We spent a few hours at The Baths in Citrusdal during December – it’s a huge property with accommodation and the Baths boasts hot and cold swimming pools, rock pools, private baths, hiking trails, mountain biking and bird watching! There is also a shop for purchasing odds and ends and a fully licensed restaurant if you don’t feel up to cooking during your weekend or holiday away.
The history of the baths date way back to 1739 when it was suggested that a military post be built on the farm with the warm baths… The then governor, Daniel van den Henghel decided that the Dutch East India Company should erect a ‘handsome’ building with thatched huts for visitors to the baths. Being a distance from Cape Town it became difficult to maintain The Baths and so, in 1778 a letter was sent from the Castle of Good Hope authorizing Schalk Willem Burger to move to the site. In 1855 the British government sold The Baths for a sum of £350 to John Lawrence Sharp.
After this an enquiry was set up and a doctor maintained that although run down and neglected, the Oliphants River Baths deserved their reputation of having healing properties. The commissioners of the enquiry bought The Baths … they had a long term vision of building a railway from Porterville but the Boer War got in the way of this and in 1903 James McGregor bought The Baths at an auction in Clanwilliam. Years later, it is still run by his great grandchildren!
The spring is an artesian well and water that gathers in the Koue Bokkeveld Mountains sinks down through the sandstone to a depth where the earth is very warm. Pressure builds up, forcing the water out in the Kloof at a temperature of 43°C. Water is delivered at 105 000 litres per hour!
The Baths boasts hot and cold swimming pools, rock pools, private baths, hiking trails, mountain biking and bird watching.
The Victorian building has been converted into flats but the beauty of the architecture cannot be missed. The accommodation includes 16 chalets, 18 self catering flats and 15 camping sites
The Baths is well worth a visit.
Call +27 (0)22 921-8026 for further information.