Learn which snakes are venomous; watch seals perform tricks; discover amazing birdlife and wildlife – all this and more is on offer at the Hartbeespoort Dam Snake & Animal Park.

Did you know?

The park is home to a number of animal television and movie stars.

At the Hartbeespoort Dam Snake & Animal Park you'll see lions, snakes, seals, chimps and many other fascinating animals that live there.

You’ll find it at the base of the Magaliesberg Mountains in a sanctuary complete with shady trees, an expanse of water and massive cliffs. Set aside a good few hours to explore this 40-year-old destination, where the aim is to study and preserve South African wildlife.

The Hartbeespoort Dam Snake & Animal Park is home to a range of animal and reptile species, from lions, tigers and other large felines to hyenas, wild dogs, otters, birds, snakes, and chimpanzees and fellow primates.

Visit one of the best reptile collections in the country at the Chameleon Village Reptile Park, where live reptile shows are held daily. Snake lectures approved by the Field Guides' Association of Southern Africa discuss various kinds of snakes, identification, habits, how to avoid snakebites and what to do if bitten.

If the scaly ones scare you, rather catch the antics of resident seals in the seal pool, or spend time with a large breeding group of chimpanzees that keeps visitors entertained.

Free parking is provided, and there’s also wheelchair and pram access.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Hartbeespoort Dam Snake and Animal Park
Tel: +27 (0)12 253 1162
Email: zoogang@mweb.co.za

How to get here

From Johannesburg take the William Nicol, passing Fourways Mall, the Indaba Hotel, Dainfern and Diepsloot on your left. Just after the Krugersdorp Highway flyover, you will see the Hartbeespoort Dam signboard. Turn left. You are now on the Hennopsriver road, the R511. Stay on this road over the mountain and into the town of Hartbeespoort. Follow the signboards.

Best time to visit

The park is open daily in summer (8am to 5.30pm) and winter (8.30am to 5pm). A seal and snake show takes place on weekends, public holidays and during local school holidays at 12h00 and 15h00, so plan your day around these events.

Around the area

The dam lends itself to a host of outdoor and water-based activities such as parasailing, windsurfing, waterskiing and jet-skiing. For the more adventurous there’s also paragliding, hang-gliding and hot-air ballooning on offer in the area. Enjoy the scenic surrounds by car, on foot or by mountain bike.

Tours to do

Hartbeespoort Bird Gardens to see the bird-breeding programme. Also of interest is the Crocodile Ramble, an arts and crafts route with day visitor and overnight facilities. The Heritage Route starts at the dam, going north to the Pilanesberg National Park and on to the Madikwe Game Reserve in the north.

Get around

It's best to have your own car in this area, as public transport is poor.

What will it cost

R60 for adults; R30 for children 3-12 years.

Length of stay

Ideally, spend a few hours here.

Where to stay

There are lots of accommodation options in the area. You could stay at the nearby Lesedi Cultural Village for an interesting and uniquely South African experience. Or contact the local tourism office (details under Contacts).

What to eat

A welcome waterfront tea garden serves light snacks and offers a panoramic view of the dam. You can also enjoy a lunch with a difference on the floating restaurant, or drive to the local cheese factory at nearby Skeerpoort. At the dam there’s an indoor and an outdoor restaurant.

What's happening

Weekend visitors can enjoy scenic ferryboat cruises on the dam for one, two or three hours. For the more adventurous, there’s also fast action on the water snake.

Best buys

Hans Kretschmer produces unique handcrafted swordsticks, or find arty goodies at Tan' Malie se Winkel. There is an extensive African market that sells curios on the other side of the Hartbeespoort Dam Wall.