Just about anyone you chat to has been there and still goes there, if you live in Gauteng it’s a favourite spot, around an hours travel on reasonable roads and with a good deal to do, much of my four wheel drive activity has taken place in this area as the De Wildt, Hennops and ADA trails are readily accessible – you guessed it correctly I am referring to the Hartbeespoort Dam or Harties as it is commonly known.
It’s an area with something for all, young or old, a spot for adventure with so much to see and do, families love the new cable car which affords you the best views of this area situated in the Magaliesberg Mountains. Nearby you can explore the cradle of humankind but given recent happenings that is perhaps another story for the future.
Should you venture across to the De Wildt 4×4 route take a bit of extra time to visit the Cheetah Centre (www.dewildt.co.za) and the Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre (www.margaretroberts.co.za ) where you can learn about a totally organic way of life with Margaret and her daughter Sandy.
The dam was the vision of General Schoeman in the late 1800’s however plans were put on hold by the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War, subsequently various schemes failed until the dam wall as we know it was completed in 1923 and the valley began to fill up with water.
Today the roughly 56 Km of shoreline is filled with upmarket settlement such as Pecanwood and The Islands, the quaintness of Kosmos and Schoemansville, guesthouses, restaurants and flea markets- a full infrastructure even with all the big name chain stores.
I enjoy eating at De Ou Pastorie, Africa Swiss and Van Gaalen Kaasmakerij, which is extremely popular with Mountain Bikers as one can access around 100 Km of trails on the property (www.vangaalen.co.za). The Pelindaba Site with the Preller House and cemetery is nearby and if it’s a little bit of white water rafting you want then in summer hit the Crocodile River for some good rapids (www.paddlepower.co.za ) .
It can be hot and dry in summer but it’s worth a visit, you will never be able to see everything in one day so rather explore and book a lunch somewhere to break the day, after the first trip you will definitely be back for more!