South Africa (Gauteng)
The Hartbeespoort Dam, surrounded by the majesty of the Magaliesberg mountain range, is a popular destination for weekend getaways or day trips. All water sports may be enjoyed including para-sailing, windsurfing, water and jet skiing.
With about 56 km shoreline, it is a popular week-end getaway for both Pretoria and Johannesburg, and as such, attracts some of the wealth concentrated on this region.
For the adventurous there is paragliding, hang-gliding or hot air ballooning, as well as an aquarium, private zoo, a snake park and a cable way. Or, explore and discover the scenic beauty, entertaining attractions, fun activities & places of interest of Jozi’s favorite playground.
The village of Hartbeespoort is situated along the shores of the dam, among undulating hills and panoramic views of the dam and the majestic Magaliesberg Mountains. Enjoy the tranquility of the hills and valleys, the scenic drives, challenging hikes and gentle rambles on offer.
Also of interest is the Crocodile Ramble, an arts and crafts route with day visitor and overnight facilities. Pecanwood Estates hosts the annual Nelson Mandela Invitation Golf Tournament.
The Heritage Route starts at the dam, going north to the Pilanesberg National Park and on to the Madikwe Game Reserve in the north.
Many years ago, a man by the of General Hendrik Schoeman, owned a farm called Hartbeespoort. He had the idea of building a dam, in which the community could gain from. During 1896 building of the dam wall began in the Crocodile river, near the railway line that today runs to Meerhof. It was the largest dam in the southern hemisphere.
He named this dam “Sophia dam”, after his wife, but was later changed to the name that stands today: Hartbeespoort dam. The dam wall cost a staggering R10 000 to build… Back then.
In 1905, it was decided to relocate the location of the dam wall. It would be positioned between two mountains; the same position still remains today.
A swedish man by the name of August Karlson was hired to engineer the build. However, due to financial problems and the onset of war, construction came to a halt soon after.
Building commenced again in 1918. Unfortunately, during 1921, torrential rain washed the temporary dam away. Again construction came to a stand still. Out of sheer frustration, August Karlson resigned from his position.
The council was left with no one to finish the build, so they hired a young, but talented engineer named F.W.Scott. With the dam finally built, the first road over the bridge was tarred. This became the new road between Pretoria and Rustenburg.
The Magaliesberg are among the oldest mountains in the world, almost 100 times older than Everest. They stretch for 120 km from Bronkhorstspruit Dam east of Pretoria to Rustenburg in the west and separate the highveld grasslands to the south from the bushveld savannah in the north.
Location (25o 45′ 39″ S, 27o 47′ 2″ E to 25o 43′ 33″ S, 27o 50′ 55″)
Harties Tourism Harties (Hartbeespoort Dam) is a mere 45 min drive from either Jo’burg or Pretoria, and boasts a wide variety of things to do, places to stay and new adventures to experience. Nestled amid the Magaliesberg Mountains, it’s a region of breathtaking scenery – a favorite excursion spot for a day or a long week-end. Harties is close to the city, and out of this world!
Our preferred publicly accessible boat launch is at Eagle Waters Wildlife Resort, where blesbuck and zebras are free roaming. Keen bird watchers will be able to spot cisticola, african pipit and the rare kurrichane buttonquail in the grassland landscape. Over 340 identified bird species, including vultures are found around the Hartbeespoort Dam area. Enjoy the stunning views of the Hartbeespoort Dam and the Magaliesberg mountain range which offer beautiful scenery. Camp sites, luxury tents and self-catering chalets are available.
Daily visitors are welcome from 06h00 – 18h00. Bring the family and relax in this beautiful environment where you can fish, picnic, braai and relax around the pool.
With a fleet of six large hot air balloons – carrying between two and eighteen passengers each – Bill Harrop’s “Original” Balloon Safaris has been operating as a legally licensed balloon Air Transport Service since 1981.
At the Bush Babies Monkeys Sanctuary you can see free-living monkeys in their natural habitat. Brought to South Africa as cuddly babies, from the forests of Central and South America and Madagascar, they now have a new home in this enclosure of 7 ha of indigenous forest on the rocky slope of the Magaliesberg. A guided stroll along the elevated wooden walkways with these exotic primates clambering, jumping and swinging is a touching experience.
The Elephant Sanctuary provides a “halfway house” for young African elephants in need of a temporary home. It is the only operation in South Africa that provides for elephants in this way.
The Harties Cableway takes visitors to the top of the Magaliesberg mountains. The views from the top are spectacular. A paved walkway takes visitors from the cable station along the brim of the mountain, allowing vistas of the landscape north-west of the mountain that stretches away towards Brits and Rustenburg. In the opposite direction lies the dam, which makes a particularly pretty sight when the yachts are out in number. Across the rolling mountains to the south, Sandton and apparently even the sports centre at Soweto can be seen on clear days. Signboards along what is called the Dassie Loop walkway give visitors information on the area, the dam, Pretoria, Johannesburg, the mines at Brits, and even on far-away Botswana.
Enjoy the bushveld of the private Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve, situated in the foothills of the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve (listed with UNESCO!). During the 1.5 hour Horseback Safari, an experienced guide will share lots of interesting information and fun facts about this hidden gem in Hartbeespoort. Silkaatsnek boosts abundant birdlife and some of Africa’s magnificent mammals, including giraffe, zebra, kudu, nyala, wildebeest and blesbuck. You can also opt for the hike through the reserve to the top station of the Cableway, from where you take a gondola down and be transferred back to Ostrich Manor Eco Lodge where you started from.
The De Wildt Cheetah Centre in South Africa was established in 1971, initially as a cheetah breeding project and the Centre has during the past 40 years bred over 800 cheetah cubs. Various conservation projects have been initiated since its inception, e.g. a successful African Wild Dog breeding program.