A Visitor’s Ultimate Guide To Hartbeespoort Dam
Today, Hartbeespoort and the Hartbeespoort Dam are known mainly as a South African resort town north of Johannesburg where ‘Gautengers’ like to go for some R&R on the weekends.
It’s also known for its many popular attractions: Hartbeespoort Dam boat cruises, the Crocodile River and the Hartbeespoort Cableway (the longest aerial monocableway in all of Africa) which ascends up the slopes of the majestic Magaliesberg mountain range.
Still, there’s so much the average visitor or would-be holidaymaker might not know about Hartbeespoort Dam (or ‘Harties’ as its affectionately known by its groves of visitors each year) and the town of Hartbeespoort that surrounds it.
In this ultimate guide to the Hartbeespoort Dam, we aim to shed some light on this beautifully scenic area so that you will be empowered with everything you need to fully optimise your weekend away.
Here are some Hartbeespoort fast facts on the dam and the region’s infrastructure:
Hartbeespoort – Fast Fact Sheet
- Hartbeespoort consists of a number of smaller communities: Meerhof, Ifafi, Melodie, Schoemansville and Kosmos.
- Schoemansville is the oldest neighbourhood of Hartbeespoort and is named after General Hendrik Schoeman, a boer general in the Anglo-Boer War and original owner of the farm the Hartbeespoort Dam was built on. More on him later.
- This “poort” in the Magaliesberg was a well known spot where hunters would corner and shoot the hartebeest.
- Over 250 000 bags of cement were used to build the Hartbeespoort Dam wall.
- At full capacity, the Hartbeespoort Dam fills to 205 million cubic meters of water.
- The Hartbeespoort Dam was raised in 1970 when it underwent renovations that included the installation of crest gates.
- The dam wall is 149,5 metres long and 59,4 metres high, and built across a gorge that cuts through the Magaliesberg mountain range.
The shape of the Hartbeespoort dam wall is found nowhere else in South Africa.
As with anything worthwhile in life, Hartbeespoort is filled with character once you get to know its ins and outs.
Read on to find out more about Hartbeespoort activities, sights, attractions, nightlife and more. Keep this page as a handy resource. Email it to yourself for later, bookmark it, or just jump ahead to a specific section to find the information you’re looking for quickly and easily.
A Brief History of Harties
While Hartbeespoort means “gateway of the hartbees” in Afrikaans, there’s no doubt that this enchanting community is a gateway to more than just that specific species of antelope.
It’s a gateway to a rich and sprawling heritage.
The Hartbeespoort Dam itself was constructed as early as 1916 and was delayed only briefly by the First World War, some flu epidemics and the odd Afrikaner rebellion. It was completed in the beginning of 1923.
Ever since, The Hartbeespoort Dam resort has served to provide employment opportunities and poverty relief to the surrounding areas.
Naturally, it’s an area steeped in both history and relative mystery.
Much like most places of cultural significance across our beautiful and diverse country, the Hartbeespoort Dam area has been home to many an important historical figure over the years.
General Hendrik Schoeman
One of the more prolific — if not tragic — of those historical figures was General Hendrik Schoeman, the man the town of Schoemansville was named after (which later became Hartbeespoort).
Although Schoemansville doesn’t exist anymore, Hendrick’s legend still lingers, not just because the dam itself is built on land that was once a farm Schoeman owned, but also because the whole idea of building a dam and town was General Hendrik Schoeman’s to begin with.
The eventual refusal to name the town after Schoeman was presumably something to do with the bad reputation he’d manage to generate amongst his peers after he’d surrendered to the British during the South African War.
Building the Hartbeespoort Dam Wall
In early 1896, building of the dam wall began in the Crocodile River beside the railway line that today runs all the way to Meerhof.
Hendrik originally named this dam “Sophia Dam” after his wife.
It later changed to become the name we all know today: Hartbeespoort Dam.
It’s almost crazy to think that the dam would cost R10 000 to build, which was a staggering amount back then!
