Offerings: Retreats, Vision Quests, Events


 Lalela Retreat Center in Magaliesburg, Gauteng 

This is now full!

African Centered Vision Quest  

March 20-25th 2020

Facilitator: Mbali Marais

for more info

The passage of time and demands of daily life can result in a sense of loss… loss of the sense of wonder experienced as a child… loss of dreams once so important… lapsing of a commitment to a path, purpose, or practice. In a vision quest, the rules, roles, and routines of normal life are left behind, and — in both simple and profound ways — we experience a resetting of our compass, a renewal of the core truths and commitments that serve to guide us through life. (unknown)
A vision quest is a powerful process that involves spending time in solitude in nature and includes fasting. Vision quests have been undertaken by people in diverse cultures for millennia and are a profoundly important practice that enables us to slow down so that we can actually feel the connection between our inner and outer nature.

What people are saying 

To make the commitment to undertake a Vision Quest is to explore your part in the awesomeness of creation.  It is both humbling, and empowering, and it is difficult to put into words the depth of the explorations and realisations which take place.  This is truly life changing work.  Mbali is an impeccable facilitator, her years of experience provides a powerful container for holding space with fierce integrity to birth powerful and long lasting shifts in one’s experience of self , and relationship to community for the greater good.   It is this masterful holding of space that makes the all-important integration of what is expereinced on the quest occur, getting to ever deeper levels of insight. This powerful experience has let me experience strength and courage I did not know I had, and has without doubt changed my life for the better. Dominique Santos Vision Quest Dec 2019

While out there on the land I was alone, I was deeply aware of being held by Mbali and her assistants, my fellow questers and my ancestors and spirits of the land. I am grateful for the incredible container that Mbali creates, by summoning up the healing energies to hold us and supporting us to go deep inside ourselves to gather and make visible the jewels from our experience. This work is truly profound, powerful, authentic and joyful.  M.M  Vision Quest 2019 

The Vision Quest has helped me find the “song that is your life” which Martha Postlewaite describes in her poem “Clearing”. The quest is not a retreat. It is not a trip. It is not a metaphor. It is a quest towards a deeper connection with nature, Spirit and self. A.M Vison Quest 2019 

I had never heard of vision quests and after previously participating in a Visioning Retreat facilitated by Mbali Marais at Lalela, I knew it was pointless to set any expectation. I cannot say when the work of the quest started, and even now, I can feel the power of this work, this homecoming, continuing. I was surprised by how fearless I was. The Quest raised my consciousness of the life around me, the healing potency of nature. I felt held and protected and I know for sure, I am not alone. It was clear to me that something bigger was calling to emerge. It was time for me to shake off the small self. The Vision Quest was all part of my being led closer to my true self and purpose. I have experienced tremendous healing through this process. I have learned to open my heart, to walk with clarity, and to live wholeheartedly. I finally recognise my personal power. Ndi livhuwa vho Makhulukuku (I give thanks to the ancestors). L.T. Vision Quest 2019 

Dharmagiri Retreat Center in Underberg KZN.


Meeting our Inner and Outer Wildness 

Awakening our True Nature

June 19-22nd 2020

The power of nature exists in its silence. Human words cannot encode the meaning because human language has access only to the shadow of meaning. Malidoma Patrice Some, Of Water and the Spirit

This retreat is a meeting with nature, into the wildness that exists within and outside of us. We will journey beyond the mask of social conditioning into authentic relationship with our inner wilderness, an entry point to our connection with the wondrous existence of this world.   With Nature as our alter we will draw from the Dagara cosmology of West Africa which acknowledges the seamless link between humans, nature and community.

We will ground our work together through transformative practices of silence,  journeying, deep listening, ritual, sit spots, and creativity to foster a holding space for our inward journey. Following nature’s law of ever changing life, death and rebirth we rekindle our relationship with the mystery that surrounds us everyday.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, we find it’s attached to the rest of the world. John Muir

Teachers: Mbali Marais and Maia Marie

For More info

Lalela Retreat Center in Magaliesburg, Gauteng 



A Celebration of Earth and Belonging

Thursday September  24 (Heritage Day ) – Sunday September 27 2020

They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” Unknown

Being born is validation enough and yet our sense of belonging and home is often sabbotaged by our not enoughness, our need for validation, and a feeling of being lost in the world. We often walk the path of the homeless looking for an identity a recognition and a place to bring our gifts to our community. Consumerism and scarcity has replaced nature’s law of abundance.

