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Long cherished for their healing properties, the Geo-thermal Springs at Bela Bela attract visitors from all over the world. Here, the 3 Rs apply – rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
With close on 300 days of year round sun, and average annual temperatures of 19° peaking at 35° in mid-summer, Warmbaths lures sun worshippers and nature lovers. In spring, the jacaranda and syringa trees bloom, bringing masses of colour to the town.
Warmbaths, a town in the Waterberg Mountain region of Limpopo Province, is a short distance from the N1 national highway to Pretoria, the administrative capital. This scenic drive from Pretoria allows you to experience striking landscapes, best viewed during an African dawn or at dusk.
Things to do
A visit to Warmbaths is primarily to experience the curative Springs and Forever Resorts in the town is the first port of call.
Entertainment options for day visitors are plentiful: heated and cold pools, a super tube, water slides, quad biking, a wave pool, cable water skiing, horse riding, game drives and more.
Warmbaths is surrounded by Bushveld and there are many Wildlife Activities nearby –
Thanks to a local initiative called ‘Save the Waterberg Rhino ' you have the opportunity to view the critically endangered rhino at several Waterberg Biosphere game reserves.
The 58km drive to the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre is worthwhile for a unique view of the endangered Cheetah and African Wild dog in their natural habitat. Get up close with a cheetah and watch them show off their blistering speed chasing a lure.
For an unforgettable, interactive experience with Africa’s largest mammal, visit Adventures with Elephants situated alongside Zebula Country Club.
Bambelela Wildlife Care treats orphaned and injured animals with a view to rehabilitating and returning them to the wild. The private reserve offers exhilarating Game Drives.
Take a guided tour of the 10000 Nile Crocodiles housed at the Thaba Kwena crocodile farm. Curio and coffee shop on the premises.
The Zebula Golf Estate winds through natural bush, and enjoys animals on the round.
Warmbaths has numerous Hiking trails in the surrounding area ranging from short 2 hour hikes to 3 day hikes with stays in overnight huts.
Spas and Wellness Centres abound thanks to the clean air and peaceful surroundings.
Sample South Africa’s favourite snack, biltong (dried, spiced meat), at Toeka Se Dae farm stall.
The Rhino Museum is the first of its kind dedicated to the conservation of the rhinoceros. Entrance is free.
For an energy sapping endeavour, take the tour of Waterberg Zipline Adventures’ 10 zipline slides ranging between 70m and 230m above the bushveld canopy.
Please note that certain establishments do not allow day visitors during peak season. Phone the relevant resort before visiting.
Where to Eat
The Terrace Restaurant and Beer Garden at the Bela Bela Waterfront has a good selection of dishes, all reasonably priced. Children’s play area and Sunday carvery on offer.
The El Rancho Grandé private resort has a restaurant on the premises. Rustic atmosphere serving up home cooking.
If you enjoy braai’ed (barbequed) meat dishes, the Chesa Nyama Restaurant is your best choice. Try a popular South African dish, beef stew and pap; no veggies here! Tiny restaurant with friendly staff.
The exclusive Wild Olive Restaurant at Silver Streams Lodge is fine dining in the bundu!
Set in an old house with a beach hut theme (thus the name), KhayaNoster Restaurant has a fireplace for cold days and a quiet outdoor, treed area for those sunny days. Appealing buffet and à la carte menu items served.
Angel Scrap is a unique coffee shop located in a quaint old house filled with antiques and quirky merchandise. The waffles with crazy fillings such as biltong and cream cheese are wildly popular.
For a relaxed lunch out in the bush, visit the Bushpig Inn restaurant at Thaba Monaté.
The Shangri-La Country Hotel has three restaurants on the premises: Bellows Restaurant serves breakfast and light lunches out on the patio under trees, the Heritage Restaurant is tastefully decked out with comfortable and antique furniture appropriate for the more formal menu and The Sundeck offers champagne breakfasts and high tea.
Greenfields at the Bela Bela Waterfront supplies inviting light meals, grills and snack platters for a quick lunch.
Jakkalsgat Pub & Grill is a kitschy bar set under thatch heavily frequented by the locals. Chickens and turkeys roam the bar, watch where you walk!
The Dock is a country pub offering hearty snack foods and a few seafood dishes. The venue gets lively over the weekends.
Catch the latest movie at the Maxi-Cineplex at the Bela Bela Waterfront.
The Carousel casino resort 25km south of Warmbaths offers night time entertainment.
Where to Stay
The many well-appointed and heavenly guest houses, lodges, game reserves, spas and private homes offer a personal touch and your stay will leave you totally and completely revitalised.
Air :Lanseria outside Johannesburg is the nearest airport, 123km from Warmbaths.
Car :The easiest and most convenient method of travel is by car. Rent a car at the start of your journey in Pretoria or Johannesburg, otherwise there are two car rental agencies in the centre of Warmbaths.
Taxis :Charmaine Taxis is currently the only taxi service operating in Warmbaths.
Did you know?
Warmbaths’ hot springs release over 20000 litres an hour of chemically-enriched water at a steady 53° Celsius temperature. The water’s properties are believed to provide relief to rheumatic disease sufferers.
Some of the trees in the area have truly expressive names in Afrikaans: raas blaar (noisy leaf), huilbos (crying bush) and stamvrug (trees that bear fruit off the trunk) to name a few.
The farm on which the town lies was originally called Het Bad (the bath), later changed to Warmbad (Warmbaths) and finally to its current Tswana name of Bela Bela (meaning: the water that boils on its own).
Sections of stone used to erect the Union Buildings in Pretoria were quarried from the Buyskop hill north of Warmbaths. The hill was at one time used as a mail coach stopover.
For a more down to earth experience there are guest houses. Less expensive than hotels, they offer a more homey environment, as well as more privacy. Converted from a private house it’s a much gentler environment and for those with furry friends, there are also pet friendly options. They are usually well situated with shops and places of interest nearby. Being so small it offers a much more personal and intimate attention to it’s upkeep, leaving you with a more polished and homely experience.