The rapidly growing African ‘wellness in the wilderness’ concept ties in a traditional safari with activities such as yoga, meditation and spa treatments.

In November ‘wellness in the wilderness’ was identified as the most significant new trend to emerge in African travel by the World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2016.

The concept combines a traditional safari with activities such as yoga, meditation and spa treatments.

Such experiences, the report said, were typically booked by older, moneyed holiday-makers yearning for "more than just a typical African getaway". These travellers want to "gain life-enhancing skills through activities that can be applied to everyday life, offering a richer holiday experience".

The emergence of this trend in Africa has been a long time in coming. New York-based Pravassa, which claims to be the world’s first wellness travel company, was founded by Linden Schaffer in 2009, when she traded a fashion career to take travellers on "healthy experiential journeys" to the likes of Vietnam and Costa Rica.

Pravassa’s success is part of a groundswell that has seen the global growth of wellness travel outpacing conventional international travel by a whopping 74% in 2014, according to The Global Wellness Summit.

It’s an apt time for the first Africa-based wellness-focused travel company, Satori Africa, to open its doors. Headquartered in Cape Town, the company puts together custom-made itineraries that combine sightseeing, luxury accommodation and gastronomy with as many as 40 different wellness experiences, including yoga, life-coaching, Ayurveda, Reiki, Pilates and meditation — all guided by the leading experts.

Satori founder Mark Bland believes that connecting with Southern Africa’s natural beauty is a significant source of wellbeing. "There is something truly restorative and soulful about just being immersed in and feeling the beautiful simplicity of Africa – the sight of the sunsets, the smell of the ocean air, the taste of the local produce, the touch of the sand and the sounds of the bush," he says.

This is a shortened version of an article that first appeared in Business Day.