The Hartbeespoort Dam Wall Relocation
In late 1905, a Swedish man by the name of August Karlson was hired to engineer a relocated dam wall, positioned between two mountains. This is the structure we know today, more or less.
During 1921, torrential rain washed the temporary dam away and construction was briefly delayed. August Karlson quit from his position and was replaced with the young and talented F.W. Scott.
Under Scott’s guidance, it call came together in the end.
The dam was finally built and the first road over the bridge was tarred, which became the new road between Pretoria and Rustenburg.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Hartbeespoort Dam Map + Directions
Pack up and hit the incredibly scenic road from Johannesburg to Hartbeespoort Dam that bends and curves between roves of aloes in flower during the winter months and green mountain scenery the rest of the time.
The road trip is always half the fun anyway.
Just brace yourself for all sorts of sites on the way; you’re sure to pass our very own localised version of the Harley-Davidson revving Hell’s Angels, hellbent on nothing more than pushing their bikes as hard as they can under the heat of the Hartbeespoort sun — you might even see the odd roadside wildlife sighting if you’re lucky.
Below, you’ll find a comprehensive map of the Hartbeespoort Dam area, as well as directions to the Hartbeespoort from all major roads.
Directions to Hartbeespoort from the N4:
- Take N4 to R511 in North West. Exit from N4.
- Continue on R511. Take R513 and Simon Bekker Ave to Agnes Ave in Hartbeespoort
Directions to Hartbeespoort from Sandton
- Get on Ben Schoeman Fwy/Pretoria Main Rd/M1 in Barlow Park from Katherine St/M85
- Follow Ben Schoeman Fwy/Pretoria Main Rd, Summit Rd and R511 to Kleinste St in Hartbeespoort
- Drive to Die Ou Wapad St
Directions to Hartbeespoort from Pretoria
- Take Stanza Bopape St/R104 to Johannes Ramokhoase St/N4 in Arcadia
- Follow N4 to R511 in Flora Park AH
- Continue on R511. Drive to Die Ou Wapad St in Hartbeespoort
Directions to Hartbeespoort from Randburg
- Get on N1 Western Bypass in Randpark Ridge from Beyers Naudé Dr/M5
- Take R512 to Kleinste St in Hartbeespoort
- Drive to Die Ou Wapad St
Directions to Hartbeespoort from Brits
- Take Van Deventer St to Hendrik Verwoerd Ave/R511 in Brits
- Follow R511 to Die Ou Wapad St in Hartbeespoort
- Drive to Die Ou Wapad St
Hartbeespoort Dam Weather
The 1620ha Hartbeespoort Dam functions as both a source of irrigation for farms in the area as well as a holiday resort and so, as you’d expect, it’s subject to some fantastic weather more or less all year round.
In fact it’s Hartbeespoort Dam’s warm temperatures — even on winter days — combined with the natural charm of the surrounding countryside that make this the ideal location to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, take a boat cruise on the dam, restore one’s energy, replenish the soul and reconnect with friends and family, all while having the best time.
The Weather in Hartbeespoort at a Glance
Below are the average temperatures and rainfall measurements for Hartbeespoort area over the average year.
Obviously, these numbers are by no means comprehensive and are subject to change, but they should give you a pretty clear indication of what kind of weather you can expect over the course of a typical year:
- January – 18° (low) / 29° (high) / 8 days rainfall
- February – 18° (low) / 30° (high) / 6 days rainfall
- March – 16° (low) / 28° (high) / 6 days rainfall
- April – 12° (low) / 25° (high) / 3 days rainfall
- May – 8° (low) / 23° (high) / 1 day rainfall
- June – 5° (low) / 21° (high) / 0 days rainfall
- July – 5° (low) / 21° (high) / 0 days rainfall
- August – 7° (low) / 23° (high) / 0 days rainfall
- September – 12° (low) / 28° (high) / 1 day rainfall
- October – 15° (low) / 28° (high) / 5 days rainfall
- November – 16° (low) / 28° (high) / 8 days rainfall
- December – 18° (low) / 29° (high) / 8 days rainfall
Boating On The Hartbeespoort Dam
Hartbeespoort Dam has long been a prime destination for people from the surrounding metros to come kick back and spend their hard-earned cash, and it’s not hard to see why. The boating opportunities and water activities are unparallelled in the area, and are plentiful.
