When Cape Town locals want to get away during the icy cold winters, they somewhat surprisingly head to colder parts of the Western Cape province. This may seem strange to those who don’t call the city home, but those who do live in the Mother City know it is the best place to be during winter.
Not only does the wine get better the further away from the city you go, but if you drive an hour in any direction you’ll find natural hot springs. With the beautiful backdrop of Cape nature, these springs can be visited as a day trip, but an overnight or weekend away is the best way experience it. Stepping into steamy, bubbling water gushing from the earth is a recipe for making stress disappear.
So if you live in Cape Town or are visiting the area, why not head out of town and indulge yourself at one of these amazing hot spring hot spots!
Montagu Springs Resort, Montagu
The quaint town of Montagu, which lies two hours outside of Cape Town along Route 62, is known as the last “tropical” oasis before one reaches the semi-desert Little Karoo. With palm trees lining the entrance and vibrant bougainvillea shrubs dotted throughout area, the Montagu Springs Resort is truly an oasis. Peach and plum orchids as well as a variety of roses make the landscape of the town and the resort even more beautiful all year round.
The resort offers self-catering accommodation, relaxation and plenty to do, especially for children. The two award-winning hot mineral pools that are available to both guests visiting for the day, and those overnighting. The six accommodation options include the Small Plettenbergs, which sleep two adults and two children under the age of 13, and the Josmont Heights, which have one- or two-bedroom options and sleep two and four people respectively. The resort also has a villa on the banks of the Keisie River that sleeps seven guests. Overnight guests also get discounted prices to the natural hot springs. Accommodation options are reasonably priced between $55 and R158 per night per chalet.
ATKV Goudini Spa, Rawsonville
Just an hour drive outside of Cape Town is the Goudini Spa. The scenic drive on the N1 highway carries you through the Huguenot Tunnel, then you hit Route 62 which leads you through the Breede River Valley to the small town of Rawsonville. The natural hot spring water is fed into large swimming pools, where you can sit and soak while surrounded by the majestic Boland Mountains. Being one of the hottest springs in South Africa with temperatures varying from 27 degrees to 37 degrees, it will get rid of your winter blues and warm you from the inside out.
The spa is a great place to spend a family weekend away, as it offers loads of activities for children. Accommodation at the spa includes facilities for caravans, motor homes and tents, as well as a selection of self-catering accommodation units including apartments and rondavels (round houses). Prices for both accommodation at the spa and surrounding areas vary depending on where you want to stay, but are extremely reasonable and affordable.
The Baths, Citrusdal
The Baths is situated on a citrus farm in the stunning Olifant River Valley near Citrusdal. A favourite amongst Capetonians, this self-catering resort is only a two-hour drive from Cape Town’s CBD. The resort has amazingly scenic views, and natural hot springs with a temperature of 43C. Established in 1739, the resort has Victorian-style stone buildings and is run by the great-grandchildren of James McGregor, who bought the establishment in 1903. With minimum cellphone service and no TVs, the resort promotes outdoor living in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. (There is however a internet hotspot at MacGregor’s Restaurant — a great alternative to the self-catering option — for those who can’t switch off completely from city life.)
There are various accommodation options including 15 chalets, 18 apartments and 20 well-shaded caravan and camping sites. Each accommodation option is rich with history and guest have the option of staying in The Victorian Building (a stone building built in 1903), Dwarsgebou (Cape Dutch-styled duplexes built in 1914), Olsen Building (a boarding house built by Trygve Morch Olsen in the 1920s), Chalets on the Kloof (eight chalets that sleeps up to six people) and the Outside Chalets (just outside the entrance of the resort). Accommodation cost between $48 and $150 per night, per unit. Day visitors are also welcome at a cost of $8 per adult and $8 per child.
Avalon Springs Hotel & Spa Resort, Montagu
With signs of man using these springs date back to the late 1700s, it has literally been a firm favourite amongst locals for over 100 years. Flowing naturally from a fissure in the rock face five meters underground, the water is around 43 degrees when it reaches the various pools at Avalon Springs. The water that flows into the pools is almost 100% clear and has no added chemical.
The hotel and spa resort is located in the majestic town of Montagu and offers guests both a hotel and chalet options at the resort. With two options of self-catering or breakfast included, the hotel comes with the added value of an ensuite bathroom, small fridge, air conditioning, telephone, television, cable television, DVD player, hairdryer and coffee and tea making facilities. It also sleeps between two and four people and costs between $60 and $200 per night. Other options are the Mountain Chalets that consists of an undercover porch with built in BBQ area, a lounge, a fully equipped kitchen and two double bedrooms with a full bathroom en suite. Each chalet sleeps six people and includes under floor heating, air conditioning and a private outdoor spa bath per unit. The chalets cost between $140 and $240 per night.
Calitzdorp Spa, Klein Karoo
Calitzdorp may be a five hour drive from Cape Town, but the drive through the Klein Karoo, a semi-desert region, is amazing — you’ll see hundreds of ostriches along the way. Though hot springs are traditionally a winter pursuit, in Calitzdorp the springs are popular all year round. The water reaches a maximum temperature of 50C, and offers relief from all types of ache and pains. Tortoises, peacocks, and 72 species of birds roam the grounds, and it’s also home to 25 springbok, which can be seen in the early morning and evening.
The spa offers various self-catering accommodation options, including four-sleeper mountain chalets, six-sleeper mountain chalets, and swimming pool four-sleeper chalets. All chalets come with fully equipped kitchens (excluding microwave and toaster in some cases) and cost between R250 and R1280 per night. Day visitors are also welcome, and the fee is R20 for adults and R15 for children.