Hotels in Bela Bela, South Africa
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Bela-Bela, Land of the Hot Springs
The name _Bela Bela _literally means “boiling boiling” in the Tswana language, and refers to the area’s well-known hot springs. The town was also previously known as _Warmbad _in Afrikaans, and Warm Baths in English. Situated at the foot of the Waterberg Mountains, this town is also known for its nature reserves, amazing wildlife, and hiking trails. It has recently become a popular destination for local and international tourists.____
Healing Hot Springs
Bela-Bela grew around its magical, healing hot springs. It was discovered by an African tribe in early 1800s, and drew visitors from all over since its first settlement. In 1873, a resort was built in the area, which is still active and popular today, and is currently known as Warmbaths, A Forever Resort. The resort is located on the main hot springs of the area, which produce over 20,000 Litres of water an hour, at a natural temperature of 53C (127F). The waters are known for their healing properties, especially for rheumatic conditions, thanks to their high concentration of sodium chloride, calcium carbonate, and other salts. The resort offers luxury hotel accommodations onsite, and boasts great spa treatments. It has become a popular family vacation destination thanks to its waterpark-like set up, with wave pools, lazy rivers, and more.
Bela-Bela is surrounded by several nature reserves that offer an amazing opportunity to see and discover the amazing African wildlife. The Mabalingwe Nature Reserve is the largest one, spanning over 12,000 hectares, and is located just outside the town. This is the best reserve for spotting animals all year round, including the “Big Five” – lions, elephants, Cape buffaloes, leopards, and rhinoceroses. In total, the reserve is home to about 36 mammal species and many birds as well. The lions are housed in a separate, fenced-off area that requires prior arrangements to visit. Make sure to pre-book as not to miss them! When looking for accommodations, you may want to consider the resorts and hotels within the reserve itself. The Hetbad Nature Reserve is the closest one to Bela-Bela, and is a very peaceful area. It’s also reportedly a popular spot for enjoying the night sky. The reserve is ideal for enjoying the natural landscape and vegetation, as animal sightings are less common here than in other places. If you’re a bird watcher, you will absolutely love the Nylsvley Nature Reserve, which is home to over 330 bird species. It is considered a major birding hotspot in the country, thanks to its location on a large floodplain.
Bring Your Hiking Boots
The Waterberg Mountains offer many amazing hiking opportunities. The trails are not only popular for exercise, but are also a way to explore the untouched nature of the area and bask in the breath-taking views. The Wag ‘n Bietjie Trails is the most popular hike near Bela-Bela and travels through mountains, forests, and ravines. The total route is about 14 miles (22 km) long, and can take about two or three days. If you’re not up for a very long journey, there are several smaller routes, ranging from easy to difficult, that can be completed in just a few hours. The Kloof Route is the easiest one, but does have a steep descent. Take this route to discover a beautiful waterfall. The Uitsig is a bit more challenging due to a steep climb, and follows a path along clifftops. It’s a highly-recommended route for incredible views of the region. Kruin Route is a bit more tough also due to the steep climbs, and offers a longer trek for those who want to be challenged. Visitors can opt to camp at the foot of the mountain, where there is lodging provided. There are also several hotel and housing options within a short drive of the area.
Remnants of War
The Anglo-Boer War Blockhouse, situated in the city centre of Bela-Bela, is one of the best-preserved blockhouses in South Africa. You’ll find many of these scattered all over the country, but this one is worth a visit. Blockhouses were built by the British as forts for protecting the railways, allowing the soldiers to defend incoming enemies with firearms. The blockhouse is considered a tourist highlight of the city, but is doesn’t always show up at the top of the must-visit list. However, if you’re into history, it’s a definite must-visit.