Amble through the lush pastures that cover the rolling hills and valleys of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and you’ll find yourself at Fordoun, transformed from an old dairy into an holistic spa and healing retreat.
This celebrated accommodation is not only a haven for the work-weary, but it is also home to an internationally-acclaimed holistic spa that uses old world charm and treatments to bring the body, mind and soul back into balance.
Therapies here include Reiki, aromatherapy body and bath treatments, frangipani body wraps and Inkomfe African Potato healing wraps, seaweed treatments, as well as deeptissue, Swedish and Ndukuduku massages. There’s also a rasul — a Turkish steam and clay treatment room, which is great for not only relaxation, but also for removing toxins and skin impurities.
Awarded Best Destination Spa
Awarded Best South African Destination Spa at the Professional Beauty Gala Awards in 2006, the holistic spa also boasts a saline flotation pool in the old grain silo. People come to float in the dense salt water to experience a deep sense of relaxation, all the while relieving stress, aches and pain.
Set in nature, Fordoun embraces its surroundings in just about everything it does, including in the KwaNdlov, a Zulu spiritual area known as the place of Ndlovu. Here, under the guidance of traditionaldoctor, Elliot Ndlovu, more 140 varieties of traditional healing plants are grown. Dr Ndlovu, who is a herbalist and ethnobotanist, offers consultations for spiritual and medicinal healing using African wisdom and herbal remedies.
Holistic Spa Healings
Under Dr Ndlovu’s guidance, the holistic spa developed a range of signature natural and organic beauty products, carefully created from indigenous traditional healing plants. The range includes soaps, shower gels, massage oils, bath salts, creams and sprays, based on the theme of the body’s seven energy centers, or chakras, and the seven colours of the rainbow.
I caught up with Dr Ndlouvu to get an insight into his life purpose of assisting people through the transformation process of stress to calm and illness to health…
What are the most common dis-eases you treat?
Mostly diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity. The sort of diseases which are caused by modern unhealthy living and junk foods. There are however many and varied diseases which I am consulted about. I also deal with emotional and mental issues. I am both an Inyanga (traditional medicinal healer) and Sangoma (spiritual healer). I can not cure diseases like AIDS, but I do consult about lifestyle choices to prevent them occurring.
What are some of the traditional herbs you use at the holistic spa?
There are many hundreds of herbs. They work according to knowledge passed on to me by my ancestors. Some are simple others are a complex mixture. Some are taken by mouth, some as teas, inhaled as steam, or by enema.
Why are herbs so important in bringing us back to balance?
They are natural. They are mainly non addictive.
Are there any native South African herbs that are revered for their beauty-giving properties?
One is not a herb, it is African Clay, either whites or reds, which are used to protect and nourish the skin as they have micro nutrients and trace elements which are detoxing and beneficial. African Potato extracts and Leonotis Leonorus extracts are both highly nourishing and repairing for damaged or irritated skin. The White Stinkwood bark is also a very much used skin beautifier.
How did you begin working with herbs?
My ancestors called me when I became a traditional healer in 1997. I was given the name Maluleka which means “he who teaches and advises”. My calling is to give guidance and advice on the preservation and protection of our natural traditional healing plants, many of which are threatened by unsustainable harvesting from the wild.
How does African wisdom and health care differ from that of modern health care?
It is just traditional wisdom, passed on from generations and the ancestors. Mine is a spiritual calling. And my knowledge is from the past and the spirits.
What are some important herbs that people could incorporate into their every day?
Artemesia Afra, a cleansing tea, also used for clearing the respiratory system. Incomfe (African Potato) which has anti cancer properties and strengthens the immune system.
How does a consultation with you usually work?
When I am approached for a consultation I will be with the guest or client in my consultation room. I will burn Impepho (dried Helichrysum) which draws the ancestors. I then throw the bones and they tell me what the ancestors have to say. The client may have further questions and I answer them with my ancestors guidance. After a consultation I will prepare the necessary herb medication/s and instructions if necessary.
Do you do consultations at a distance?
No. You better fly to KwaZulu Natal in South Africa!
How important is it for you to use organically grown herbs?
It is of utmost importance. The herbs have acquired their properties from nature and particular soil types and minerals. Artificial fertilizers and protection such as pesticides can destroy or weaken the very active ingredients which heal.
Find out more at www.fordoun.com