Bela-Bela offers you hot springs, majestic mountain landscapes and many unspoiled wilderness areas. Relax in Bela-Bela's healing hot springs, frolic in a fun waterworld, hike in the mountains or take a game drive. Round up family and friends and head for this charming historic town in the Waterberg bushveld.

Did you know?

The spring water rises to the surface at a temperature of 53 degrees centigrade.

Bela-Bela means 'boiling boiling’ in the Tswana language, which refers to the hot springs that are this town's main attraction.

Set in the foothills of the beautiful Waterberg mountains, Bela-Bela's hot springs were originally used for healing purposes by the Tswana people hundreds of years ago. Today these legendary waters have been turned into a series of fountains, pools and bathing areas at various health and holiday resorts.

Pack your swimming costumes and towels. Bela-Bela's ancient hot springs remain nature's gift and you can swim, soak, slide down watery tunnels or just lie in the shade and relax.

This is hiking, game-viewing, cycling, wandering country. Big skies and red sandstone mountains, abundant game and remarkable birdlife. Take your pick from a number of reserves including Mabula, Kunkuru and Sondela. Lapalala Wilderness has long been at the heart of conservation in the Waterberg, and here you can meet two orphaned rhino, one black, the other white, and find out about their history and habitat.

Birds, from ducks, sand pipers and kingfishers to storks, buzzards and fish eagles, are the main attraction at the nearby Nylsvley Nature Reserve. Nylsvley’s floodplain is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere and is one of the top birding spot in the country.

From cycling to marathon running, there’s also lots of sporting action in Bela Bela. Over 15 000 people from around the country gather at Mabalingwe Nature Reserve near Bela-Bela annually for the Mabalingwe Lion Man Mountain Bike Race, one of the most popular mountain-bike events in South Africa.

The Warmbaths Dam, some 8km from town, is a popular spot for water sports and fishing. There are excellent golf courses in the area, many of them with wild animals sharing the greens.

You can also take a guided tour at the Thaba Kwena Crocodile Farm near Bela Bela, one of the largest commercial crocodile farms in the country.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Bela-Bela Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)14 736 3694

How to get here

Bela-Bela is in the Limpopo province, approximately 200 kilometres from Johannesburg on the N1 highway.

Best time to visit

Spring and autumn going into winter

Around the area

This is game country and the area is peppered with reserves both big and small.

Get around

Self-drive is best, especially if you want to explore the beauty of the surrounding area at your own pace. There are guided tours and game drives available at various game reserves

Length of stay

A weekend at least, longer if possible.

What to pack

Hats, sunscreen, swimming gear, cameras, walking shoes and good company

Where to stay

The Welgevonden Game Reserve has many excellent five-star camps; Lapalala Wilderness has assorted budget accommodation from self-catering wilderness camps to an hotel; There are many B&B's, guesthouses and lodges dotted in and around Bela Bela and the Waterberg

What's happening

The famous Bela Bela Tourism Festival – featuring music, arts & crafts, food stalls and wildlife displays – is held annually in May.

Best buys

The Black Mamba in Vaalwater, an easy drive from the town of Bela-Bela. This Afro-chic bistro and art & craft gallery sells imaginative cloths, sculptures, beadwork, jewellery and decorative items.

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