Hartbeespoort Dam is a popular weekend and day trip destination for folk in the Johannesburg and Pretoria area. The dam and surrounding areas offer a host of outdoor activities, from a variety of watersports to flights of every description. Hikes, walks and trails complete the region's compelling outdoor adventure activities.

Did you know?

Hartbeespoort is surrounded by the Magaliesberg, one of the world's oldest mountain ranges.

Hartbeespoort is a small, picturesque town located in the eastern corner of the North West province, bordering the Gauteng province.

Hartbeespoort Dam is the area's major attraction and the heart of this tourism region. A mecca for adventure pursuits, the majority of Hartbeespoort adventure activities are centered on the dam and its magnificent mountain and bushveld surrounds.

Boating and watersports are popular, and visitors can enjoy sailing, windsurfing, jet skiing, parasailing and water skiing. Sundowner cruises on Hartbeespoort Dam are also popular.

Quad biking has become a popular way to explore the rugged hillsides around the town and there are numerous operators offering quad trails of varying lengths and difficulties.

There are also lots of ways to enjoy the scenery from the air. Paragliding and hang-gliding are both popular, as is hot-air ballooning, which affords a bird's eye view of the dam, mountains and adjacent river valleys.

If climbing mountains is more to your liking, you'll be pleased to know there are several rock climbing and hiking routes in the area, some of which also include abseiling.

The nearby Crocodile River, which feeds the dam, offers white water rafting, including overnight options complete with riverside camping. Tubing, canoeing and cable slides into the river are also available.

The area also boasts one of South Africa's few inland dive sites – a 33m-deep open cast chrome mine at Miracle Waters, north of the dam. The clear spring water provides good visibility and several underwater features, including a sunken bus and aeroplane, are accessible to experienced divers.

Visit the nearby Elephant Sanctuary to walk with African elephants, and the exceptional Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre to see wild cats (and dogs) up close.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

North West Parks and Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)18 397 1500
Email: info@tourismnorthwest.co.za

How to get here

From Johannesburg take the R512 to Brits and follow the signs to Hartbeespoort.

Best time to visit

For adventure activities, spring and summer offer the best weather. Winters, however, are generally mild so it's pretty much an all-year-round destination.

Around the area

The Welwitschia Market and Chameleon Village for arts, crafts and curios; drive the Crocodile Ramble arts and crafts route and the Magalies Meander; De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre; Hartbeespoort Elephant Sanctuary, Harties cableway.

Get around

Hartbeespoort is a fairly large area, with activities spread out, so driving yourself is best so as to explore at your own pace.

Length of stay

At least a weekend to explore the area and its attractions.

What to pack

Plenty of sunscreen and a hat, along with any sporting equipment you may need. If you do forget an important piece of equipment, however, chances are it will be available to rent.

Where to stay

There are plenty of charming B&Bs and guest houses in the area. If you plan on visiting the De Wildt Cheetah Sanctuary, stay at the Cheetah Lodge, a fine base from which to explore the area.

What to eat

There are a number of excellent country restaurants in the area. Try Tan’ Malie se Winkel (Aunt Malie’s Shop) for traditional South African country cooking.

What's happening

The annual Nelson Mandela Invitational golf tournament takes place at Pecanwood Estate in November. The Om die Dam (Round the Dam) Ultra Marathon is run in March.

Best buys

Locally made arts, crafts, curios and clothes at the African market at Chameleon Village.