In the Wild Coast region of the Eastern Cape you’ll find Chintsa, a village that’s been left to flourish in all its natural glory. Here, an ode to the region is personified in Prana Private Beach Estate & Spa, perfectly situated in the calm and stillness of the rolling hills and ocean setting.
The drive from East London Airport to the lodge serves as a smooth transition away from the buzz and bustle of the city. The greenery, which falls away on either side of the road sets the tone for what’s to come: an African wonderland.
“Prana”, the Sanskrit word meaning “life force” is what Gail Davidson and her husband Tim were seeking when they settled in the area after a health scare. What gave them a new lease of life is what guests return for time and again: an energy that revives and balances body, mind and spirit.
The family holiday home became a family-run five-star lodge with eight private luxury suites.
Having been warmly welcomed, we were shown to the lodge’s dining area. The lodge’s architectural design was influenced by the Davidson’s travels to Asia. Unobtrusive structures of wood, concrete and glass seamlessly blend with the indigenous vegetation they’re nestled in. Each suite – unconventional for a beachside establishment, with Persian carpets and dark wood furniture – is equally surprising and beautiful. They’re the perfect private spaces that you’ll love to retire to.
The lodge was built by the very people who now serve guests, allowing for sustainable employment after the estate’s construction. Staff members are professionally trained, and the careful consideration and elegance with which they cater to guests ensures you feel at home.
Executive chef Jaycee Ferreira runs the restaurant. His menu showcases his creative flair, with daring fusions of true South African flavours and classic dishes, reimagined with innovative world-class techniques. A simple tomato soup with shaven biltong garmish, for example, is the perfect union of two worlds.
The recently revamped wellness spa offers unparalled pampering from exceptionally trained women from African Angels, an organisation that trains and empowers women from impoverished backgrounds.
A strong ethos of striking a balance in providing a luxury experience while developing surrounding communities is clear. The meticulous care invested in the warm interactions with guests to the unique deco pieces from Gail’s personal collection leaves guests feeling renewed, with a sense of perfect equilibrium.
What to do:
Laze around at the secluded lodge or take a walk along the beach, which is a stone’s throw away. For beer-lovers, the Emerald Vale Brewery, situated on a farm between the Chintsa and Cefani Rivers, is just 10 minutes away. It offers an in-depth walk through the brewery and samples of delicious, pale-gold, amber or dark ale, which the German tourists who visited on the same day as I did heartily approved of.
How to get there:
Fly into East London Airport where a shuttle can be organised to fetch guests for the 40-minute drive to the estate.
A stay in the Diamond Suite, the estate’s most luxurious offering, starts at R3 600 pp/n sharing for full board. Other suites, such as the Forest Suite, start from R2 750 pp/n sharing.
Photographer: Chanté Davies