Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Mangwanani African Spa is situated at the Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom on the North Coast of Durban and is just a fifteen minute drive from my home...so, it is literally on my doorstep, in fact I can see the Sibaya complex from my house.

My BFF, has on numerous occasions tried to coax me into enjoying the Mangwanani Moonlight Spa experience, but to no avail....but feeling somewhat embarrassed I finally agreed.

The reason for my hesitance was actually two fold.. "My Nightmare Pedi"  which I blogged about last year was given by an ex therapist from this spa chain. Read my post and you will understand my indifference. The other reason is that within the beauty industry these "massage therapists" and that is all they are, have unfortunately given the beauty therapist, a somewhat "bad" reputation and my nightmare pedi is just one example! So this is not a "Spa" in the true sense of the word as you will find, no, tweezing, steaming, extraction,waxing or nail treatments going on here, only massaging. I think it is important to remember this in order to enjoy the whole experience.

Unfortunately the weather, on the night we had booked for, was....atrocious! It was cold, windy and pouring with rain...which was a pity, as the usual Durban warm weather is key to the maximum enjoyment of the evening, as many of the massage treatments are performed in open sided thatch gazebos with wonderful views of either the sea or palm tree lined water features. After saying this, they are well equipped for the bad weather, as treatments were performed in rondavels and purpose built thatch huts, which all adds to this African experience. The only unfortunate thing about the rain, was whilst rushing between the treatment areas, dressed only in a fluffy white gown and white slippers... you soon found that the once pristine white slippers, soon became soggy and dirty! However they did provide umbrellas and a change of slippers often! I found it all quite amusing to see 60 clients and 60 employees scurrying around in the dark and dark it was....all part of the experience...maybe! Note to management - lights are needed!

Changing and Shower area

On arrival we were traditional greeted and taken to the change rooms, which are well equipped with showers, lockers, hair dryers , toiletries and plenty of clean towels...all the usual you would expect. The dining boma serves as the focal point of the evening,as this is where you return to, in between each 55 minute massage treatment, of which there are three. A strict order to the evening is followed, but at times we did feel  slightly rushed.

Biltong,dried fruit,crudites and dip

Chicken Roti and salad

Light snacks and refreshments on arrival @ 18:30

IZIMANGA (Heaven on Earth) Full Body Traditional Body Massage with Hot Stone Therapy

Return to dining area for Dinner with a Selection of Desserts.

MOLALA Ancient African Head & Neck treatment with Sesame Seed Oil

Return to the dining area for refreshment

NEO MAOTO (Foot Gift) Traditional African Royal Foot Massage(from toes to knees)
Rose Petal Wash, Sugar & Grape Seed Scrub, Mangwanani Massage Cream

Return to dining area for a glass of African Amarula and a chocolate

Spa evening ends at approximately 22:30 / 23:00

Bling bottle

You are also provided with your own "Blingy" water bottle, and a choice of lemon or cherry flavoured waters are on hand throughout the evening. Several fruit juices, coffees, teas and hot chocolates are also provided as part of the deal...sadly I just didn't have time to partake in a "hot Choc" much to my disappointment.

The staff were generally very attentive, but I could see that several of the sixty or so on duty that night were just going through the motions of this nightly ritual.....

Onto the treatments...the compulsory information and medical history cards are filled in at the beginning of the evening and prior to each treatment you are asked what strength of pressure you would like, either light,medium or strong...I opted for all medium strength massages.However I found this varied from girl to girl and on a couple of occasions requested her to ease up a little and for your info....I can take a good firm massage...thank goodness I didn't opt for the strong!

You're also able to choose which oils they use, either relaxing or revitalizing, but don't expect any specialized oils, as they are all premixed bulk "bog" standard oils....

Foot cleanse,exfoliation and massage

Hot Stone Back Massage

The foot massages are performed in tandem treatment huts with your partner or BFF in relative privacy, as is the hot stone body massage, but the head, neck and shoulder massage is performed in an open area along with thirty or perhaps even more of your fellow spa mates all sitting "bolt" upright in wicker chairs.....despite the massage being good...I wasn't too keen on this communal setting.

Whilst the massage therapies were enjoyable and relaxing, I did wonder as to the depth of knowledge that these girls actually had about any muscle groups that they were working on etc. as several of my questions went unanswered.

Despite some of my reservations, I have to admit, that I unexpectedly enjoyed the whole African Spa experience.It seemed to be enjoyed by all the other couples,some of which were celebrating wedding anniversaries, birthdays, hen nights or like myself, just an evening of self indulgence!

There were also some nice little touches, such as rose petals strewn over the tables and in the public areas, as well as fragrant candles burning in the treatment rooms and your hands are washed with Rose water upon re entering the dining boma, which all made for an evening of absolute pampering. You are also able to buy Mangwanani branded clothing and body products from their on site shop.

It was a pity about the rain and I would love to return on a warm summers evening with my "hubby".
By the way, this is a must for any overseas visitors, as they would surely love the whole African experience.

The cost for the above is R1099 per person, which I think equates to good value for money when considering all that was included.
You can find several of these spa's dotted around South Africa.They do also offer day and half day packages but do visit their website for more info  Mangwanani

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