Venterstad was laid out in 1875 on the farm of one Johannes Venter and was called “stad” (city) to avoid confusion with Ventersburg in the Free State. Although merino sheep farming is the primary economic activity in the area, this sleepy little town soon became a supply base for the teams of builders who arrived to construct the Gariep Dam (Hendrik Verwoerd Dam) and, later, for the water-sport enthusiasts who frequent the dam. The dam has a 400-km shoreline and, together with the PK le Roux Dam, forms the Orange River Project. The project has some 270 km of canals, tunnels and pipelines that bring water to areas as far afield as the Great Fish River and Sundays River Valley.

Adventure Tourism

Upper Orange Conservancy Hiking Trail: Guided tours are available through this wilderness area and the Oviston Nature Reserve where wildebeest, antelope, zebra and other animals roam free.

Water-sport: The Gariep Dam Complex offers exciting opportunities for all sorts of water-sport such as swimming, fishing, boating, sailing, canoeing, as well as an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, bowling greens and horse riding facilities.

Fauna And Flora

Oviston Nature Reserve: During the construction of the Orange-Fish River tunnel, the world’s longest underground irrigation tunnel, a village called Oviston was built to house the workforce. The name Oviston is derived from the abbreviations of the Afrikaans words “Oranje-Vis Tonnel” (“Orange-Fish Tunnel”). Today the abandoned village is the main accommodation centre of the Oviston Nature Reserve. The reserve breeds game to supply other reserves and has large numbers of the larger species of antelope, such as eland, kudu and hartebeest, as well as large herds of springbok, zebra and wildebeest. