Situated in the Waterberg District of South Africa’s Limpopo province, Bela-Bela lies between Pretoria and Polokwane off the N1 highway. It is 144 km from the provincial capital Polokwane, 170 km from Johannesburg, and 100 km from Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa. The Johannesburg International Airports is 150 km from Bela-Bela.
Bela-Bela means the pot that boils in the Tswana language, referring to the geothermic hot springs around which the town was built. The water of the springs are rich in minerals and were once used for healing purposes by the Tswana people. The town was formerly known as Warmbaths before its name was changed to Bela-Bela in 2002.
The hot springs in Bela-Bela were discovered by Tswana tribes in the 1800s when they first moved into the region.The first farm in the area was established by Voortrekker Carl Van Heerden, and in 1873 the Transvaal government bought the land and established a resort called Hartingsburg there. During the Anglo Boer War, the British occupied the town, and renamed the post office to Warm Baths. In 1920, Warmbaths was proclaimed a township, and 1932 it became a village town. A town council was established in 1960.
The resorts and spas in Bela-Bela are among the town’s most popular attractions. There are plenty of opportunity to get active with hiking and cycling along trails that run through the mountains. You can also enjoy waterskiing and fishing at Warmbaths Dam, or play a round of golf at the Zebula Golf Course in Bela-Bela.
At the Mabalingwe Nature Reserve in Bela-Bela you can go on a game drive to view the Big Five. The Bambelela Wildlife Care & Vervet Monkey Rehabilitation Farm offers visitors more wildlife experiences. Here you can take part in one of the volunteer programs and spend a few days caring for the farm’s free roaming vervent monkeys. Visit the Nylsvley Nature Reserve to see hundreds of bird species at their inland floodplain home.
Bela-Bela has a pleasantly mild climate during the winter months with an average of 286 sunny days every year. During the summer months, the temperatures ranges between 15,7 °C – 29°C and during the winter months, the temperature ranges between 6,7 °C – 24,0°C.
Offering fun for the whole family, Bela-Bela is the perfect destination for a weekend or even a one-day getaway. Offering a wealth of inexpensive accommodation and several timeshare facilities to choose from, Bela-Bela is becoming an increasingly popular destination.