South Africa (Free State, North West)
The Bloemhof Dam is one of the largest dams in South Africa, covering an area of some 25 000 ha and reaching over 100 km upstream from the dam wall. The dam is fed by the Vaal River.
Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve hosts a wide variety of plains game with particularly large herds of springbok, black wildebeest, eland and gemsbok. Over 250 species of birds have been recorded at the reserve including some rare waterfowl on the dam. The reserve hosts several national and international fishing competitions including the Tri-Nations and the Bloemhofdam Bonanza. The Bloemhof Dam is open for all watersports. Powerboat launching facilities are provided. Angling is also permitted on the Vaal River below the dam wall. When visiting the Bloemhof Dam Reserve, take in the dam wall, accessed from the village. A dramatic experience when the river is in full flood.
Sandveld Nature Reserve, situated on the Free State side of the Bloemhof Dam (at the confluence of the Vaal and Vet Rivers), is the Free State’s top birding spot. Its roughly 37 000 hectares comprise a range of habitats (particularly kalahari Thornveld), and boast a checklist of approximately 295 bird species. A two to three day stay in the pleasant surroundings is recommended. Most habitats are easily accessible. Lists of 70-80 bird species are usual, while up to 150 species may be seen over a weekend in late summer.
Habitats include open water, shoreline, marshy areas, grassland, karoo scrub, kalahari Thornveld savanna and woodland, and sweethorn (acacia karoo) savanna. Some rocky areas are also present.
A good network of gravel roads traverses the different habitats, chalet accommodation, night drives, organised walks, picnic sites for day visitors.
Generally mild to hot, but can be cold in winter, especially at night.
Location (27° 40′ 19″ S, 25° 36′ 55″ E)
The Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve is located 320km from Johannesburg and 4km east of Bloemhof on the R34 to Hoopstad. Roads on the reserve are generally suitable for all vehicles other than in exceptionally wet periods.
The reserve is a 12 000 ha conservancy in open Kalahari scrub, thornveld country offering the visitor a rare combination of game viewing on the reserve or fishing at one of the most popular angling sites in South Africa.
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Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve offers a group-camp complex consisting of three self-catering, furnished chalets, with 3 bedrooms each, three dormitory type sleeping halls with six beds each, an ablution block, a kitchen and a small conference or function facility and lapa.
All 3 chalets have 3 bedrooms with 2 single beds in each. They are equipped with linen, except the towels. There is a toilet and shower in the chalet. An open plan kitchen with cutlery and crockery, a built in kitchen unit with wash basin, 2 plate stove and fridge. There is a kitchen table with chairs and a cane lounge set with coffee table. Outside is a lapa for braai. Costs are per person per night plus once off entrance and fishing fee. Chalets are 1.Ѕ km from the dam.
The 3 sleeping halls have 6 single beds in each, and are also equipped with linen except the towels, separate ablution and kitchen with cutlery and crockery, fridge freezer combination, 2 stoves. There is a lapa for braai. Costs are per person per night plus entrance and fishing fee.
The log cabins with 2 bunk beds for 4 people are equipped with linen except towels, have toilet and shower inside, a kitchen unit with wash basin and gas stove and fridge. Lights and geyser are solar powered. Cost are for the entire cabin per night. Visitors must bring their own cutlery and crockery.
Camping facilities are available at the angling area.
A thatched hunting camp has been opened on the reserve which can be hired as a unit offering a peaceful environment in the centre of the reserve. There is no electricity at this camp which is powered by solar panels.
Plek Vanni Visarend is located in Bloemhof on the banks of the Vaal river. The lodge can accommodate 32 people. There are 8 rooms available – all 8 rooms can sleep 2 people and each room has “en-suite” bathrooms. Our 1 room has a jacuzzi in the room. There are two 4 bed self-catering units and one 6 bed self-catering unit, each with its own fully equipped kitchen and bathroom and DSTV. All rooms are equipped with a air conditioning.
On the premises there is a restaurant to cater for 250 people. Breakfast/lunch and dinner are served. There is a open bar located on the deck of the restaurant where guests can enjoy a sundowner while looking over the water and watch the sunset.
River View Resort is an upmarket holiday destination in Bloemhof that offers a great self-catering stay for the whole family.
Each of the four chalets at River View Resort has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. They are fully equipped including linen and towels. The open-plan kitchen is fully equipped for self-catering, and a TV room with DStv is available. The units have built-in braais, there is air-conditioning in every room. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is available for overnight accommodation.
Guests have access to a heated pool and separate parking. Fishing decks are situated 20 m from the chalets on the banks of the Vaal River.
Vrolikheid Gastehuis, situated in a peaceful area in town, offers three bedrooms: 1 double and two twins. It also has a full bathroom, separate shower and separate toilet. There is a lovely lounge with a TV and a fully equipped kitchen, with braai facilities outside. Breakfast will be available on request.