Situated at the foot of the Waterberg Mountain is Bela-Bela, a town whose roots lie in the hot spring water that bubbles up from the ground. The waters are rich in minerals and were once used for healing purposes by the Tswana people. Relax in ancient hot springs, hike along mountain trails and waterski across a dam.
The town’s resorts and spas are among its biggest draws and there are many to choose from. A popular choice is Warmbaths, a Forever Resort, built around a thermal spring. Soothe your body in the hydro pool and then indulge in a spa treatment. The resort also features lots of outdoor activities for all the family, including paddle boats and a play park for children.
You can also get active in Bela-Bela with a range of pursuits. Enjoy waterskiing and fishing at Warmbaths Dam, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the center of Bela-Bela. Go hiking and cycling along trails that wind through the mountains. For something gentler, play a round of golf at the Zebula Golf Course.
There are lots of opportunities to see wildlife during your time in Bela-Bela. Go on a big game drive at Mabalingwe Nature Reserve and look for lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhinos. There are also drives to watch lions during their feeding times.
For more wildlife experiences, visit the Bambelela Wildlife Care & Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation Farm. Take part in one of the volunteer programs and spend a few days caring for the farm’s free roaming vervet monkeys. Other animals you may see here are zebras, antelopes and porcupines. At the Nylsvley Nature Reserve, see hundreds of bird species at their inland floodplain home.
Bela-Bela is located between Pretoria and Polokwane, approximately 124 miles (200 kilometers) from Johannesburg. A rental car is a good way to get around to see all the sights. Many of the reserves in the area feature guided tours.
Bela-Bela’s picturesque surroundings and relaxing, warm mineral waters will leave you feeling utterly refreshed.