BELA BELA IN SOUTH AFRICA
Bela Bela means ‘boiling boiling’ in the Tswana language, which refers to the hot springs that are Bela-Bela’s main attraction. The 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 in the area. Besides the springs, Bela Bela is well known for its wildlife. There are many game reserves in the surrounding areas, including the Mabula, Kunkuru and Sondela reserves. Best of the lot, though, is Lapalala Wilderness where you can visit and feed 2 orphaned rhino one black, the other white. Bela-Bela lies at the heart of the scenic Waterberg mountains. The region is part of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, which covers some 100 000 hectares and is home to a variety of animal, bird and plant species. 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 plenty of outdoor activities 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 8 kilometers from town, is a terrific 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.