However, not many offer the convenience and variety of options as Boatersworld.
Sit back and bask in nature and a one-of-a-kind atmosphere; enjoy the sounds of water rushing by as you sip on delicious cocktails and devour gourmet snacks. Discover the beauty and charm of Hartbeespoort from the water on one of Boatersworld’s catered or self-catering cruise options.
Boatersworld catered cruises in Hartbeespoort
Boatersworld offers a selection of catered cruises on the Hartbeespoort Dam. Enjoy 2 to 3-hour catered cruises complete with onboard cash bar and sound rig, with buffet meals offering everything from marinated chicken to beef on spit to a range of desserts.
Find out more about our cruise and party boat options in the dedicated section below. You can also book catered Hartbeespoort boat cruises on the Boatersworld website.
Hartbeespoort Dam Boat Cruise Prices
Catered boat cruises on the Hartbeespoort Dam range anywhere between R350 – R425 per person, while Boatersworld’s range of self-catering boat cruise options range between R1850 – R8000 per hour depending on how many people are on the vessel.
Boatersworld prides itself on offering some of the most competitive pricing in Hartbeespoort, so you can be sure that not only are you getting the highest in quality, but at a reasonable rate too. You can find detailed pricing on the Boatersworld website
Boatersworld self-catering Hartbeespoort cruises
Enjoy a range of self-catering Hartbeespoort boat cruise options for groups of 6 to up to 190 guests each, and enjoy the freedom to make the cruise your own. You can book catered Hartbeespoort boat cruises on the Boatersworld website. Boatersworld also caters for corporate and private Hartbeespoort boat cruise events. Get in touch today.
Hartbeespoort Dam Activities on The Water + Watersports
Boatersworld offers an array of thrilling watersports and activities to entertain guests of all ages on the Hartbeespoort Dam — from jet-skiing to tubing sessions.
Speed Boat Tours
Explore a variety of speed boat tours with Boatersworld.
Our tours are suitable for all ages, and offer all the safety requirements and regulations one needs in order to have fun on the water.
We offer two different sizes of boats each with its own top-quality sound system and canopy, so you can customise your cruise to suit your exact requirements.
Choose from either our 6-passenger boat or, if you’re going big for a joyride or celebration, our large 10-passenger variation will suit just perfectly.
Each speed boat tour includes a qualified and experienced skipper who will show you all the Hartbeespoort sites and scenery.
Our speed boat rentals also include everything you could ever need or want when it comes to Hartbeespoort Dam watersports.
Dive right in with thrilling toys such as water tube rides — a huge hit with the kids — water skis, wakeboards, kneeboards and slalom.
Boatersworld’s Hartbeespoort Dam speed boat tours offer all the approved and required safety equipment, so you can dive right into all the action without having to worry about a thing.
Our Hartbeespoort Dam speed boat tours are affordable and unforgettable.
Don’t hesitate to contact us today for pricing and more info.
Hartbeespoort Dam Party Boat Tours
If you’re looking to have one of the best times of your life while surrounded by the rugged Hartbeespoort wilderness and your friends and family, you should seriously consider enlisting the services of one of Boatersworld’s Hartbeespoort party boats.
The following boating options are available in both have both catered and self-catering options (the former offering a free cocktail upon boarding) depending on your specific requirements.
10-passenger mini barge cruiser
This is our smallest party boat option, but it still packs a mighty punch.
Offering a sound system as well as a mini bar, this Hartbeespoort party boat option is ideal for a small group of friends or even a family looking for a relaxed ride out on the water.
20-passenger double decker party boat cruiser
Comfortably hosting approximately 20 passengers, this small-to-medium sized vessel comes equipped with a bar, onboard toilets and a powerful sound system to set the atmosphere.
