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Free State

You are only moments away

FFor visitors driving through South Africa’s arid Karoo, a delightful new tourism route running around the Gariep Dam reveals more than ‘big water’: historical sites, eccentric country types, a plush hotel, waterside herds of antelope and wide-angle landscapes to thrill the eye.

Perhaps the most beautiful dam in South Africa, the Gariep Dam lies between the Free State and Eastern Cape provinces.

This massive piece of water covers more than 370 sq km when full, and can store nearly 6 000-million cubic litres, giving life and flow to the Great Fish River, the Sundays River and, the mother of all South African rivers, the Orange.

Did You Know?
TThe Gariep Dam, completed in 1971, is the largest dam in South Africa. 'Gariep' is an ancient San word for 'great water'.

IIt was officially opened in 1971 and overflowed for the first time the next year. In 1975 an 82km tunnel was opened, sending water from the Gariep into both the Fish River Valley and the Sundays River Valley.

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