Playful fitness retreats with a large dose of Vitamin D at luxury secluded villas
Best for: Anyone who wants to shape up in the great outdoors – guests range from 20 to 70
Not for: Those who can’t bear heat – the sun can be intense in Zanzibar
Takes up to 14 guests
Wildfitness’s exotic fitness holidays on Zanzibar feature daily workout sessions and mindful movement on a long and gorgeous sandy beach to get you feeling lean and energetic in a natural way. There are also wild talks, delicious healthy meals and supremely comfortable bedrooms at your luxury base, White Sand Villas and Spa resort, where you can reconnect with nature, enjoy the sunsets and dose up on Vitamin D in style. A true antidote to hectic urban living.
After a day running, lifting rocks and climbing trees you can enjoy a private outdoor hot tub, a deeply comfortable bed and dining under the stars. The location here is spectacular too – reefs on the south-east coast of the island are teeming with richly diverse marine life, the Jozani forest is a tropical wonderland and designated area of conservation home to the endemic Red Colobus Monkey.
This is not an exclusive location – you will share the resort with holiday makers, though your base is a private villa. While you will have plenty of time to rest and rejuvenate, there isn’t time to explore the local cultural or historic sights of Zanzibar – stay on or come out early if that’s your intention.
Wildfitness will lead you in a range of daily activities in line with their wild ethos to get you moving, eating and living in a more wholesome way. Most fitness activities take place the long white, sandy beach of Paje.
The hand-picked coaches are skilled at working with every individual’s ability, no matter how fit they are, and there’s no sense of competition. There are individual movement assessments at the start and end of the course, and you’ll have a follow-up Skype call with a Wildfitness coach to help provide advice on how to keep ‘wild’ once back home.
Wildfitness coaches teach skills that we as a species we would have needed to survive and which consequently allowed us to evolve. It’s a true antidote to our anti-movement culture, where technology allows us to avoid movement on all levels and our psyche and physiology don’t thrive, and though the movements may take a bit of getting used to, your sense of achievement after is likely to be sky high.
There are morning movement sessions that focus on whole body mobility, co-ordination, strength and awareness, and during the course of the week you’ll have sessions on jumping, balancing, vaulting and the art of falling (you’ll engage muscles you never knew you had!) and on climbing, hanging and arboreal locomotion (climbing on rock or in trees was common for our ancestors and our bodies have evolved to be skilled at it – apparently!).
Later, you’ll be taught how to lift, carry and throw safely and effectively, when you’ll find those gym sessions that focused on strengthening one set of muscles don’t help when it comes to non-linear movement (not to worry, help is always at hand!). Interaction with your fellow guests is key too, and through ‘roughhousing’ and striking/boxing sessions you’ll start to recognise your strengths and limitations whilst keeping it playful rather than competitive.
The week ends in a dodecathlon (12 movement) obstacle course that incorporates running, swimming, balancing, carrying, throwing, lifting, crawling patterns, brachiating, jumping, vaulting, climbing and a little bit of walking (albeit on a slackline!) when you’ll be astonished at what you can achieve.
Wildfitness sessions are totally immersive and the team stresses the need to be mindful (present and focused) when moving. It is this focus that in many ways differentiates them from a gym environment, where you can lift weights without paying attention to form or run on a treadmill without looking at where you are going. Moving in nature requires your full attention – and it’s a hugely liberating experience.
You’ll learn The Art of Running in a workshop that focuses on the biomechanics needed for efficient running, and later in the week take part in a wild run that takes advantage of Zanzibar’s spectacular natural features in the form of rocks, bush and trees and man made in the form of walls, tracks and the like, jumping, vaulting, climbing and swinging your way along.
All the activities take place outdoors, and various sessions will have you tuning into the wild nature around you and helping you to reconnect to yourself, to one another and awakening senses that have been over-stimulated or worn out by artificial environments. You’ll have a session on the power of breath and an introduction to free diving when you can tap into your mammalian diving reflex. During the week you’ll also be swimming or kayaking.
There are various talks throughout the week to help you understand the wild way of living, moving and eating in a naturally balanced way, covering the need for movement, good nutrition and rest. You’ll also have a session on mindset, which encourages you to take the bubble wrap off yourself and introduce challenge back into your life to ensure you’re still adapting, evolving and resilient.
You’ll have a complimentary deep tissue massage during your week, and can book other treatments at the spa here too. As a Wildfitness guest, you also have access to the resort’s steam room and sauna, and there is a jacuzzi and a small pool attached to the villa for you to use at any time, as well as a large swimming pool near the main restaurant.
Bring swimwear that’s appropriate for a game of volleyball or a long distance swim. The hotel provides plug adaptors. ATMS are not readily available on the island, so bring what cash you need to the resort.
When to Go
Wildfitness retreats run during the European winters, when days are reliably warm and sunny and you’ll be able to bask in heat and soak up giant doses of Vitamin D.
You eat privately in the grounds of the Presidential villa and once during the week at a spectacular fish restaurant further along the coast. The White Sand chefs work with menus developed by Wildfitness nutritionist Tatu Bearcroft so you get three deliciously, healthy and fulfilling meals each day. Menus are inspired by Zanzibar, ‘The Spice Isle’, and use locally sourced produce with many greens and herbs grown on site.
In the morning you can have eggs cooked to your preference along with yogurt and fresh fruit. For lunches and suppers, as you’re right on the coast, fish is the freshest source of protein, beautifully seasoned and baked or grilled to your taste. Meat is also served on occasion, and all dietary requirements can be catered for if you notify them in advance.
You will only be served naturally occurring sugars found in fruit, dried fruit, honey or agave. Dried fruit and nuts are available to snack on throughout the day. No alcohol is served.
White Sand Villa and Spa strives to preserve and enhance the naturally rich landscape of Zanzibar with unobtrusive architecture designed around existing fauna.They recycle as much as they can, and grow organic fruits and vegetables for use in their menus.
White Sand Villas & Spa, Paje Beach, Zanzibar
Transfer Time: 1 hour (complimentary)