With plush seating on its uppermost level, this is a great option for family cruises with children who might want to experience Hartbeespoort from the water.
40-Passenger double decker party boat cruiser
A slightly bigger take on our 20-seater party boat option, our 40-passenger cruise liner offers a bar, onboard toilets, an upper deck for optimal sightseeing, and a top-quality sound system for setting the mood.
This option is perfect for slightly larger groups; conferences, team-building and work events.
190-passenger party boat
This is the big one; our flagship vessel, Prime Time.
With over 400 square meters of deck space, ample seating, and a 360-degree panorama of the surrounding Hartbeespoort wilderness, Prime Time is the largest inland party boat in Southern Africa, and the perfect place to hold your next big event.
Offering a high-quality, crisp sound system and DJ deck setup, Prime Time has hosted big South African artists such as FIFI Cooper, Kwesta, Pitch Black Afro.
Unlike our other cruise vessels, Prime Time is unique in that it also serves as a one-of-a-kind wedding venue for those who want to make sure that their wedding is an absolutely unforgettable experience that remains forever in the memory of its guests.
With over just over 20 whole years of Maritime experience, you can count on Boatersworld to deliver a safe and distinctive Hartbeespoort water experience.
Boatersworld’s number one mission is to expand the marine industry by introducing the joys of water activities to tas many people as possible.
If you’d like to ask more questions about Boatersworld watersport offering or would like to make a booking, contact us today.
Hartbeespoort Dam Fishing & Camping
When it comes to the many things to do in Hartbeespoort, camping and fishing is right up there with the best and it doesn’t take more than looking out a window to see why.
Wildlife is everywhere you look.
Bird-watching enthusiasts can enjoy the many opportunities to lay their sights on cisticola, african pipit and the very rare kurrichane buttonquail in amidst the grassland landscape of the Hartbeespoort Dam area, along with an estimated 340 identified bird species.
Naturally, an area like this just lends itself to camping.
Any already powerful appreciation for the great outdoors is sure to be magnified by breathtaking views of the Hartbeespoort Dam and the Magaliesberg mountain range. These are views that will stay with you long after your stay.
If you’re an avid fisherman, The Hartbeespoort Dam is the spot for you.
The area offers a number of fishing destinations where anglers target big Carp, Bass, Kurper and Barbel, using flour dough, mielies and worms, chicken livers, crabs, worms, small fish, fish heads, spinners — you name it!
The catches are sizable too; 3 – 4kg fish are not at all uncommon in the area.
Just remember, being one of the top destinations of choice for Gauteng water sport lovers, bass anglers are obliged to accept that they’ll have to make do sharing the water with pleasure crafts of all shapes and sizes.
Luckily, the Hartbeespoort Dam is large enough that this isn’t ever too much of a problem.
A secret bay or secluded cove is always open somewhere, it’ll just take some exploring — which is arguably the most best part!
If you’re not in the mood for exploring, check out Ifafi Aquatic Club, Bushwillow Camp or Drie Berge. All three are known to be great fishing spots.
Best Hartbeespoort Accommodation Options
To save you the hassle of looking through all of the available Hartbeespoort accommodation options, we’ve taken the time to curate the top three hottest family friendly spots to stay in Hartbeespoort according to trusty TripAdvisor:
Situated right on the Hartbeespoort Dam waterfront, Kassaboera Lodge is a doorway to some of South Africa’s most memorable tourist attractions like the Cradle of Humankind and Sun City.
It’s real selling point, however, is its warmth, comfort and incredible hospitality.
Its 109 glowing Tripadvisor reviews are a testament to this.
Kassaboera Lodge is a truly exceptional African experience, offering luxurious Hartbeespoort accommodation whilst incorporating an African theme throughout the lodge and establishment.
The Venue Country Hotel
The Venue Country Hotel is a top-class Hartbeespoort accommodation option known for its dining, drinks, entertainment and attractions that mostly occur in and around the Terrace Restaurant.
