Fun in the sun at Bela-Bela

African Times - - News -

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.

Round up your fam­ily and friends and head for this charm­ing his­toric town in the Water­berg bushveld. Bela-Bela of­fers you re­lax­ing hot springs to swim in, moun­tains to climb and hike, un­spoilt land­scapes and many well­p­re­served wilder­ness ar­eas. Frolic in their fun wa­ter world or take a game drive if you love wildlife and birds. Bela-Bela means “boil­ing boil­ing” in the Tswana lan­guage, which refers to the hot springs that are this town’s main attraction.

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 rhi­nos, 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 spots 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.

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