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Hartbeespoort Dam is an enormous Dam in the North Western Province of South Africa, built in a beautiful valley on the Crocodile River, between the mystical Magaliesberg and Witwatersberg mountains, 70 kms from Johannesburg and 35kms from Pretoria.
The dam was opened in 1923. People from Johannesburg built charming thatched weekend cottages on the slopes in the 1930’s, to enjoy the country quiet with lovely scenic views over the dam.
A charming small holiday Resort town grew up around the dam, little villages developed along the banks. The large expanse of water was a welcome sight on the high dry savannah of the Transvaal plateau
Nowadays the dam is a major Water sport Playground and Relaxation Destination for Gauteng, not only for its scenic beauty but also its convenient proximity to the cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg. It is less than an hour’s drive away from both.
The climate is one of the best in the world, with year round sunshine. The temperature is between 16 and 29 degrees all year, with afternoon thunderstorms in summer, and sunny dry winters.
Hartbeespoort provides a holiday haven, a fun diversion for the fast living population of Gauteng. There is a marvellous array of entertainment, from outdoor activities to amusement parks and animal sanctuaries. It is the place for lovers of Watersports, with sailing, boating, water skiing, windsurfing, and jet skiing available. The Transvaal Yacht Club, is a beautiful sight with the yachts moored and dotted about on the dam, and has been there since 1923. One can also hire canoes, boats, or book a weekend on a yacht.There are a variety of leisure and speed Boat cruises. One of the few Inland Sea Rescue Institute stations is based here, their mission is to save lives on any South African waters.
Many spots around the dam are suitable for family picnics and braais. There are Animal parks and Sanctuaries, nearby reserves have leopards, jackals, genets, cheetahs, hyenas, sables and giraffes. The Elephant Sanctuary allows one to get close to elephants and there are also an Aquarium, Snake park and Monkey and Bushbaby Sanctuary.
The Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway provides panoramic views of the ancient magical Magaliesberg mountains, 100 times older than the Himalayas. The Air Sports of Paragliding and Hang gliding are available for fantastic views. Bill Harrop’s Hot air Ballooning is popular, with spectacular views of game in reserves and the surrounding landscapes. Zwing Zwing Zip Lines with 10 platforms and 7 slides, also close to the dam, offers breathtaking views of the area.
Hiking trails over the peaceful hills and valleys around the dam is another popular activity. Bird watching and horse trails are also available. There are 4 scenic Golf courses, some on the banks of the dam, and some surrounded by the Magaliesberg mountains with indigenous vegetation. The dam has Art and craft, and Curio shops. Maropeng, Lesedi Cultural village and Sun City are nearby tourist attractions less than an hour’s drive away.
Where to Eat
There are numerous excellent places to eat, from elegant restaurants to coffee shops, fast food outlets, juice and health bars. There is sushi and tapas, greek, italian, portuguese and french cuisine and of course, Traditional African all available.
Where to Stay
Accommodation ranges from Safari Wilderness Camps to Luxury Spas. There are gorgeous bush lodges, retreats into idyllic bushveldt. Cottages and chalets with pretty views over the dam, holiday homes and villas with pools are great other options for places to stay.Many spas offer deep relaxation with lovely gardens.
Hartbeespoort is 15kms from Lanseria and 80kms from Oliver Tambo International Airport. It is less than an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria. Day trips and self driving routes are one way to explore the area. Taxis and airport shuttles are available.
Do you Know
The small town is often called Harties by the locals. The dam was built on Hartbeespoort Farm. The Afrikaans farmers who lived there in the 1830’s, hunted hartebeests, a type of antelope, cornering them in the valley. Originally the dam was the dream of General Schoeman, a Boer General who owned Hartbeespoort Farm in the 1890’s. The dam was built to irrigate the farms in the area which then became valuable and fertile. The main crops grown on farms around the dam are flowers, fruit and tobacco.