No awakening of the senses

"The awakening of your senses is only a few days away". This caption accompanied the picturesque invitation to the launch of SanAquam, a unique spa nestled in the beautiful Drakensberg mountain range.

"The awakening of your senses is only a few days away". This caption accompanied the picturesque invitation to the launch of SanAquam, a unique spa nestled in the beautiful Drakensberg mountain range.

The invitation, with pictures of massage oils against a silhouette of the Drakensberg, tickled my exhausted senses.

Having been to the Drakensberg's World Heritage Site and surrounding areas a couple of times before, and having witnessed its immaculate, unmatched leisure and natural beauty, 16 excited journalists could not wait to hop into the shuttle and hit the N3 to KwaZulu-Natal.

Now, here's a bit of valuable advice for organisations and establishments, and anyone else who is in the business of trying to impress the media.

Unless you are dead sure that your vehicles are reliable and comfortable, do not bother organising a road trip.

Rather have your guests flown to the venue. Aeroplane engines might have been falling all over the place recently, but I still believe planes are quicker and stress-free.

The journey was painful and very long and could have made any good nun blasphemous.

First, the radiator of one of the shuttles had a problem and it needed water.

We had no choice but to donate our precious bottled water to replenish the dry tank.

For about five kilometres, the bus crawled along and eventually we spotted a petrol station.

We waited while a mechanic at the garage repaired the radiator.

As if that was not enough, the second shuttle broke down as well.

All the passengers from both shuttles had to squeeze into one bus. The trip, which should have lasted about three to four hours, took seven hours.

Irritated, hungry and exhausted, all we wanted was warm food and "the awakening" of our senses - relaxation, pampering and massage treatments with those exotic oils.

Late that afternoon, with rain pouring down mercilessly, the shuttle managed to trek up the magnificent Drakensberg to the destination, only to find host and TV presenter Lee-Anne Manas a few minutes from wrapping up the launch.

The SanAquam destination spa and private residents club is being developed to include a life-balanced retreat.

The holistic ancient system of health care of the Indian subcontinent called Ayurveda will be a special feature of SanAquam.

Ayurveda is said to keep the body in tune with the environment through lifestyle, massage therapy and yoga.

But at SanAquam, quite a lot still needs to be done before anyone can experience any of that wonderful healing.

Architect Andrew Makin presented slides of building plans, adding that the luxurious private residents' villas, with a private spa treatment room, will cost clients $1000 a night. Yes, that's about R7000.

"In the building industry, it is safe to say this will be completed this decade," quipped Makin.

I longed for a bath and some peaceful sleep, since the massage treatments were definitely not going to happen.

Waking up the next morning at the neighbouring Drakensberg Sun, I found myself completely healed by the scenic surroundings - beautiful lawns, lots of colourful and fragrant flowers and a lake.

All this against the backdrop of an imposing mountain range and fresh air blowing lightly through the door.

Ayurveda treatments or not, Mother Nature was waiting for me.

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