Strong Heart Retreats and Nature guiding


I facilitate transformative experiences in beautiful places, to help you connect with nature.

I also offer a knife sharpening service.

Contact me to run a personalised nature connection programme for you in any suitable location in Southern Africa.


Specialist nature guiding

From a mindful stroll in a botanical garden to a challenging hike through indigenous forest, I offer personalised nature adventures for families, individuals and groups of all ages, revealing the beauty, wonder and wisdom of nature.

“Concepts create idols, only wonder grasps anything”.
Gregory of Nyssa

“…we are most animated when our days and nights on Earth are touched by the natural world. We can find immeasurable joy in the birth of a child, a great work of art, or falling in love. But all of life is rooted in nature, and a separation from that wider world desensitizes and diminishes our bodies and spirits. Reconnecting to nature, nearby and far, opens new doors to health, creativity, and wonder. It is never too late.”
Richard Louv

Nature therapy and Forest bathing

Guided experiences in nature, intentionally structured to reduce stress and anxiety, and to promote mental well-being. In these restorative encounters, nature is the primary therapist.

What is Nature Therapy?

Worldwide research is revealing what we intuitively know – that nature experiences positively affect people.  Scientifically measurable benefits include reduced stress levels, improved clarity and creativity, burnout prevention and recovery, and lower blood pressure. Internationally, guided nature therapy now forms part of many wellness and recovery programs.

What is Forest bathing?

Forest bathing is a form of nature therapy that originated in Japan, where it is is known as Shinrin-Yoku, meaning ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’. Simple unstructured time in a wooded environment, connecting directly with nature through the senses, leads to measurable health benefits and a sense of calm. 

I offer Nature therapy and Forest bathing for individuals and groups. Contact me to book a session. 

“That was transcendent.”
Participant on a guided forest walk in 2019.

“Finding meaning, beauty, and strength in nature is something that has become second nature to me, thanks to many a walk in the bush with John.”
Daniel Dix

Strong Heart retreats

Strong Heart retreats are the core of our work and where we have seen the deepest transformation. These are nature-based retreats to help you find strength, direction and clarity on life’s journey. Contact me to organise a retreat for you, or join one.

I have a particular interest in helping men find purpose and heart strength through time in nature and wilderness settings. Contact me to organise a men’s day out or a longer men’s wilderness experience.

“Strong hearts and wild places. No-one I know does them as well as John.”
Len de Beer

“John Roff is a gentle and wise guide for those who want to deepen their spiritual journey. He is attuned to the still small voice of the Spirit, and has a way of helping people to reconnect with their deepest selves, God, and the wonder of the natural world”
Sharon Grussendorff

All people, of any or no religion, are welcome at our events.


Upcoming Events


Men’s retreats

In many spiritual traditions, men find enlightenment outside the city, in the wilderness.

Contact me to talk about a men’s retreat for you or your group.


Where we work

Cumberland Nature Reserve
Karkloof forests and private nature reserves
Pietermaritzburg Botanical Garden
Durban Botanical Gardens
Makaranga garden lodge
Hilton College private nature reserve 
Umgeni Valley nature reserve
Any other natural areas which have the right sense of place.


Our Story

My name is John Roff. I’m married to Jo, we have 4 children, and live in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

I’m a Specialist Nature Guide and have spent my professional life helping people experience and enjoy the wonder and beauty of the natural world. Time and again I’ve seen people refreshed, healed and restored at the deepest levels through the wonder and wisdom of nature.

It has been my personal experience that time in nature helps you find your way, on many levels, and I’d like as many people as possible to have this opportunity.

We are Christians, finding meaning and hope in a strong-hearted, playful and welcoming Creator.
Please note that all people, of any or no religion, are welcome at our events. 

More about John:

I am a qualified and registered Specialist Nature Guide for KwaZulu-Natal. (KZN0101).

Growing up exploring and learning outdoors in rural Zimbabwe led to a life-long fascination with nature, and a career in nature guiding and environmental education. I have been privileged to share hundreds of Southern African places with thousands of people. I am committed to helping people find their way to delight, wholeness and purpose through personalised experiences in nature.

My interests and passions include wilderness exploration, Christian spirituality, men’s work (mentoring, growth and spirituality), education, research, spiders (I’ve discovered 2 new species), insects, orchids, the bushveld, trees, forests, and geology. Some hobbies are knife sharpening, jewellery-making, making and playing numerous musical instruments, creative writing (I am a published poet) and taking the time to enjoy good tea and coffee.

I am a person of faith. I follow Jesus Christ and have found freedom, hope, direction, and purpose in this deepening relationship and mystery. I have an ecumenical church background and have experienced depth, richness, and insight through many church denominations and expressions. 


Contact

John Roff 083 6622306

john@strongheartretreats.co.za

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