Four Unique High Desert Retreat Destinations (Outside the US)
WeTravel is thrilled to support the Sedona Yoga Festival, a unique opportunity for us to come together as a community in one of the most striking natural environments on earth. Here, shifts in knowledge and perception are amplified by the landscape’s visual beauty and intentional energy; the transformative potential of the experience is similar to what one might expect on retreat. So, if you return home from your weekend in Sedona called to take your practice on the road, check out these four off-the-beaten path retreat destinations. All evoke the Arizona landscape in different ways, yet each offers its own distinct sense of place and local energy.
The Spitzkoppe, Namibia
The Spitzkoppe, also known as the “Matterhorn of Namibia” is a group of granite peaks located between the towns of Usakos and Swakopmund in the Namib desert of Namibia. All around the Spitzkoppe, hundreds of bushmen rock paintings can be found. While some have been damaged by vandalism, among those that remain are ancient depictions of rhinos, who roamed the area long ago. For yogis who also enjoy hiking and climbing, Spitzkoppe is an ideal retreat location; terrain can be found to please all levels of mountaineers. And for those that would like to see more of the Namibia’s highlights, Etosha National Park’s wildlife and the Skeleton Coast’s inland shipwrecks are easy side-trips.
Cappadocia is known for its distinctive “fairy chimneys,” tall, cone-shaped rock formations. These chimneys soar above an extensive network of cave dwellings carved into valley walls; they were originally constructed as Bronze Age homes, and much later used by early Christian populations in hiding. Many small, richly-frescoed cave churches from this period remain intact. Today, many of these cave homes remain inhabited, forming small villages spread across the hilly, arid region. Don’t miss the sight of thousands of hot air balloons surveying the landscape at dawn, or the sound of the call to prayer ringing through the cave architecture five times daily.
Uluru / Ayer’s Rock, Australia
Uluru (also called Ayer’s Rock) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the south of Australia’s Northern Territory, approximately 450km from Alice Springs. Uluru is sacred to the Aborigonal Pitjantjatjara Anagu people, and figures prominently in their creation stories and epic tales. The rock outcropping is home to an abundance of springs, waterholes, rock caves, and ancient paintings. While striking at any time of day or year, it appears to change color by the hour and season and glows its reddest at dawn and sunset. Uluru’s remote location makes it an ideal choice for retreat groups looking for an “off-the-grid experience,” yet rising tourism to the area also means increasing choice in terms of accommodation.
Petra, called the “Rose City,” because of the color of the rock from which it is carved, has been inhabited as far back as the fourth century BCE. Control over the area has passed from the hands of the Nabateans to the Romans, the Byzantines to the Crusaders. Petra was named a Unesco World Heritage site in 1985 and voted one of the “new” seven wonders of the world in 2007. The complex’s striking stone-carved buildings are especially dramatic at night, when they are lit only by thousands of individually-placed candles. Petra is easily accessible from the major city of Aqaba on the Red Sea, which is home to white-sand beaches and excellent diving sites.
Jen Cronan Corley
Director of Development | Wellness | WeTravel.com
“We’ll be at SYF with information about our payment & registration platform for retreats and training. We work with individuals, studios, teacher training schools, travel companies, and other organizations to help them manage the enrollments, administration, and communications required in connection with these offerings. We’d love to hear about your upcoming retreats and share some resources that could support your efforts. Check out our two-minute intro video at tri.ps/WhatIsWeTravel.”