6 SA hot-spring resorts with fun activities to warm you up this winter

Hot springs are known to have antioxidant properties. Picture: Unsplash

Hot springs are known to have antioxidant properties. Picture: Unsplash

Published Jun 8, 2023


Winter is here and getting warm and cosy is at the top of everybody’s to-do list. One of the best ways to get warm this season is to take a trip and dip in a hot spring.

According to SCL Health, soaking in hot springs can be a great way to naturally detox your skin due to the high amount of silica in the water, and it can also soften rough or dry skin, whilst the mineral content of sulphur springs has been shown to help persistent skin conditions like psoriasis, acne and eczema.

Visiting a hot spring for health reasons is one of the oldest forms of tourism in the world. In ancient times, thermal springs were believed to have supernatural and healing powers and in today’s era, taking time out and focusing on self-care is beneficial.

South Africa has around 87 documented natural hot springs all around the country, so if you’re keen on getting a full-body detox and break from the city, here are some adventure-filled hot spring resorts to check out.

ATKV Klein-Kariba

Klein-Kariba Resort. Picture: Instagram

This ATKV resort lies nestled in a kloof in the Waterberg, just north of Bela-Bela, along the Bushveld tourist route. At its heart are two warm mineral baths and a heated indoor pool as well as cold-water outdoor swimming and splash pools, a water slide, a nine-hole miniature golf course, horse riding, hiking trails and numerous other family activities.

This top-class resort offers a wide range of accommodation options with various activities, recreational facilities and amenities such as a restaurant, fast-food division and a well-stocked shop, making it the perfect place to go for your warm bath. There is no such thing as boredom at ATKV Klein-Kariba.

Forever Resort Warmbaths

The heated pool at Forever Resort Warmbaths lets off some steam. Picture: Instagram

A visit to Forever Resorts Warmbaths means you are about to have as much fun as you can have in warm water. A trip to Bela-Bela is not complete without soaking your weary body in the restorative waters of the hot spring, which is also great for your skin and well-being. It is not only relaxing, it is also rich in limestone minerals, including calcium carbonate, sodium chloride and other salts. The source of the spring gushes out 22 000 litres of water at 52°C, every hour.

Forever Resorts also has indoor hydro pools, a main pool and Jacuzzis, as well as a foefie slide, mini quads, go-karts, cable waterskiing, target shooting, monster web climbing, putt-putt, a kids play park, a speed slide and a wave pool, so if you’re planning a weekend away, this place has plenty of activities to keep you occupied.

The Baths, Citrusdal

A guest enjoys a warm bath at The Baths in Citrusdal. Picture: Instagram

The Baths is a hot spring resort nestled on a citrus farm near Citrusdal, Western Cape. There are both cold and hot pools, with the waters reaching 43˚C at the source. Other features include mountain rock pools, spa baths, a tennis court, trampoline, pool table and kiddies’ playground.

The MacGregor’s Restaurant has an à la carte menu, and the shop sells all the basics for self-catering. Accommodation is available in chalets, flats and caravan and camping sites.

Warmwaterberg Spa

The mineral pools at Warmwaterberg Spa. Picture: Instagram

Warmwaterberg Spa is a mineral hot spring situated between Barrydale and Ladismith on Route 62 from Montagu to Oudtshoorn.

It is run by the sixth generation LeGrange family. The main house and bath houses were built in 1908 as a sanatorium, whilst the wooden chalets and caravans were added in the ’80s and ’90s.

The Spa, set on a 600Ha property, also has a full-service licensed restaurant and bar for those who want to indulge and a small kiosk supplying basic necessities, including braai wood and ice alongside a selection of groceries.

There are hikes, wandering peacocks, views out over the Langeberg, and three soaking pools (two warm, one cool). The water is high in iron so don’t let the rusty colour of the water put you off.

Gooderson Natal Spa

Warm spring at Paulpietersberg. Picture: Instagram

Set in 550 hectares of beautiful KZN bushveld amongst giant Cambrian granite boulders that are millions of years old, the Gooderson Natal Spa Hot Springs & Leisure Resort has beautiful views over the Bivane River and abundant bird life.

The rejuvenating oasis is on the road between Vryheid and Paulpietersburg on the Battlefields Route and is famous for its serene location and the natural healing properties of the hot pools. At a source temperature of 37°C, the pools, discovered in 1880, provide a constant supply of beneficial waters for guests and are well known for their anti-oxidant properties.

The Natal Spa also has a Wellness Centre & Beauty Spa that offer guests revitalising and pampering massages and treatments to indulge in and travellers can immerse in the brilliance and clarity of the spring waters offering mineral and medicinal healing properties to refresh the spirit.

For the active there are quad bike trails, squash, tennis, hiking, birding trails, mountain bike trails and fishing. Other activities include a BMX track, adventure golf, volleyball, a supertube, a paintball arena and an obstacle course.

Badplaas, A Forever Resort

Nature and beauty collide at eManzana. Picture: Instagram

This hot spring resort is 2.5 hours from Gauteng and nestled within the Emanzana Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga.

Famous for its hot mineral springs, the resort has also become legendary for its large variety of leisure and entertainment facilities.

Guests can slip down the slides, dip in therapeutic mineral pools, pamper themselves with a rejuvenating hydro treatment or attempt a daring adventure activity.

You can also explore the 1 200 hectare nature reserve accompanied by a ranger or on your own. The reserve is home to various antelope, giraffe and 300 bird species.

Activities available at the resort also include eco quad-bike trails, fishing, game drives, hiking and mountain bike trails, horse trails, pony rides, foefie slides, go-karting, mini golf, paintball war games, tube rapids, speed slides, a super tube and tennis.