Hot springs are not just brilliant examples of geography in action, but soaking up their healing mineral-rich waters can also be gentle therapy for the stressed body and mind. While the health benefits may be debatable, there is no doubt that immersing yourself in a hot spring with steam rising above the water is a relaxing and out-of-the-ordinary experience. Here are a handful of South Africa’s hottest hot spring holiday resorts and destinations…
This prime attraction in the Northern Cape is the product of volcanic eruptions that occurred centuries ago, with activity deep underground continuing to heat the therapeutic waters of the springs. Two magnificent pools are located in a deep ravine surrounded by 80-metre high granite cliffs. You’ll feel completely isolated in this place of haunting beauty. The dramatic scenery that surrounds it is that of imposing mountains, rugged desert-plains and mile upon mile of wilderness dating back millions of years.
Hot springs are not just brilliant examples of geography in action, but soaking up their healing mineral-rich waters can also be gentle therapy for the stressed body and mind. Here are a handful of South Africa’s hottest hot spring holiday resorts and destinations…
Accommodation: Cleverly designed self-catering chalets blend into the rocky surrounds and offer great views.
Extras: Other than the hot springs, visitors are drawn to the area’s prolific birdlife, 4x4 trails and scenic hiking trails. This stark desert landscape is also home to the spectacular Augrabies Falls.
The small town of Badplaas is situated in warm Mpumalanga, at the foothills of the Hlumuhlumu Mountains, close to the border of Swaziland. Here, set in a picturesque nature reserve, you’ll find the award-winning Forever Resort where you can soak up the sulphur springs. A definite plus is that this brilliant spot for family breaks is only three hours from Johannesburg!
Accommodation: The resort offers your choice of hotel rooms, self-catering log cabins, chalets, rondavels, guesthouses as well as caravan and camping stands.
Extras: A treasure chest of entertainment includes putt-putt, super tubing, a speed slide, tennis, volleyball, kiddie’s quads, go-carts, pony rides, fishing, a tree walking trail, game drives and a bikini bar.
With beautiful views over the Bivane River, The Gooderson Natal Spa Hot Springs & Leisure Resort can be found on the Battlefields Route between Vryheid and Paulpietersburg. Nestled amongst giant granite boulders, you will find a thermal spring with waters reaching between 36˚C and 45˚C at the source. The extraordinary ‘triple water’ contains healing chlorides, sulphates, and carbonates said to help a number of ailments from digestive disorders to insomnia. There are five natural hot and four cold pools dating back to 1888!
Accommodation: Choose between large, comfortably furnished en-suite twin, family, double or luxury king-size hotel rooms, with self-catering units available too.
Extras: Famed for its inclusive farm-style breakfasts and great facilities including super tubing, adventure golf, a BMX track and a mountain bike trail, a paintball arena and wellness centre with 24-jet hydrotherapy bath – guests are very much spoiled for choice.
Calitzdorp Spa (Western Cape)
About a five-hour drive from Cape Town, between Calitzdorp and Oudtshoorn, Calitzdorp Spa is a haven blessed by Mother Nature, where enthusiastic ecotourists will have much to see and do. The water here reaches a temperature of 50˚C at the source, and has been known to cure people suffering from sprains to high blood pressure. Visitors are invited to take their pick of an indoor Roman bath, a warm outdoor pool or two cold-water pools – or, try them all!
Accommodation: A choice between mountain and poolside chalets; the views from both are awesome.
Extras: Springbok and mountain tortoises roam the resort and it’s also a well-known birdwatchers paradise with over 72-recorded species.
Find this unique mineral spring high on the foothills of the Warmwaterberg Mountain, between Barrydale and Ladismith. The main attraction is its location where you can enjoy panoramic views over the Little Karoo, clear from the Langeberg to the Swartberg! Of course, another draw card is the hot water (44°C at the source). A very high iron content makes this water extremely healthy and sweet tasting. Enjoy two hot pools, a cold pool and a number of roman baths, which can fit up to six people, containing 1 000 litres of superior mineral water fresh from the artesian spring.
Accommodation: Options range from The Bath House, Main House, timber chalets, caravan rentals, to caravan and campsites.
Extras: A spectacular six-kilometre walking trail on the edge of the mountain. Also, because of its isolation the Warmwaterberg Spa is a brilliant spot for stargazing.
The town of Warmbaths or more recently renamed, Bela-Bela, was built around geothermic hot springs. Here you will enjoy an atmosphere of real African bush set against the backdrop of the scenic Waterberg range. In a place where the name literally means ‘the water that boils’, therapeutic waters bubble up from the earth at a temperature of 53°C with some 22 000 litres of water produced every hour. In addition, it’s not just this phenomenal feat of nature that has been attracting visitors for many years, the area is also home to a number of game and nature reserves with the resort itself set in its very own private reserve.
Accommodation: The resort offers a variety of accommodation such as camping, caravanning, self-catering chalets, hotel rooms and a private tented camp.
Extras: Ample entertainment for the entire family. Hot Mineral Pool, Cold Pool, Kiddies Warm Pool, Speed Slides, Super Tubes, River Ride, Wave Pool, Cable Ski, Spray pad, Quad Bikes, Go-karts, Pedal Boats, Putt-Putt as well as Game Drives and Horse Rides.
The Hydro which was built at the source of the famous hot water mineral spring, offers massages, relaxing tubs or wraps and a Beauty Salon that offers professional beauty treatments, a Rheumatism pool and an indoor and outdoor Mineral pool.