Hot springs can be found all over Africa, and have historically been used by the local population for a range of health and wellness benefits.
One of the African countries that is particularly renowned for its hot springs is South Africa, whose thermal features attract tourists from all over the globe. One of the most famous hot springs in the nation is located at the ATKV Goudini Spa, which is found just an hour from Cape Town.
Uganda and Egypt are also known for their thermal areas, and the latter alone boasts nearly 1,500 hot springs.
In particular, Egypt is becoming increasingly popular for its medical tourism opportunities, and travelers flock to locations like Aswan and Sinai to reap the benefits of hot springs with healing powers.
Meanwhile, Uganda is home to Kitagata Hot Springs, which lie to the west of the country’s capital city, Kampala. The spring is referred to as Mulago by the local people and is believed to have healing properties. It is also said to have been enjoyed by the King of Ankole.
If you’re thinking about visiting one or two (or 10!) hot springs in Africa, here’s where you should go and what you should know.
List of the Most Popular Hot Springs in Africa
- Beho Beho Hot Spring, Tanzania
- Kapishya Hot Springs, Zambia
- ATKV Goudini Spa, South Africa
- Kikuletwa Hot Spring, Tanzania
- The Baths Natural Hot Springs, South Africa
- Nyakabuye Hot Springs, Rwanda
- Kitagata Hot Springs, Uganda
- Cradock Spa, South Africa
- Pharaoh’s Bath, Egypt
- Shu Shu, South Africa
- Chemka Hot Springs, Tanzania
Can you drink the water from the hot springs in Africa?
According to Travel Triangle, the water found in the thermal springs throughout South Africa, at least, is safe to drink. In fact, people have traditionally consumed spring water for the proposed health benefits that come from ingesting the minerals within.
However, it’s important to note that some hot springs can harbor germs and bacteria that may cause your body harm if you ingest them. To stay safe, it’s best to avoid drinking the water at the hot springs you visit in Africa unless you’ve been given specific permission to do so by the local staff.
Even then, be aware that the water in certain countries may be safe for locals to drink but may be harmful to foreigners whose immune systems are not used to it.
How long should you take to soak in the hot springs in Africa ?
The amount of time you spend in a hot spring depends upon the specific temperature of the water and your overall health. In general, it’s best to soak for no longer than 10 minutes at a time (via Durango Hot Spring Resort and Spa).
If you plan on staying at a hot spring for an extended period of time, be sure to get out of the water every 10 minutes or so and let your body return to its normal temperature.
Be sure to monitor your own health and look out for signs of burning or dehydration. In the event that you experience any negative symptoms, vacate the water immediately.
Where is the best place to go for hot springs in South Africa?
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to hot springs in South Africa. However, the most well-known area in relation to hot springs is the province of the Western Cape, which is located along the country’s southwestern coast.
Are the African hot springs family-friendly?
The specific rules of each hot spring vary, so always check with the establishment you’re visiting as to whether you can bring children with you or not. In general, many hot springs are family-friendly, but minors will need to be supervised.
Keep in mind that some hot springs, however, are reserved for adults. Always do your research before you go!
What should you wear when visiting hot springs?
The specific guidelines regarding what you should wear will change between hot springs and resorts. To stay safe, always check with the hot spring you’re attending as to what clothing is required. Some hot springs have a clothing optional policy while others require bathing suits.
Remember that some African countries are predominantly or officially Islamic (including Egypt), which may mean that there are stricter dress codes in place or that male and female bathers may be separated.
Generally speaking, the most accepted attire for hot springs is a modest swimsuit. Non-slip shoes may also be permitted (and a good idea to pack if you’re worried about slipping on your way into the hot spring).
When is the best time to visit hot springs in Africa?
You can visit hot springs right around the year, but the cooler months tend to bring a more enjoyable experience as the water is heated.
The only problem with visiting during winter is that you may feel extremely cold once you get out of the water, so make sure to bring a clean change of clothes and rug up!
If you are visiting hot springs in summer, aim to bathe later in the day when the weather is a little cooler (and there are also less crowds to share the water with!).
Hot springs aren’t the first tourist attraction that springs to mind when you think of Africa, but nevertheless, the country is blessed with infinite healing springs.
You can enjoy hot springs in a variety of African countries, but head to Egypt, South Africa, or Uganda to experience the most well-known springs on the continent.