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Slightly off the beaten track, Badplaas in eastern Mpumalanga Province was established around a sulphur spring in 1876. The spring was believed to cure many an ailment and gold miners would regularly visit over weekends to bathe in the waters. Recently renamed eManzana, this pretty town incorporates a nature reserve and is located along the road linking Johannesburg with Barberton. The Seekoeispruit (hippo stream) River runs through Badplaas, popular with fly fishermen.
Nowadays the spring’s therapeutic waters are enclosed in a vast pleasure resort that attracts visitors from all parts of the world.
Badplaas lies in a well-watered and low-lying grassland area where water has collected over millions of years deep in the earth’s core, heated to extreme temperatures and percolated through sandstone before reaching the surface. The water consists mostly of sulphate and other chemicals deemed to have long term benefits. With a worldwide drive towards a healthier, more natural lifestyle, travellers are seeking treatments such as hydrotherapy and Badplaas answers the call.
Top 5 reasons to visit Badplaas
1. Badplaas’ Forever Resort has many entertainment offerings other than pools to bathe in the spring water; there is a spa, a hydro spa (for hydrotherapy), super tube, a zipline, mini golf, pub, restaurant and conference facilities. Game drives can be taken through the Overvaal Nature Reserve.
2. Try your hand at fly fishing at the Mountain Trout Resort on the Seekoeispruit River. The resort hires out rods and the nominal entrance fee includes the 1st kilogram of trout caught. The hatchery on the premises stocks the river and farm dam with 4 species of trout.
3. Get a taste of the Mpumalanga terrain by hiking the Suikerboschfontein Hiking Trail outside Carolina. Trails pass through waterfalls, woody ravines, bubbling streams, ancient ruins and rock art. Here, the Chacma baboon is king amongst the smaller mammals that inhabit the area.
4. The air in Badplaas is crystal clear, ideal for stargazing. Spend an evening on the patio trying to find the Centaurus constellation, named after the half-man, half-horse Centaur and only visible from the southern hemisphere.
5. You’re here to revitalise the body, find a good book and relax under the African sun, swim to cool off and after a healthy lunch, get yourself that beauty treatment you so deserve.
Mpumalanga’s international airport is Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Mbombela, 110km from Badplaas. There is a small airstrip on the SAPPI plantation near to Badplaas for chartered flights. Permission is required to land, arrange this with your host. A vehicle can be hired from most large towns in Mpumalanga otherwise order a rental online. Tour operators are available to offer shuttle services but the best form of travel is a hired vehicle to enjoy Badplaas and the surrounding area.
Did you know?
Swazi and Afrikaans are mostly spoken in Badplaas, however, English is perfectly understood and there are no language barriers.
The human body can only tolerate exposure to 50° Celsius water temperatures for a brief period before scalding occurs. The Badplaas spring spews out 53° C water at its source, however, it is cooled on its way into the baths for bathers to relax in more tolerable temperatures.
The name eManzana means healing waters in isiSwazi.