Following the Dagara tradition of 2020 being a significant earth year we invite you to be nourished and nurtured, held and seen in the beautiful Magaliesberg mountains at lalela. a place of listening.

In community, we will open a space for ceremony, meditation, storytelling and creative expression. Together how might we support each other to bring forth this deeper life alive within each of us so that we all thrive? When we thrive, not just exist, we are better able understand our great earth story and participate in the greater good, essential in our times. This is a gift to yourself, you deserve it.

Facilitators: Mbali Marais and Maia Marie



African Centered Vision Quest 

Dec 5th -10th 2020

The passage of time and demands of daily life can result in a sense of loss… loss of the sense of wonder experienced as a child… loss of dreams once so important… lapsing of a commitment to a path, purpose, or practice. In a vision quest, the rules, roles, and routines of normal life are left behind, and — in both simple and profound ways — we experience a resetting of our compass, a renewal of the core truths and commitments that serve to guide us through life. (unknown)
Vision Quests have been taken by many cultures since time immemorial. Solitude, fasting in nature, offers a sacred trinity  to the unbroken link to our origins. Everyone and every quest experiences are  different and yet the thread weaves seemlessly each time.  Remembering our authentic nature is found only when we re-member the primal bonds with Nature herself. And when that happens and our wildness is touched,  remembered, our medicine, the medicine we came in with, pushes through like the the unfurling new leaf on a twig sprouting through to the light after a forest  has gone. Your experience is enhanced by the environments I choose. The incredible mountains and rocks of the Cedarburg are powerful conduits for remembering and visioning. Nature is our primal teacher -reminding us of authenticity, life, death and rebirth. 

Facilitator: Mbali Marais 

Contact: Mbali,

Lalela Retreat Center Magaliesburg 


Honorable Closures and Mindful Beginnings 

Dec 30th -Jan 2nd 2020/21

Watch this space 


“Mbali is able to create a sacred space that  nurtures profound healing and insight. Her loving wisdom and intuition are catalysts for journeys into the deeper recesses of heart and spirit.” T.T



‘Your one wild and precious life’: A Visioning Retreat

Friday 28 June 2019 (6pm) – Monday 1 July 2019 (2pm) , Magalisberg Mountains, Johannesburg, South Africa 

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

Mary Oliver

with Mbali Marais and Maia Marie


We all carry dreams in our bones. This 3 day retreat, in the Magaliesberg mountain region, is a journey into remembering, re-visioning and re-imagining those dreams so we can live more fully through them.

We will begin by creating a space of holding to excavate the stories that have kept us stuck and on automatic – stories that have been passed down ancestrally and those that have been nurtured in this life.

Going into deeper territory and being held by stunning natural surroundings, we will immerse ourselves in gentle practices to reconnect to the thread of our own story, the diamond in the rough and uncover the gifts within us, that we long to share with our communities.

Lastly we’ll integrate these visions into the present, so that we may follow this thread as we bring our dreams into how we live our new story and re-imagine our relationship to our world.

You will be guided in this journey through a range of holding practices: Rituals in nature; Guided Meditation; Poetry and storytelling; Writing; Artwork: Sculpture; Vision boarding; Circle sharing; Nature immersion; Restorative yoga (optional)

About the facilitators:

Mbali Marais

Mbali is a global medicine woman and wisdom keeper, a voice for and awakener of the ancestors.

Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Mbali is a descendant of the Khoi Khoi peoples and the Amaghebe, Xhosa clan. Her ancestors are also French Huguenots, Bushmen, Dutch and Portuguese.

At three years old she was taken by her parents to live in London and in 1998 she moved to the USA. She is an initiated stick diviner in the Dagara tradition and worked with Dr. Malidoma Some from West Africa, who is a brilliant transmitter of African cosmology in the west. She is an also initiated an Igqira in the South African Xhosa tradition. Other teachers include, the late Dr Angeles Arrien, cross cultural anthropologist, and Michael Meade, mythologist and storyteller.

