Samuel Dorsi - May 1, 2007
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The South African Republic has become a centre for medical tourism. Among the reasons for this is the high standard of medical care, the favorable (for most visitors) currency exchange rates, and the possibility for rest and relaxation after a surgery in a very pleasant environment.


In South Africa, tourists can go on safari or visit various national parks, and now spas have become popular. Spas are called Hydros in South Africa and there is a wide range of types.

"It"s about location," says Matthew Armstrong from the South African Tourist Board. "There"s such a variety of environments and the spas reflect this, whether it"s a vinotherapy spa in the wine region or a spa where the treatments are inspired by local tribes in the bush."

The location not only offers unique scenery but also determines the treatments offered by certain spas. A classic example is the offering of essential oils from the indigenous vegetation. When speaking about special treatments we can not omit mentioning the traditional African healer Dr Elliot Ndlovu who works at the Fordoun Spa Hotel. The hotel and spa buildings were originally farm buildings that have now been adapted.

Dr. Ndlovu throws bones to diagnose patient’s ailments, and believes that if their mind is suffering, so too will their body, so he has to fix both. He uses wild ganja and potato plant to make his potions. There are of course also more scientific approaches to medical treatments.

For example, Dr Fernandez is a South African plastic surgeon who created a range of skin creams containing significant amounts of Vitamin A, which he claims rejuvenate the skin.  South African beauty salons are also worth mentioning. Jo Foley, a spa author, claims that beauty therapists are exceptional in the South African Republic. "They have two years of intensive training which means they"re knowledgeable and experienced. Their expertise means they"re also sought after in British spas".

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