The Magic of Retreating in the Wilderness

by jabulani safari blog

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On our recent wellness retreat at Jabulani, we were so inspired by the teachings of yogi and life coach, Denise Sohandev, our retreat leader, and by the spirit of the guests gathered together in our wilderness home. We wanted to share an insider’s view with you of this special journey, so left the words to Denise this time. Take a look below.

By Denise Sohandev.

“Did you know,” said one of my guests “that the Marula tree is unique in that it is able to heal its bark when the elephants strip it?” We’d just finished our first meditation, sitting under the marula tree waiting to meet Jabulani, Somopane and Sebakwe. Nobody said anything for a few moments as we took that in. Here we were, four ladies and me, embarking on our own healing journey in the African bush. So many times I’ve said to my clients over the years, “everything you need is already within you” and here we were, in the shade of the Marula tree with evidence that healing comes from within.

Wellness retreat

It set the tone for the retreat, a community of strangers who became friends as they began their own healing from within. Retreating in the bush can only be described as life-changing. Early morning yoga, listening to the sounds of the world around us awakening, coffee and cookies as we head out on safari, the wind in our hair and joy in our hearts. But of course when we look out around us we see how nature goes through cycles of growth and decay and regrowth and we are urged to do the same within ourselves. Most people come on a retreat to remember themselves because somewhere along the way they forgot, they forgot that we were meant to have a full human experience of love, joy, heartache, contentment, sadness, peace, anger and everything in between. At Jabulani we create that safe container to remember it all.

The highlight of this retreat for me, was the silent safari. It was truly incredible to notice the sounds of silence, how much more we see and hear around us and how much more we hear within us. The surprise was how everyone was able to completely let go of responsibility for everyone else. So often, we’re so busy thinking about everyone else’s experience that we forget to just be. The silent safari allowed us the space to sink into ourselves. Not needing to answer to or for anyone else, it was truly liberating. Of course, when you’re a ranger and you’re filled with immense knowledge and you want to share it a silent safari is excruciating – hats off to Juan for being such a sport and indulging us in our mission.

Perhaps the best magic of retreating into the beauty of the bush is the space for vulnerability and sharing. We live in a world where we spend so much time hiding parts of ourselves, perfecting the persona that is acceptable to those around us, to society. But when we head into the bush, we see how we are meant to be. The lion roars loudly, the giraffe stands tall, the warthog trots with confidence. Each knows they have strengths and weaknesses and nobody pretends. And we find ourselves doing the same. That kind of vulnerability is uncomfortable, but the growth is magical and when we strip away all the layers, all that’s left is our true selves and there’s no better place for the authentic Self than under the marula trees, surrounded by the magic of the African bush. The perfect place to remember just who we are.

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