Last week Dan and I spent a quick second at the Hoogland Health Hydro, an alternative medical spa and retreat nestled in the picturesque Shurveberg Mountains. We found ourselves surrounded by incredible landscape with mountains as far as the eye can see, baboons barking in the distance, and flora-scented air. Although only a short distance from the city, an hour from Bryanston to be exact, the transition from concrete metropolis to off the grid seclusion was instantaneous.
The aptly named Hoogland, directly translated as highland, is situated on a 398 hectare property, Gauteng’s largest private game reserve. In the valley sits a rather interesting looking building; having been built and then renovated circa 1972, the architecture and decor remains virtually unchanged with the yellow wood, blue carpets and large glass windows. But it suits the story of an undisturbed paradise hidden in the mountains; of an unchanging constant in a fast-changing world.
Upon our arrival, we walked into a large entrance hall, so quiet and tranquil that I immediately felt relaxed and calm. After our orientation, we settled into our room, had some lunch courtesy of the all day buffet, and let our tummies settle while we purged the stress of the city in the saunas and heated jet pools. We signed up for an afternoon hike, one of two guided nature walks provided daily at Hoogland Health Hydro. Led by very knowledgeable guides, each afternoon we climbed up and around the mountains, learning about the extensive plant and animal species of the Hoogland area.
One day we followed a troop of baboons who were making their way home for the evening. I had never seen a baboon in real life, and was astounded by the size of the animal when I got a close enough look at it. Both majestic and intimidating, we watched from the sidelines whilst they ran up and down the rocky terrain as if it was their playground. Unfortunately we could never get close enough to snap a good picture of them. However, we did manage to photograph the inquisitive eland that began to follow us on our way back. We also saw blue wildebeest, zebra and red hartebeest.
When we weren’t hiking or shooting for my previous post, Dan and I would take full advantage of the spa’s facilities, complete with saunas, eucalyptus scented steam rooms, jacuzzis, and pools. Dan even enjoyed a relaxing body massage on our last day. But Hoogland is more than just a spa. Equipped with medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, biokineticists, and nutritionists, Hoogland Health Hydro aims at healing you from the inside too. They focus on detox, stress management, and health and well-being, also offering a range of classes such as yoga, informal dance, and breathing and meditation.
But probably the most intrinsic health benefit of the Hoogland Health Hydro is their mineral water. Situated in an ideal catchment area, the hydro harnesses rainwater that is naturally filtered by layers of dolomite rock, cleansed of impurities and naturally infused with high levels of Calcium and Magnesium which they bottle at the source as still and sparkling water.
Last but not least, I must make mention of the food, which was incredible and essentially available 24 hours a day. After a long hike, we’d rinse ourselves off in the indoor pool and head barefoot to the dining room for a feast. My favourite was Meat-Free Monday, I stuffed my face with the best mushroom risotto I have ever tasted (I had three bowls).
I would like to say thank you to the Hoogland team! Everyone I interacted with was extremely warm and helpful, and I felt very well taken care of. I can’t wait for my next visit!