In 2011 the Sudwala Caves became the first venue in Mpumalanga to offer a Garra Rufa Fish Spa. The spa is picturesquely situated out of doors, with a panoramic view of the valley below.
Garra Rufa fish, also known as ‘nibble fish’ and ‘doctor fish’, originate in the river basins of the Northern and Central Middle East, mainly in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Sudwala’s fish come from Singapore, where they are bred for export.
These minnow-like fish are famed for their habit of gently nibbling away at and consuming dead skin – and only dead skin. For centuries, people with psoriasis and other skin disorders have visited outdoor hot springs near Kangal, Turkey, where the Garra Rufa live and breed. Once they have consumed dead areas of the skin, healthy skin is free to re-grow. As a bonus, in the process, acupuncture points on the soles of the feet are stimulated, and blood circulation improved.
The water in the Sudwala Spa fish baths is constantly filtered through bio-filters, and UHF rays are used to kill any bacteria in the water. Customers are also required to wash their feet in an antiseptic bath prior to dipping them into the fish bath.