Natal Spa is one of the provinces oldest hot mineral bath resorts, and is built on the northern bank of the Bivane River. Mixed bush and large boulders line the river, with grassland and bushclumps dominating the area.
The resort is home to a breeding pair of African Crowned Eagles, whose lives have been intensely studied by Denise James, the manager’s wife. A hide has been built from which the eagles can be observed on the nest, and during the breeding season (September to January) observers can be rewarded with breathtaking interactions between the pair and their chicks.
Many of the birds at Natal Spa have become habituated to the presence of humans, and are tame and confiding.
A number of endemic species occur at the resort, including Bald Ibis, Jackal Buzzard, Cape Rock-Thrush, Grassbird, Fiscal and Southern Black Flycatchers, Cape Batis, Cape Longclaw, Southern Boubou, Greater Double-collared Sunbird, Cape White-eye and Cape Weaver. All these birds can be recorded around the gardens and surrounding vegetation.
Mocking Cliff-Chats hop around the restaurant, and the House Sparrows have taken a liking to eating out of the sugar-bowls. Emerald-spotted Dove, Kurrichane and Ground-scraper Thrushes, Red-throated Wryneck, Black-headed Oriole, African Harrier-Hawk and African Pied Wagtail are all commonly recorded from the gardens around the pools.
The riverine bush provides perhaps the best chance of seeing Grey-headed Bush-Shrike, African Paradise Flycatcher and Spectacled Weaver.
Along the river, Giant and Pied Kingfishers, African Black Duck, Egyptian Goose and Hamerkop are all often seen, while African Fish Eagle pays the resort frequent visits.
From Vryheid, take the R69 towards Louwsburg and turn left 1km outside town at the sign marked “Paulpietersburg”. Drive on till the T-junction, turn left, and carry on for about 25km. The spa turn off is on the right hand side of the road.
Accommodation available at the resort.