This restaurant also offers a huge outdoor area perfect for post- conference catch-ups while getting the latest update on whatever sport happens to be on and overindulging in delicious gourmet dishes prepared by the in-house chef. There’s also free, reliable Wi-Fi access, which is always a bonus.
Alpha Conference Centre
The renowned Alpha Conference Centre has been operational since 1983 and since then it’s been on the up and up, continually improving itself to meet the highest of standards and provide guests to the Hartbeespoort area comfort as well as convenience and efficient service.
If you’re looking for a place of pure serenity, cloaked by the Magaliesberg mountain range with accommodation that looks over lush gardens and natural beauty, look no further than Alpha Conference Centre.
Also, as its name suggests, it’s the ideal venue for conference evens or team-building programmes.
Finding decent options in the Hartbeespoort Dam accommodation space is never more than a Google search away these days, but the above three choices are the best as voted by the people and as such, if you’re thinking of staying in one of them on your next trip to Hartbeespoort Dam we advise booking well in advance to avoid disappointment.
Best restaurants in Hartbeespoort
Just like accommodation options, Hartbeespoort is swarming with viable options for fine dining or even just casual meals.
We’ve outlined three of the most popular below.
Once again, due to the popularity of the venues to follow, we advise that you book early to avoid disappointment:
Head to Silver Orange Bistro for a laid-back atmosphere, delicious contemporary African cuisine and an award-winning wine list.
With its welcoming home-away-from-home atmosphere, Silver Orange Bistro is a family-friendly restaurant, but also works well as a romantic spot for two.
The chef insists on only using the freshest local and seasonal ingredients in everything they make, so you can be guaranteed that it will always be top-notch.
Meals are priced anywhere from R60 – R250.
You’ll find Stef’s Table, an intimate restaurant hidden away on the main road of Schoemansville, in an old rock structure amidst the lushest green scenery.
The venue features two comfortable dining rooms, one fitted with a hearty fireplace for those cold winter nights, and the other lording over the garden area, perfect for summer.
But, Stef’s Table’s food is its main selling point.
The la carte menu may be small but it packs a delicious Mediterranean punch, along with Asian, and South African dishes — with a French touch — lovingly prepped and prepared by co-host and chef, Stef himself.
Meal prices range anywhere from R130 – R180.
Siesta Tapas Bistro is a Spanish restaurant with a uniquely South african twist located in Schoemansville in the Hartbeespoort area.
The idea is for guests to gather around and enjoy one another’s company while snacking away on a range of delicious tapas dishes. Simple, straightforward and bolstered by Siesta’s tranquil and rustic ambiance.
Whether it’s sangria in the summer or gluhwein in the winter, Siesta offers the ideal atmosphere in which to relax and kick back — plus some of the tastiest tapas in town!
Meal prices range anywhere from R50 – R170.
Things To Do in Hartbeespoort During The Day
You will certainly not be stumped for things to do in Hartbeespoort.
From getting up close and personal with majestic animals in some of South Africa’s finest wildlife reserves to fine dining and even finer wining at some top-class brunch spots, the area has everything you could ever want.
Set against the foot of the Magaliesberg against the eastern shore of Hartbeespoort Dam lies the Hartbeespoort Zoo and Snake Park.
The park is quite something — a real life recreation of a natural world where visitors can experience the essence of what makes the area so special.
Visitors can expect to get face to face with tigers and other big cats, chimpanzees and various primates, hyenas, otters, birds and one of South Africa’s best reptile collections.
The Hartbeespoort Zoo and Snake Park is a must-see, and basically an essential if you have kids.
Hartbeespoort Crocodile Farm’s mission is to assist in the conservation of South African reptiles through education.
The establishment offers guided tours of the extensive collection of protected reptiles, as well as the opportunity to pet tarantulas and handle reptiles.
For the more adventurous, the farm offers Africa’s first Nile Crocodile Zip-Line, an adrenaline-fuelled opportunity to fly or zipline over crocodiles as they watch from below.
