One of the hardest things about living at The Cavern is trying to keep on top of all the little happenings in this resort! There are many activities, loads of staff, numerous guests and much on the go. One hardship is checking on the Spa… (ha! ha!) Recently we have trained 5 new massage therapists. Each of these ladies are having a 2-month stint in the Spa to hone their skills and develop their techniques. And, it’s vital that we keep an eye on the progress.

So, this morning I wandered down the hill, past the Ferngrove rooms to the Forest Retreat Spa. The Spa is nestled in the tree-tops of our indigenous Fern Forest and the setting alone is spectacular. The warm sunshine fills the rooms, the cascading Puterill Spruit can be heard below and there are birds and the occasional bushbuck around. This is certainly a space I’d like to get lost in…. I tell the ladies at the Spa how incredibly lucky that they get to call this their office!

I was to have a full body massage by Malefu. Malefu is from the Amazizi community and has been a housekeeper and nanny at The Cavern for several years. She was thrilled to have been selected for training and she walks with incredible pride and purpose in her smart Spa attire.
Joining us in the treatment room was Nozipho. Nozipho has 10 years of experience as a therapist and was one of the first ladies to receive training at The Cavern. She had previously worked as a nanny in our Playroom. Nozipho is tall, with a beautiful smile and has a lovely presence in this department. I have always been in awe of the strength of her hands. She massages deeply and finds all the tight and nasty spots.

I was in to be the critical client, Malefu was the training therapist and Nozipho was to oversee the treatment. I made a few comments here and there but as I lay on the plinth my mind wandered… Ideas, ideas and more ideas. We have so many women in our community that have these incredible hands. Hands that are made for working and massaging. But, it isn’t just massage, it provides relief and recovery and regenerates the body. These are no ordinary hands, they are healing hands.

We have a high unemployment rate in rural Drakensberg region. We have a tourist industry that must grow and we have a resource in the people. Why can’t we join the dots and make more happen? When we started our Spa in 2007, we didn’t know how successful it would be. We have trained 15 ladies in the past 10 years, all from our community. Some have moved on, some have come back and others are just waiting in other jobs for a chance to be full-time therapists. It is a step-up for these women and we could have little retreats dotted all over the valley!

And, what about our own community? Aren’t there people locally that could do with bright, Spring coloured toes? Or elderly that could do with a rub? There are those that have the resources to pay towards this little luxury. We should be identifying needs everywhere and we should be creating jobs to fill them.

Here’s to Spring and new ideas in tourism month!

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