Working for a big company can be draining and when that happens, in my world that means get away, rejuvenate, have fun; explore and forget about everything else for a little while. If you work or are visiting Johannesburg, the small resort town of Hartbeespoort will be your saving grace.
For a small town, Hartbeespoort is one of the greatest gems the North West Province of South Africa has on offer. The number of activities that can be done here surpass that of some big cities in the country. Who would have thought that a dam that was built to irrigate the farms in the area would become a hot spot for adventure seekers and holiday makers? Hartbeespoort Dam has attracted visitors for decades and they keep coming back for more.
Learn how you can enjoy this beautiful small town. Take a pause from your everyday routine reality and recharge your batteries.
The upside down house
Get ready to be blown away by this small house that defies gravity. “The birth of the inspirational idea of this ingenious ‘house’ became real by the reflection of a peculiar presence, which in the existing world might sometimes feel upside down,” it says on the official website for the house, which arguably is also a piece of art. I have never seen anything like that so I had to make a stop there, you should too. Get on the R3 Hartbeeshoek Road, Hartbeespoort, a ‘world’ turned upside down awaits. Even the items on the inside of the house are upside down.
It is a lovely experience for your family (especially the young ones) and friends to let loose and laugh a little. Go and experience the magnificence and spectacular engineering of a ‘house’ turned on its roof, my highlight!
Hartbeesport is a watersports lover’s happy place, with a hefty selection of activities to do. These include sailing, water skiing, windsurfing and jet skiing. Furthermore, the Transvaal Yacht Club, a beautiful sight with the yachts moored and dotted about on the dam, has been there since 1923. One can also hire canoes, boats or book a weekend on a yacht.
If you’re up for a quiet cruise or party cruise, Hartbeespoort has you covered. For adrenaline junkies like me, there is more to choose from. A jet ski is my favourite because of the freedom to do as you please in the water. Speed boats are a close second. The thrill you get when they hit the waves is just outrageously fun.
Sunset views on the aerial cableway
Get the bird‘s eye view of the whole town, Hartbeespoort Dam and the whitewater rapids of the Crocodile River from the cable car. Both the river and the dam are visible from the Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway, which ascends to the top of the Magaliesberg Mountains.
The Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway provides panoramic views of the ancient magical Magaliesberg Mountains that are said to be 100 times older than the Himalayas. This place also has the best sunset views from the lookout restaurant on top. No one needed to convince me to get on that cable car and marvel at the beauty of this lovely small town. I loved every sight as soon as I got in.
Air sports like paragliding and hang gliding are available for even more fantastic views. Bill Harrop’s Hot air Ballooning is also popular, with spectacular views of game in reserves and the surrounding landscapes. Ama Zwing-Zwing Zip Lines with ten platforms and seven slides, also close to the dam offers breathtaking views of the area.
Hiking on the peaceful hills and valleys around the dam is another popular activity. The two most popular hiking trails are the Hennops and Paladingwe hiking trails. These can be found within ten minutes of the dam. Hennops is a ten kilometre trail and Paladingwe is an eight kilometre trail. For more advanced trails you can easily visit the Magliesberg (aka Magalies) Mountains. Bird watchers also can feast their eyes on a variety of bird species on the trails. Additionally, horse riders can also enjoy a great day out galloping in the wild.
This small town boasts an array of animal sanctuaries, the most popular of which houses elephants. You can get quite close to the elephants. Sanctuaries and nearby reserves have leopards, jackals, genets, cheetahs, hyenas, sables and giraffes. There is also an aquarium, snake park, monkey and bush baby sanctuary.
All these sanctuaries provide a unique experiences for all animal lovers. They pride themselves in the way they take good care of the animals. If you like contributing to saving animal lives, then visiting any of these sanctuaries should be on top of your list.
‘Paris’ in Hartbeespoort
South Africans love love so much that they created their own little Paris in Hartbeespoort complete with a small Eiffel Tower. Inspired by the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, couples can affirm their love by placing a lock on the fence around the tower. There is also a pond where visitors throw coins for good luck and they also enjoy the main outdoor restaurant, French Taost Koffe Kafee.
Markets are a good way to sample local food and I am always willing and ready for that. Art lovers also find home in markets. There is a minimum of three markets that can be found around the Hartbeespoort town. One mainly focuses on arts and crafts, and some focusing on arts and crafts, clothing and food. My time at these markets is always time well spent and that has seen me market hopping on some weekends to get a well-rounded experience.
The story of the growth of Hartbeespoort, a ‘farming area turned resort town,’ can be witnessed with the beautiful flowers, local produce and unique experiences that people seek to enjoy every week. There is so much to do in this small town, you better come prepared. Outside of town, Miracle Waters, a spring-water dive site in a former chrome mine can be found. Also nearby is the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, a sanctuary for not only cheetahs but also African wild dogs, vultures and caracals, among other animals. Furthermore, Maropeng, Lesedi Cultural Village and Sun City are nearby tourist attractions less than an hour’s drive away.