Not for the faint of heart, of course.
Enjoy the vibrance and ambience of a traditional African market less than an hour’s drive from most of the surrounding big cities, or stop by at one of the nearby restaurants or curio shops.
There’s always something to be discovered.
The Hartbeespoort Elephant Sanctuary offers visitors to the area the opportunity to get to know African elephants with a wide range of elephant experiences, like elephant back riding.
It also offers accommodation, so you can make a day/night of the experience.
The facility’s dedicated staff are committed to the use of positive reinforcement elephant training methods and as a result, they have only relaxed, happy elephants, so you can rest easy.
If it’s golfing you’re after, you’re in luck.
Hartbeespoort golf options are plentiful; the area is home to a variety of top-class, golf-centric establishments:
- Brits golf club
- Sandy Lane
- Magalies Park
- Mooi Nooi Golf Club
They say, “If you’re looking for things to do in Hartbeespoort, just look towards the water.”
If you haven’t already picked up from the rest of this article, the Hartbeespoort Dam area is the go-to destination for watersports of all kinds.
Jet-skis, tubing, water skiing, wakeboarding, wakeskating, banana-boarding, kneeboarding, you name it, you’ll find it at Hartbeespoort.
For details on pricing and session rates, do not hesitate to get in contact with Boatersworld.
Afternoon Sunset Boat Cruises
Afternoon-into-sunset cruises are very popular in the area and they’re easily one of the most fun activities in Hartbeespoort.
Hop aboard one of our catered or self-catered cruises and enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding vistas from the comfort of one of our luxury vessels, while enjoying delicious food, refreshing cocktails and great company.
For more information on Hartbeespoort Dam cruises, contact Boatersworld, or check out the boating section of this article.
If you’re looking to get dignified and have a day of top class dining, visit the Leopard Lodge.
This 248ha property is rich in bird life and resident wildlife includes giraffe, kudu, blesbuck, impala, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, warthog and zebra.
Leopards, however, are very scarce but have been sighted occasionally, mainly at night.
We do not, however, recommend going on a night expedition to look for one.
The Magalies Canopy Tour offers a series of breathtaking and nail-biting zipline slides on an aerial cableway that is as scenic as it is terrifying. They take place across a natural gorge, so you can feel like a modern Tarzan-soaring over tree-tops and up against cliff face platforms.
Things To Do in Hartbeespoort At Night
Although the Hartbeespoort Dam area is teeming with wildlife, it’s only after the sun goes down that the real animals come out.
The nightlife scene in Hartbeespoort is severely overlooked, but if you know where to go and what to do in Hartbeespoort at night, you’re liable to have one of the best nights of your life.
Upper Deck Restaurant is renowned for three things: its earth-shatteringly delicious Eisbein specialty dish, its utter dedication to getting only the finest in live South African music performing at the venue every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It’s an easy, relaxed, family-friendly outdoor environment, which creates the ideal atmosphere for making both new friends and lasting memories.
Find out what’s cooking at Upper deck this weekend.
Like something out of a movie, YOLO beach bar is a biker’s haven featuring sand, palm trees and an unbeatable ambience, situated right in the very heart of Harties.
YOLO beach bar also prides itself on being a “restaurant for the hungry”, so best build up an appetite before you arrive.
Hartbeespoort Boat Cruises
Boatersworld offers an almost endlessly customisable selection of catered and self-catered Hartbeespoort party boat cruises to add some spice to your stay at Hartbeespoort Dam.
Just as the afternoon cruises are a big deal in the Hartbeespoort Dam area, so too are the night time versions, albeit a lot rowdier, usually.
Enjoy anything from a 2 to 3-hour catered cruises — for anywhere between 10 to 200 passengers at a time — to longer and more involved experiences kitted out with cash bars and sound systems to really get the party started. Our Hartbeespoort night cruises are totally safe, so you can relax and soak up the atmosphere without a single worry in the world.
If you and your friends are up for having the time of your life, consider booking a night cruise for a time you won’t soon forget.