About Sterkfontein Dam and Nature Reserve

The vast expanse of water which is the Sterkfontein Dam lies a few kilometres from the edge of the Drakensberg Escarpment in the topmost reaches of the Vaal Dam catchment on the Nuwejaarspruit. The cool, fresh, deep waters are ideal for trout and other fish and it is a popular angling spot. It is the third largest dam in South Africa providing a perfect playground for sailing and other watersports. The surrounding landscape is scenically stunning - characterised by rugged mountains, lush ravines and rolling grasslands.


In this beautiful setting is the Sterkfontein Dam Reserve covering 18 000 hectares. Perfect for long walks, hiking (there is a two-day hiking trail) and biking, it also offers excellent game viewing and bird watching. You can tick off oribi, reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, grey rhebuck, the blue and whitebellied korhaan, the bald ibis, the buffstreaked chat, the ground woodpecker, and the sentinel. Gaze up to the sky and you could spot Cape and bearded vultures, as well as black and martial eagles soaring. Secretary birds can also be spotted in treetops or stalking in the grasslands.


The precipitous ravines are populated with yellowwood, koko, wild peach, silky bark, and black bark trees as well as bush guarri. Wild grapes have grown up into the tops of the trees forming a dense canopy of leaves. Fungi and lichen sit against rotten and living tree trunks alike. The mountain slopes are adorned with wild myrtle, silver sugarbush ouhout, highveld protea, redwood, hush guarri, and the tree fern.


Directions to Sterkfontein Dam and Nature Reserve

R74 on the Oliviershoek Pass from KZN and Harrismith. From Bloemfontein and Gauteng (via N1) it can be via the N5 or the N3.
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Reviews for Sterkfontein Dam and Nature Reserve

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Shakira Apelgren
08 August 2012

My family and I have twice travelled from KZN to Sterkfontein Dam, outside Harrismith. We have gone both times in mid winter, which is quite cold, yet we were surprised to see many families holidaying there! Firstly, as you drive on this partly dirt and tar road, you just see rolling hills, trees and no civilisation, wonderful, the colours of the landscape are beautiful reds, browns, camel and pale green. Then, you get a glimpse of a deep blue (like the ocean!) in the middle of literally nowhere! This is Sterkfontein Dam. It is the most awesome sight to behold - kilometers of deep blue water...
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Sterkfontein Dam and Nature Reserve Map

Sterkfontein Dam and Nature Reserve is 22.6km from the centre of Harrismith , the nearest airport 266.1km (King Shaka International Airport).
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling

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