Namibia » Fish River Canyon » Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort
Ai-Ais is one of Namibia's famous hot springs resorts, situated at the southern end of the breathtaking Fish River Canyon. In the Nama's language, 'Ai-Ais' means 'burning water'. The thermal bath immediately next to the spring is apopular recreation resort, especially during the winter. The water is particularly soothing for people suffering from rheumatism.
The resort is set at a sulphurous hot spring, which makes perfect sense as the name '/ai-/ais' means 'burning water' in the local Nama language. It indicates the extreme heat of the hot springs, which date back to 1850, when they were discovered by a Nama herder, searching for his lost sheep.
The Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort now forms part of the Ai-Ais / Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, and visitors can now cross from South Africa to Namibia, using the Sendelingsdrift border post from within the park. As this resort is a very popular holiday destination with families from both Namibia and South Africa, it is advisable to book well in advance.
As with all thermal springs, the water is supposed to have natural curative properties, and is especially beneficial for sufferers of rheumatism .For the more energetic, there are some enjoyable, but sometimes arduous walks into the canyon, especially pleasant in the late afternoon when the shadows are long, and the heat off the rocks contrast with the cool sand.
The improvements at Ai Ais include a brand new restaurant and bar, serving buffet meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seating up to 100 visitors. Other facilities include a laundry and room service, secure parking and up-to-date disabled ramps into all buildings, including the rooms. Valuables can be locked up in the safe in the reception. Children of all ages are welcome, but parents must supervise their youngsters at all times, especially when in and around the thermal baths / swimming pools.
Accommodation is in 36 brand new double rooms and 7 premier chalets. 12 of the rooms have river views and the remaining 24 have mountain views. All of these rooms have been fitted in the new Spa complex and sit over the indoor thermal pool. So there is no excuse for not popping downstairs for a relaxing session in the pool, or to visit one of the treatment rooms for a body or head massage, to get rid of those unwanted aches and pains.
- The 12 river view rooms are equipped with an en-suite bathroom and bath, air-conditioning and a tea/coffee station.They also have the added facility of an outside shower!
- The 24 mountain view rooms have an en-suite bathroom with a shower, air-conditioning and a tea/coffee station.
- The 7 premier chalets are for families/groups and are equipped with an en-suite bathroom and air-conditioning. The 3 bedrooms, have either a ¾ size, 2 x queen, or 1 x king-size bed in each room.The self-catering kitchen is equipped with a refrigerator, 2 plate stove, microwave oven, kettle, pots/pans and plates/cutlery.An added attraction of these brand new chalets, is that there are 2 verandahs, with both river and mountain views!
The other main attraction at Ai-Ais (besides the indoor thermal pool) is the popular, but cooler outdoor pool. As the surrounding countryside is arid and rocky and in summertime temperatures soar, not only is a session in either pool beneficial to your health, it also helps you to keep cool. This is a perfect venue for chilling out and tables/chairs are provided.
Activities at Ai-Ais include walking trails up the ravine, the Fish River Canyon Hiking Trail and guided scenic excursions within the park.
Ai-Ais is the ideal destination when heading towards South Africa, or northen-route to Sossusvlei and Windhoek, for individual travellers and families alike.