For the last 15 years Mbali has facilitated workshops, retreats, and deep nature quests that draw from ancient African practices. She has also spoken and taught internationally on holistic health and indigenous medicine. She is a writer, sacred journey, ritual and ceremony leader. Read more about Mbali on her website:

Maia Marie

Maia is a co-founder of lalela. a place of listening and guides its retreat programme. Her spiritual practice is as diverse as her identity, including meditation, writing, yoga, breathwork and being in nature. All these practices are vehicles for listening – to her body, spirit, ancestors and nature so that she can practice living with an open heart in her daily life.

Maia has worked with people in a variety of ways and contexts, in schools, NGOs and on retreats, through storytelling, writing and self expression to bring about connection to the Wild in ourselves and our environment. Her basic aim is to create spaces of holding, gentleness and kindness where we can all just be ourselves. Lalela is a living dream for her – beautiful and challenging

Your contribution

R2997. This includes: 3 nights accommodation in a shared room and all meals, tea, coffee, snacks; a teaching fee and contribution towards the travel of the teacher.

We have one discounted space available for this retreat. Please get in touch if you would like to attend and this is beyond your means.


Vision Quests


“Many Shamanic traditions hold the belief that any solitary time that is spent in nature for purpose of reflection and guidance reawakens us to our own life purpose and reremember the original medicine that is ours to offer to all creatures and human beings.” Angeles Arrien Ph.D

One of the most nurturing gifts you can give yourself is to spend three days and three nights in nature where timelessness releases you of the burden of the modern world, a place where you can rejuvenate and gain strength, a nurturing vortex into the divine.

“The Vision Quest experience was amazing, and I know will bear fruit for many years.” T.T

Next Vision Quest: Cedarberg Mountans, near Cape Town, South Africa December 2019 

*4 people maximum

When: December 13th-18th 2019

Contact Mbali: if this calls you. More details, cost and preparation will be sent on request.

Indigenous cultures called this Morning Star (work with self) Rainbow (work with another) and Medicine Wheel (work with groups/community). It is the work where we can reconnect with the losses of the Western world where we can find roots in a rootless society. Where nature teaches us about authenticity, change, transformation and the beauty of the cycle of life.

Although often associated with Native Americans, vision quests have been undertaken by people in diverse cultures for millennia. Drawing from African indigenous medicine this quest in South Africa is created for deep connection to self, Nature and the bringing of our gifts to the greater whole.

WHO GOES? AND WHY? — Though impossible to list them all, there are a few broad categories describing why people undertake a vision quest: a) As a rite of passage b) To discover their direction, gifts, purpose, or vision. c) For renewal or reconnection to something they’ve lost.

One’s gift or “medicine” reveals itself when an individual discovers his/her passion and a profound sense of purpose in serving their larger dream, in being a conduit or vehicle for its expression in the world. Realizing one’s calling provides a direction and compelling path that can hone one’s skills and develop one’s capacities. As the gift that keeps on giving it reverberates into the community.

As soon as I set up my tent, created my earth shrines, and sat down, I slipped into the ancestral memory of being barefoot on homeland.  In the forest I felt like a fish taking to water.   I could feel this ancient existence moving within my body,an old ancient African woman filled with wisdom, filled with knowing the mountains, the forest, the animals. I was completely at home.   Praying.  All day long I prayed.  And I loved praying everyday all day in such a way.  With such attention to my life, I realized that the only way to heal and connect to life is to be with nature, to connect to the elements of life —fire, water, earth, nature and minerals.  I walked the earth around my area, feeling ordinary, yet filled with the presence of the talking creek and the rustling of wind beneath my dress.  I heard in the wind, “Be divine in your own way.  Listen and you will know.” Zenju

The Outline of the structure cannot fully describe the power of a vision quest. It  is a vehicle a portal that transcends time. Two /three nights alone with a natural world that is precise, authentic and transformational cannot help but change you. A community is formed and the bond is indescribable. Work with self, another and community is the thread that weaves throughout the quest. Day one is spent together outside, we create a leaving behind ritual.

Day 2-4 is out on the land solo. Those at base camp pray 24 hours to support your visioning. Fasting opens the mind for visioning with no distractions. We welcome you back where your stories and wisdom are heard and held and reflected back. Practices of Integration/thru creative art and expression  are shared.

