When my colleague and I were invited to visit a luxury rehab center in South Africa, I was intrigued. I had been to the continent of Africa once before, but never to South Africa. I knew it would be a fun place to visit, but what I quickly discovered upon arrival is that it is an ideal place for recovery.
Although a long flight across the Atlantic, there are 2 U.S. airports (JFK and Atlanta) and numerous other major European and Asian cities offering direct flights to Johannesburg, South Africa. The airport in Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo International) is the busiest African airport and was completely renovated and expanded for the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted in South Africa. It was nicer and had more shops and restaurants than most U.S. airports I've been to!
Once we arrived in Johannesburg we had two options to get to White River Manor. One option is a pick up by White River Manor directly at the airport in a luxury van for about a 2.5 hour drive to the center. Or, the second option, which we chose, is to take a 45 minute connecting flight to the Kruger/Mpumalanga airport and White River Manor will pick you up for the 15 minute ride to the center. With connecting flights basically on the hour, we were able to pick the perfect time for the connection and found that option to be extremely convenient.
We arrived at the Kruger airport and I knew right away we were in a special place. Since this airport is the gateway to the world famous Kruger National Park, the terminal is built to look like an African lodge, and the interior and exterior are African themed, with lots of information about the "Big Five."
Within minutes, we were met by a White River Manor staff member who helped us with our bags and loaded them into a luxury Mercedes van. On the quick ride to the centre, we were able to take in the surrounding beauty of this part of South Africa. A lot of rolling hills and farmland. The climate and scenery reminded us of time spent in Napa Valley, California.
We turned off the main road and after a few more minutes saw the entrance to White River Manor. Once past the main gate, the driveway runs through a grove of tall trees, and then leads to the main building. The main building's front room is where clients first check in and has a welcoming, yet modern style.
As we began to tour the grounds and surrounding buildings, I was immediately struck by the perfect serenity that is offered in this place. Thousands of miles away from home, I felt completely comfortable and immediately refreshed. As we sat and talked on the patio with the owner, Jerry Hartless, and other members of the team, I recognized another element that is sometimes missing from luxury centers: excellent service. Staff checked in with us frequently to make sure that our needs were met, bringing us lattes, and giving us a menu to choose which course we preferred for the upcoming meal.
The Story Behind White River Manor
The location of the center was formerly a 5-star boutique lodge that was well regarded in the area. Jerry, a successful American businessman who had his own struggles with addiction in the past was looking to start a luxury rehab centre in South Africa. So when the property came up for sale, he purchased the property and transformed it into the world-class centre it is today. While there we were able to hear his and his team's vision for offering luxury treatment that has better accommodations and better customer service at a fraction of the price of U.S. luxury centers.
A Personalized Program
White River Manor provides a highly personalized program, and is a great fit for executives who might need more flexibility from a treatment program than others. While 28 days is a very short time for rehab, White River Manor has structured a program that makes full use of that time and when there is buy in and drive from the client they have seen great success.
Enjoying an African Experience
A key piece of the program is the excursions clients go on to enjoy being in Africa. Whether it's a safari in Kruger National Park, white water rafting, traditional African dancing, mountain biking, the team helps clients make the most of being in South Africa! While we were there we had the opportunity to enjoy a safari in the neighboring Kruger National Park. So cool!
Check it out for Yourself!
After having spent a few days at White River Manor myself, I highly recommend it to people who are open to traveling for rehab. If you are, the benefits are well worth the trip! If you have any specific questions about what White River Manor is like feel free to send me an email at [email protected] or check out White River Manor's international page which gives more details about their international program.