African Biking Adventures

Can I drink the tap water?

High-quality tap (faucet) water is available almost everywhere in South Africa, treated so as to be free of harmful micro-organisms, and in any area other than informal or shack settlements, is both palatable and safe to drink straight from the tap.

In some areas, the water is mineral-rich, and you may experience a bit of gastric distress for a day or two until you get used to it. Bottled mineral water, both sparkling and still, is readily available in most places.

Drinking water straight from rivers and streams could put you at risk of water-borne diseases - especially downstream of human settlements. The water in mountain streams, however, is usually pure and wonderful.

In the Cape, particularly, the water contains humic acid, which stains it the colour of diluted Coca-Cola - this is absolutely harmless, and the water is wonderful. You may also find this colouring in tap water in some areas. It's fine - it just looks a bit weird in the bath.

Back to FAQ