A ride to remember at the Harties Cableway
The green cable car lurches forward, and the lower station at Hartbeespoort Cableway soon becomes a small blip on the beautiful landscape as we ascend one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world.
At the top we are met with sweeping views of Gauteng and the North West province. Hartbeespoort Dam stretches out across the valley, farmsteads and homes lie among rolling hills, and far in the distance, the urban masses of Pretoria and Johannesburg dot the skyline.
South Africa’s newest aerial cableway, perched on top of the Magaliesberg mountain range, has seen an influx of visitors since it opened to the public in August 2012. Overall feedback has been incredibly positive and many local visitors have expressed delight that the attraction has been restored after it fell into disrepair many years ago.
'It’s a unique, romantic cableway,' says general manager Iain Gunn. 'The cable cars are small, and if it’s quiet you can ride just two people to each car. You climb to the top of this ancient mountain range, and the history of the area is incredible. The [South African War or Anglo-Boer War] battles of Buffelspoort, Nooitgedacht and Olifantsnek were fought on the plains below.'
Gunn explains that over 150 000 people have visited the cableway since it reopened, and says he is encouraged to see that tourism overall in this already popular area has picked up.
'We are not an all-day operation, so people have more time to explore other attractions in the area after visiting the cableway. Our visitor centre can also help you plan and book other activities around Hartbeespoort.'
Birding enthusiasts might be lucky enough to see the aerial acrobatics of vultures from the nearby rehabilitation centre, or spot a rarely seen Verreaux's eagle.
Winged creatures of the human variety – paragliders – are also now making more frequent use of the paragliding ramp at the top of the mountain, which makes for entertaining viewing while you enjoy a meal at the Pizza Shack.