Retail & Therapy
by Ranger, Pieter Van Wyk
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Perhaps you feel
exhausted after your long flight or overwhelmingly saturated after the sensory overload that was your first game drive. Perhaps your nerves were pushed to their limits when a lion looked at… nay, into you. Or, you are a little stiff after driving off-road as you followed a pack of Cape hunting dogs on the hunt, an exhilarating white-knuckle event. Maybe you simply need a little fix of your creature comforts. If that is the case then you’ll want to meet the wonderful members of our team who specialize in both massage therapy as well as retail therapy, like Mercy Ratabana.
Mercy was born and raised in a town called Tzaneen some 200kms to the north and west of Mala Mala Game Reserve. She met Bushy, her husband, in 1990 and he started working for MalaMala ten years later. Bushy does to our Land Rovers what Mercy’s hands do to the human body; he rejuvenates and revitalizes them. Yes, he is our mechanic extraordinaire but that is a story for another time. Mercy joined him here in 2005 and immediately entered a masseuse and safari shop assistant training programme. She completed that successfully and has since come full circle, from trainee to trainer and safari shop manager, without looking back. She loves both aspects of her work and revels in the therapeutic effects that both have on our guests.
We have recently partnered with Healing Earth – creators of premium natural skincare inspired by the wisdom of the African continent- to create bespoke treatments that reflect the healing plants, herbs and spices used in our ancient cultures and traditions. Our lovingly created journeys together with the healing power of nature work in harmony to induce a state of complete relaxation and wellbeing. Soothe your mind, body and soul in our massage room, in the comfort of your own room or, for a nature experience with a difference, on your room’s private deck.
Then there is Mercy’s other office; the Safari Shop. This is where you will find your retail therapy with a carefully selected collection of souvenirs that are bound to act as physical memories when you reminisce about your time in the African wilderness. There is a wide range of sought-after items from bush hats and clothing to leather and canvas designer bags, from handcrafted jewelry and tribal masks to expertly carved wooden sculptures and a variety of books. Some of these are more than just souvenirs; they are cultural items from a continent with a rich heritage.
Indeed, memories are the best souvenirs and travel is the best therapy but, if you feel like it’s a ‘add to cart’ kind of day or you feel like doing something for the health of it, then be sure get acquainted with Mercy or one of our other dedicated massage and retail therapists.
Many may just briefly glance at the accompanying photograph, momentarily appreciating the contrasting colours or the composition. Then there are a few who will turn green with envy at the very sight of it! This is one of the most sought after images that eludes almost everyone who dreams of adding it to their portfolio; a clear, sharp image of a two Woodland Kingfishers engaged in ‘wingspreading’. This is the most exaggerated visual signal of the species, a real display in several senses, lasting only a few seconds. Every year the Woodland Kingfisher is one of the first migrants to return as Mother Nature slips on her summer dress. Their call is unmistakable and can be heard throughout the day beginning with a loud high note that is followed by trills until it weakens away. It is known by some as the song of summer. They are plentiful and easy to spot once you know what to look and listen for but you’ll need all the luck in the world if you’re going to replicate this photograph.