Quest Guide: Mbali Marais – has facilitated several Vision Quests in South Africa and the USA. As a guide she is able to tune into one’s gifts and through a variety of tools, that includes the natural world she gently draws them out to shine.

Masks we have been wearing gently fall away and we are left with our essential true nature. A threshold beckons you, are you ready to meet the warrior, the wise woman, the healer and the genius within? We share epiphanies, food, stories, and laughter mostly at ourselves, and a healing happens. And you are prepared to return to home.
Whatever path brings you here, hunger to go deeper, loss, crisis or maybe it was a sudden decision, or something that you knew you must do a long time ago, it is a message or call to mark a change a transition and renew the spirit. Thank you for hearing the call and taking action. The journey into the divine has already begun.

For information: Contact Mbali





Re- ignite the fire in your life and reconnect with ancestors as allies and your fire and passion.  Immerse in the waters of your life to find peace and reconciliation that cleanses and heals the losses. Root yourself into mother earth to transform scarcity mentality and not enough-ness into  the abundance that is rightly yours. Journey with ancient rocks, bones and minerals  to re- remember what we came here to do and our life’s work and  re-awaken into the magic and mystery of our  true nature to re-discover the beautiful authentic essence of our being.

Drawing from the healing wisdom of Africa and your creative cosmology, in a sacred space we explore the magic and mystery  of our lives. Deepening your connection to the five elements Fire, water , earth, mineral and nature, and  transformative arts, ritual, poetry, dance, art and journey, you step into your sacred beingness and unveil your dynamic potential. Integrate all that you are to bring to the world your divine medicine so the community can thrive.

Divine Medicine Retreats: We Will

  • Build community
  • Re light our creative fire and reawaken our passion
  • Immerse into the flow of the water of our lives for healing, peace and reconciliation
  • Return to the earth and transform homelessness into homecoming
  • Move from scarcity to abundance
  • Reconnect to the natural world and to our true nature
  • Journey with rocks, bones and mineral to re-remember our purpose and the medicine we came in with to share with the world.

December 21st 2012, Timbavati White Lion Home Lands;

Lighting of the Lights Ceremony

Our prayers were spoken into a bowl of water which held in it the Waters from the Sacred Womb of the Great Mother near Kuruman, South Africa and two very special crystals. One was known to clean waters and the other held the oldest waters from the Namibian desert. The powerful channels in the group reported a spiritual traffic jam, when the invocation began to welcome all worlds! Everyone wanted to come to the party, including a leopard that had been spotted quietly observing us! After all the prayers were collected we poured a libation, seeding the prayers onto the sacred homelands of the White Lions.

November 4,  2012 


About 25 people gathered at Zuma Beach, Pacific Ocean in Los Angeles where many water rituals have been performed by  Mbali Creazzo, Medicne Woman and Mandaza Kandemwe for personal and global healings. Our prayer on this beautiful balmy evening were for the healing of all waters, so that our waters may run clear of pollution, and contamination . That our Earth is nourished and nurtured. We sent our prayers to all the waters of the world.


Equinox Sunset 22nd September 2012

At Sunset on the the Spring Equinox, Mbali a decendant and healer of the Khoikhoi and Grique peoples of South Africa led a Lighting of the Lights Ceremony, as part of Watersonline’s global Ceremonys with others around the world for our waters and our Great Mother Earth. About 40 People showed up. Some of the group were with the Sacred Site Foundation Tour. http:/

We were at the  Great Motherstone on Logies Rocks Llududno,Atlantic Ocean,  Cape Town,  South Africa,  along with WaterSongline Mother Water Rising  Awakening our Vision Circles, along with others around the world… Prayers were seeded for renewing our contract to take care of earth, each one spoke their intentions into a bowl of Ocean water which was then returned to the Ocean. We were graced with the voices of a local group of exquisite singers led by Vusi  Tsham whose spirituals and acepella carried prayers across the waters.

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2 thoughts on “Offerings: Retreats, Vision Quests, Events

  1. What a beautiful and timely invitation, Mbali! Thank you for moving to Southern California! Thank you for leading groups and offering your guidance with individual divinations. I have moved so fast, so faaar on my healing journey just by keeping my ancestral altar alive and fed with water, fresh flowers and growing plants. The photos of my ancestors remind me of the goooodness which is my legacy as well as what needs to be healed. I am full. I give thanks.

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