Enormously popular with Gauteng families for weekend getaways or day trips, Hartbeespoort Dam has much to offer. Not only is there a wide selection of accommodation options, activities ranging from mild to wild, exciting places to keep kids entertained and lovely scenery – it’s just a hop and a skip away from the urban conurbation of Pretoria and Johannesburg.
This spectacular dam is just a 45-minute drive from Johannesburg and lies 35 kilometres west of Pretoria. Nestled in the undulating foothills of the Magaliesberg Mountains, it’s a great escape from city living. There is an amazing choice of places to stay ranging from upmarket waterfront golf estates, boutique hotels, guest houses, B&B’s, self-catering homes to camping sites – almost all have stunning views of the dam.
The main town of Hartbeespoort is situated on the shore and right next to the Hartbeespoort Dam wall. The little villages of Meerhof, Melodie, Ifafi and Kosmos are spread along its eastern banks. To the south and west lie the exclusive golf and country estates. When full, Hartbeespoort Dam’s shoreline extends for a staggering 56 kilometres. This awesome watery playground is a haven for watersport junkies, offering parasailing, windsurfing, water and jet skiing, canoeing and sailing.
Kids will find plenty to excite them – take them to explore the large aquarium, private animal park, snake park, elephant sanctuary, monkey and bushbaby sanctuary, and the cableway. Welwitschia Country Market near the dam wall is also worth a whirl for family eateries with over 40 wooden stalls centred around a bird park and under shade trees. The Crocodile Ramble, an arts and crafts route, is not too far for day visitors or overnight trippers.
Golfers can tee off at three excellent golf clubs in superb surroundings. There are some lovely drive routes, hikes, 4WD adventures, horse riding and thrilling hot air ballooning trips. The Gaabo Motho Cultural Village and other cultural villages offer a glimpse into traditional African lifestyles and sell handmade curios.