Africa Asia South Africa Thailand

January Holidays: Well Being and Relaxation

Kamalaya Pool, Thailand

For the first installment of our ‘Where to go When’ we ask Sarah-Leigh Shenton of Red Savannah where is top of her list to beat those January blues.

Sarah-Leigh tells us, “I’m usually full of good intentions in January and it’s the obvious time to make a new start. I’m usually also feeling a little jaded and could do with an injection of favourable weather, though I’m no sun-worshipper and a beach with absolutely nothing to do for an entire week isn’t my idea of heaven. So, I’d head for one of the following to restore both body and soul”.


The mountain and river valley views from Ananda in the Himalayas provide the most perfect backdrop for early morning yoga or meditation, creating a blissful and welcome sense of calm. The retreat combines traditional Indian Ayurvedic therapies with international treatments and includes massage, diet, exercise, yoga and Vedanta. There are plenty of activities to ensure you don’t bored of stretching and meditating – you can learn to cook regional Indian cuisine, there are nature walks and trekking in the mountains, you can try white water rafting and there are various lectures.

Exercise session at Ananda, India

Exercise session at Ananda


Thailand is beautiful in January. Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary is a gem of a place and perfect for those seeking a little beach time as well as a little inner peace as it is set overlooking a pretty beach on Koh Samui. There are various programmes to choose from according to whatever you’d like to address: Stress & Burnout, Detox, Optimal Fitness, Sleep Enhancement and more. The Hilltop Yoga Pavilion is an open-air wooden platform set in a cradle of trees with views out to sea – complimentary Yoga sessions are held here as the sun rises each morning. There are two pools (a lap pool and a leisure pool), though some of the villas also have their own private pools. Cuisine is healthy but there’s no need to be a complete martyr – alcohol is allowed.

Kamalaya Pool, Thailand

Kamalaya Pool, Thailand

South Africa:

Karkloof Safari Spa ticks so many boxes it’s difficult to know which is the most attractive. Firstly, January is mid-summer in South Africa and it’s a fabulous time to go. Then there’s the spa, which has been voted the Best Safari Spa in Africa at the Good Safari Guide Awards. Guests may book up to 11 hours of treatments a day (the choice is vast), all included in their stay. There are extensive hydrotherapy options including a flotation pool, open air Jacuzzi and Roman bath and 17 treatment rooms, all with views over the African bushveldt. As you’d expect in South Africa, dining is excellent and if you want your well-being to include a glass of something from the excellent vineyards of Stellenbosch then you can, of course, do so. I’d combine a stay here with a few days at one of the &Beyond Phinda Game Reserve lodges to enjoy a traditional African safari spotting the Big Five.

The pool at Karkloof Safari Spa

The pool at Karkloof Safari Spa

Sarah-Leigh Shenton from Red SavannahAuthor Profile: Sarah-Leigh’s 22 years in the travel industry was inspired by a summer working a resort representative in the South of France and a two month ‘grand tour’ of Europe whilst a student. She loves her ‘desk job’ as a Marketing Director for luxury travel company, Red Savannah, but her wanderlust has never waned and she seizes every opportunity to swap a computer for a suitcase. Her travels have seen her crawling through Viet Cong tunnels in Vietnam, riding a horse across Monument Valley, watching the sun rise over the Annapurnas and island-hopping along Thailand’s Andaman Coast. Her most memorable travel experience was meeting a survivor of the Khmer Rouge years at Tuol Sleng in Phnom Penh.

All images are courtesy of Red Savannah

Red Savannah offers inspirational and experiential tailor-made holidays around the world.

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