This is probably the most popular area within the Magaliesberg range. The Hartbeespoort Dam is undoubtedly the area’s major attraction. The dam, with its spectacular scenery and close proximity to Johannesburg and Pretoria, is regarded as a principal venue for Northern Gauteng water sport enthusiasts. There are many hiking trails, bird sanctuaries, and a snake park and animal park near the dam.
Adventure And Sport
African Water Safaris: African Water Safaris are popular among visitors since they allow them to enjoy a leisurely lunch while they cruise the dam in a floating restaurant.
Eagle Cove Hiking Trail: The Eagle Cove day circular hikes feature the unique opportunity to climb down steel ladders into valleys where you can swim in natural waterholes. The base camp can accommodate 20 people and has ablution and barbecue facilities and a waterhole next to the camp.
Hang-gliding: The Hartbeespoort cable trip up the mountain is an adventure in own right and most people prefer to get up the mountain in this way. However, it is also the means to an end to many who wish to ride up the mountain only to step off it again, it is to be hoped with hang-gliding equipment strapped to their backs! These adventurers bring the Hartbeespoort skies to life over weekends, when their colourful suits and wings compete with the birds for attention.
Transvaal Yacht Club: The Yacht Club offers all the majot boating facilities on the dam. Power boats Is also allowed on the bank.
Hartbeespoort Cableway: The Hartbeespoort Cableway goes to the top of the Magaliesberg and offers a magnificent view of the area.
Hartbeespoort Dam: Surrounded by the majestic Magaliesberg Mountains, Hartbeespoort Dam is ideal for weekend getaways or day trips. Motor boating, yachting, angling and skiing are popular water sport activities.
Hiking: There are several hiking and nature trails in the area. Explore the dam’s 56 km shoreline or traverse the Magaliesberg mountains, it is your choice. For more information, contact the Tourism Office.
Hot air ballooning: A private company offers hot air balloon trips over the area. By all accounts it is the most romantic (and least hair-raising) option of exploring the skies above this scenic mountainous region. It is certainly less dangerous than stepping off the mountain with only an artificial wing structure strapped to your back – in other words, hang-gliding.
Nelson Mandela ProAm Invitation Golf Classic: Pecanwood Estates hosts the annual Nelson Mandela invitation golf tournament. This tournament was conceived by golfing icon Gary Player and has raised in excess of R1 million to improve the lives of the children in deprived communities.
Archaeology And Palaeontology
Heritage Route: The Heritage Route, which starts at the Sterkfontein Caves in Gauteng, leads the way to a rich variety of natural, archaeological, cultural and historical sites and attractions in the Magaliesberg and Pilanesberg areas. Several sites where Iron Age remains have been found lie on the route. The main site of archaeological importance, however, is Sterkfontein Caves, at the start of the route, in Gauteng.
Art And Crafts
Crocodile Ramble / Magalies Meander: The Crocodile Ramble is an art and crafts route for the day visitor as well as for the overnight tourist. The route features many products and services, from guest-houses, game lodges, restaurants, art and crafts stalls to conference centres and nurseries. There are also picnic and camping areas, nature reserves, bird walks, 4 x 4 trails, hiking and horse trails, as well as a heritage tour, to hold your interest.
Art Galleries: Many original works of South African artists are sold in galleries in and around town, such as the Hartbeespoort Art Gallery and the Christiaan Nice Art Gallery.
Welwitschia Country Market: This market is a haven for outdoor shopping and, if one travels through town over the dam wall to the other side, one cannot miss the hive of activity generated by enthusiastic sellers and buyers. Some 40 stalls offer everything from African art and crafts to clothing and jewellery.
Van Gaalen Kaasmakerij (Dutch Cheese Farm): Many cheese connoisseurs come back again and again to revel in the exquisite flavours created here.
The Ring Ox Wagon Inn: The Ring Ox Wagon Inn is actually a living museum. It recreates the atmosphere of a Voortrekker laer in the bushveld. Visitors can simply visit the restaurant or sleep in original restored ox wagons just as the Voortrekkers (Cape Dutch Pioneers) used to do. The Inn also has a beautiful view of the Hartbeespoort Dam.
Entertainment And Shopping
Ta’ Malie se Winkel (Aunt Malie’s Shop): Ta’ Malie se winkel offers a typical “Boere” shopping experience. Everything from pin-cushions to sweets and biltong (strips of spicy dried meat) can be bought here and the restaurant at the back serves delicious meals.
Fauna And Flora
Hartbeespoort Snake and Animal Park: The Hartbeespoort Snake and Animal Park houses an astonishing variety and number of snakes and animals. It is en route the dam wall.
Makalani Bird Sanctuary: The Makalani Bird Sanctuary was designed in a traditional African style and offers bird shows and accommodation facilities.
Hartbeespoort Aquarium: The aquarium is situated at the entrance to the town and has quite a number of species on show.
History And Architecture
Lincolnshire Lodge: The lodge stands on the site where the Lincolnshire Regiment was garrisoned during the Anglo-Boer War. The ruins of three forts and various artefacts from that time still exist. Two delightful en-suite cottages overlook a pool and mountainous “bushveld”. Jenny Copley owns Lincolnshire Lodge and she lives there with half a dozen retired horses, two small, orphaned Dexter bulls and a large family of dogs and cats that she rescued from the
S.P.C.A. All these creatures constitute the happy hosts of this lodge. Ponies and hacks can also be rented to transport guests over the mountains or to the dam for a swim.
Preller House Museum: The Preller House Museum is the former home of journalist, writer and historian Gustav Preller. The house dates back to the 1920s. Preller frequently entertained guests such as Eugene Marais, the writer, and Jacob Pierneef, the painter, here. The house, now fully restored with Art Deco furniture, has been declared a national monument and also houses a restaurant.
Triumphal Arch: The country’s only Roman Triumphal Arch marks a lookout point on the dam wall.