer: whether you prefer to join Stuart Kirton for a Vinyasa yoga session, or to get active on your own terms in the hotel’s state-of-the-art gym with – you guessed it – sweeping views of the lush surrounds.
There’s also the idea of adventure, which would be a shame to neglect in a destination that conjures up images of rare and astonishing wildlife, as well as landscapes that, quite simply, must be seen to be believed. We’re always ones to get excited about relaxing vacations, but the thing with heading for a holistic retreat in a destination as exciting as Zambia is that once you’re there, you’re almost certainly going to want to head out and discover the land. The Anantara Royal Livingstone Hotel understands this need to get active and promises enough flexibility and add-on adventures to please the most thrill-seeking of travellers. And who knows – you might even rub shoulders with Tom Daley in the Devil’s Pool once he’s done winning medals. We hear he likes the water.
Photography courtesy of Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas