Bela Bela & Around
Close to the ground.

GPS: S 24 53.100 E 028 17.645 | pop. 43,000 | elevation 1,129 m/3,704 ft

Bela-Bela means “boiling boiling” in Tswana and is so named because of the natural hot water springs in the area that gush over 22,000 liters of 53°C/127°F mineral water to the surface each hour. The hot mineral pools were discovered in the area by the Tswana in the early 1800s and have since been used by people who believe that the water’s calcium carbonate, sodium chloride and other mineral salts have healing properties for those who bathe in them.

Tourist Information Office

Tourist Information Office has a free map of Bela-Bela and the surrounding area with a list of area attractions, places to stay and spots to eat. They can also provide suggestions for things to do and accommodation.

Forever Resorts

Forever Resorts contains a series of hot spring pools called the Warmbaths. In addition to these, Forever Resorts has go-karts, quad bike rental and trails, pedal bike rentals, and a small water park with slides.

Thaba Kwena

Thaba Kwena is the largest crocodile farm in South Africa - with over 22,000 crocs - that is open to the public. They offer a one-hour tour of the crocodiles and their habitat. Saturdays at 3pm is the best time to go as you will be able to observe the impressive croc feeding.

To get to the park, head northeast out of Bela-Bela on Potgieter Dr/R101 toward Modimolle for about 10 km. Take the signed turnoff to the left for Groot Nylsoog onto a gravel road and continue for about 4 km to the entrance gate on your left.

De Wildt Shingwedzi Cheetah & Wildlife Ranch

De Wildt Shingwedzi Cheetah & Wildlife Ranch runs a breeding, conservation and community education program, all to promote the survival of cheetahs and wild dogs. It offers two-hour Cheetah and Wild Dog Feeding Tours within large enclosures as well as game drives where you can see wild cat, nyala, crocodiles and vultures.

It can be reached from Bela Bela by heading west out of town on Rooiberg St/R516 for roughly 33 km; then turn right onto the gravel Diepdrift Rd for about 24 km, then left on Thabazimbi Rd for 2 km to reach the entrance gate on the left. Another way to reach the ranch is to take the R33 about 14 km north from Modimolle to the left turnoff at S 24 38.692 E 028 20.229 and continue heading West about 11 km where there will be a split in the gravel road; stay to the right and continue another 20 km to the lodge.

Bushveld Pick 'n Pay Shopping Center

Bushveld Pick 'n Pay Shopping Center is the largest shopping center in town with a Pick 'n Pay, chain restaurants, Internet café, and an ABSA bank with ATMs. Across the street is a Shopright.

Spar Shopping Center

Spar Shopping Center has a Spar, bottle shop and a few other stores.

Chris Hani Way

Chris Hani Way is lined with utilitarian shops, stores and a few restaurants.

Strelitzia Guest House

Strelitzia Guest House is a homey seven-room guesthouse with a kitchenette, swimming pool, large living room and bar. The en suite rooms are a little dated, but it is a relaxed place with a number of outdoor braai facilities and friendly hosts.

Marula Mountain Village

Marula Mountain Village is situated on the slope of a hill with a large swimming pool, a volleyball court and a restaurant that is open only during the day. There are 130 campsites with electricity, water taps and braai facilities, 15 self-catering units and a couple larger houses.

To get there, head northeast 5 km out of town on Potgieter Dr/R101 toward Modimolle. Turn right at the T-junction across the street from Klein-Kariba Lodge onto Eersbewoon Road and continue 500 m to the entrance gate on the right.

Forever Resorts

Forever Resorts is a hot spot because the town's main attraction, the Warmbaths, are located within the premises. Though rooms themselves are nothing impressive, weekend accommodations are often fully booked. Aside from the Warmbaths, there are a host of other activities (see above) at the resort.

Elephant Springs Hotel

Elephant Springs Hotel is the main hotel in town with standard hotel rooms and fully equipped self-catering multi-level rooms that feel almost like small apartments. Both room styles have soft pillow top beds with TV and AC, and surround a courtyard with a swimming pool. The self-catering rooms are a bit more modern than the hotel-style rooms and each has a small private deck with a braai area. Note: the rate for walk-in guests is about R100 less than if you book in advance.

Mabalingwe Nature Reserve

Mabalingwe Nature Reserve is a 13 square kilometer nature reserve with all of the Big 5 and many other animals and bird species. Choose from campsite accommodation, a self-catering thatched roof chalet (fully equipped with three en suite bedrooms and braai facilities) or a standard lodge room. Although you're unlikely to spot all of the Big 5 during your time at the reserve (animal populations are rather sparse), it does make for good self-drive safaris. You can also join a group on a guided day or night safari (R90). Other activities include lion feeding in the afternoon (R70) and horseback riding.

To get there, head west from Bela-Bela on Rooiberg St/R516 and continue about 28 km to the lodge entrance gate (no day visitors allowed.)

Feather's Country Kitchen

Feather's Country Kitchen is a stylish tented restaurant and bar, with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking a small dam. Get a steak or seafood, or try an African specialty such as braised oxtail, venison, tripe or lamb livers. The cooks behind the kitchen know what they are doing and there is a decent wine list to boot. To get there, head west out of town on Swanepoel St (which intersects Rooiberg St two blocks south of the circle). From Swanepoel St, follow signs 3.3 km to the restaurant; the last 1 km is on a gravel road.


Greenfields is a regional restaurant chain serving salads, sandwiches, tramezzinis, light meals, grills and a few traditional South African dishes. It has indoor and outdoor seating.

Elephant Springs Restaurant

Elephant Springs Restaurant is attached to the Elephant Springs Hotel and is a popular spot in town. It serves steaks, ribs, burgers, and local dishes of braised oxtail, grilled kingklip, and bobotie. However, the majority of patrons go with the large breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet option for R95.

Paul's Pub & Grill

Paul's Pub & Grill is a casual downtown pub serving drought beer and mixed drinks. Cozy up with locals in a game of darts or pool while you watch rugby games on a big screen. They serve steak and pub food until 11pm and there is an attached hot dog stand in front that serves up foot-longs until 2am to prevent late-night pub-goers from feeling peckish.

Mango Night Club

Mango Night Club is the nightclub in town with a DJ, dance floor and separate shooter bar for patrons who want to get straight to the point. There are a few lounge seats and some tables outside. The place doesn't start to get crowded until around 11pm.