Ai-Ais Hot Springs Spa: Our full report
Ai-Ais Hot Springs Spa lies at the Southern end of Fish River Canyon, in a scenic area beside natural sulphurous ...... hot springs, from which it got its name, as Ai-Ais means 'burning water' in the Nama language. As well as the spa facilities it offers a number of different room types, suitable for those travelling between South Africa and Namibia and for those visiting Fish River Canyon.
With 43 rooms, Ai-Ais offers a range of accommodation choices. There are 16 river view double rooms and 20 mountain view doubles rooms, as well as seven bush chalets that can also be used for families. When we last visited in April 2018, we found these room descriptions to be somewhat ambiguous, as the river view rooms look out over the campsites and the pool with the mountains behind, and the mountain view rooms are so close to the mountain, that perhaps 'rock view' might be a more appropriate name! The lodge is set in a lovely area at the southern end of the Fish River Canyon and we can't help but think that an opportunity has been missed, if only it had been built in a slightly different location the rooms could have had a much nicer aspect.
Other than the view, the river view and mountain view rooms are very similar, decorated in various shades of beige, with a double bed in the centre, a fridge, tea and coffee facilities, air conditioning and a small balcony. Typical with many Namibian Wildlife Resort (NWR) properties across the country we thought that finishing touches had been missed and the attention to detail where maintenance is concerned could be improved. However the rooms looks comfortable and mostly clean with en-suite bathrooms, the river view rooms also have an outdoor shower, although not with a view. Liquid soap, shampoo and towels are provided. It's worth noting that all the double rooms lead off the main indoor pool, which is convenient for those using the pool but we imagine this would make them quite noisy when the pool was busy. As the campsite with up to 100 pitches is also not too far away from the river view rooms you may struggle for peace and quiet if they were all in use.
The bush chalets are set away from the main building and are therefore quieter. These large chalets are suitable for families or friends travelling together, and have self-catering facilities including a fridge, a stove, a microwave, a kettle and crockery, cutlery and pots and pans. As well as a kitchen there's also a dining room, a lounge with a TV, a small courtyard, two bedrooms (one twin one double), two bathrooms and an outdoor braai area.
Camping facilities are also available and at busy times guests may find tents pitched right in front of the main building and the outdoor pool.
The main area of Ai-Ais consists of a large complex containing the indoor pool fed by a natural spring, restaurant, bar, reception and curio shop which also sells basic food supplies. The indoor pool is fed by a hot spring, and so the temperature is warm. This is not really a swimming pool but more of a relaxing, soaking pool. Around the pool are various chairs and loungers for relaxing. Outside, opposite the main area is an outdoor pool, which is also warm but not as warm as the indoor pools.
Next to the indoor pool is the spa, which offers a variety of treatments (that must be pre booked) including various massages, facials, hydrotherapy and manicures and pedicures, all for an extra cost.
Other than relaxing in the hot pools, activities available at Ai-Ais include hikes in Fish River Canyon, guided nature walks, and visits to the canyon, it is around an hour to an hour and half’s drive to the entrance to the viewpoints on the eastern side of the canyon. The spa can also be visited and used (for a fee) by those staying at other camps in the area.
For those who prefer to relax and take things a little more slowly, Ai-Ais Hot Springs Spa could be a place to do just that. Although be prepared that in high season at this relatively large lodge it may feel busy and you are likely to get less personal attention than at others. However it’s location means that guests can drive themselves to the main view points of Fish River Canyon in the morning and soak in the hot springs in the afternoon.
Country manager: Namibia
- Fish River Canyon, Namibia
- Ideal length of stay
- 2-3 nights
- Ais-Ais Hot Springs Spa is located in the very south of Namibia near to the South African border, it is at the southern end of the Fish River Canyon.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Bed & Breakfast
- Food quality
- On our most recent trip to Ais-Ais Hot Springs Spa in April 2018 we enjoyed a hearty lunch here. Although the service was a little hard to come by we enjoyed toasted sandwiches with chips that we ordered from the lunch menu.
We have not eaten an evening meal from here on recent trips but we understand that it consists of a buffet style and would expect it to be of the same standard as the various other NWR properties, mainly edible but nothing to write home about. The large restaurant can serve up to 100 guests in one sitting so maybe that goes some way to explaining this. Guests staying in the bush chalets can also use the self-catering facilities available there.
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome at Ai-Ais Hot Springs Spa.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no age restrictions here.
- Special activities & services
- Children can use any of the swimming pools.
- Highchairs are available.
- Generally recommended for children
- Yes, as long as they are supervised in the pools and around the hot springs.
- Children must be supervised at all times, especially in the pools and baths. Children are not allowed into the spa area unless they are booked for a treatment.
- Guests can use the phone at reception if necessary. There is little mobile pone coverage.
- TV & radio
- Only the premier chalets have televisions.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Each room has flush toilets and hot and cold running water.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The nearest hospital is in Keetmanshoop, although many of the staff here know basic first aid.
- Dangerous animals
- Low Risk
- Security measures
- There is a guarded gate on the property.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are located outside each room.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Extra Charge
- Local currencies are accepted but there is no currency exchange available. A safe is available at reception.
- Accepted payment on location
- Visa and Mastercard are accepted for card payments whilst South African rand and Namibian dollars are accepted currencies for cash payments.
Other lodges in Fish River Canyon
Alternative places to stay in this same area.