Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has exposed physiotherapists to unique work-related challenges. However, there is a lack of research regarding the mental health and lived experiences of South African physiotherapists during the COVID-19 pandemic.Objectives: To determine levels of mental and physical health, burnout, depression, anxiety and resilience and coping strategies used by a sample of South African physiotherapists with and without exposure to patients with COVID-19. Lived work experience, perceived health and sources of support were also explored.Method: A non-experimental, cross-sectional, mixed-method design was used. Physiotherapists completed an online survey comprising: a demographic questionnaire; scales assessing mental and physical health, burnout, depression, anxiety and coping strategies and six open-ended questions. A total of 171 physiotherapists participated in our study, 43.3% of whom were exposed to patients with COVID-19.Results: The exposure group scored significantly higher on self-reported mental health, anxiety, depression and burnout than the non-exposure group. No significant differences were reported for physical health and resilience. Significantly more maladaptive coping strategies were employed by the exposure group. Participants’ lived experiences highlighted similar experiences, as well as work-related challenges. Both groups reported that primary sources of support were significant others, but highlighted the lack of organisational support.Conclusion: Irrespective of the degree of exposure to COVID-19, the mental health and lived experiences of physiotherapists working in South Africa has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.Clinical implications: Understanding physiotherapists’ well-being and lived experiences during the pandemic may guide workplace interventions. Our findings suggest the need for psycho-educational intervention programmes to be implemented at an organisational level.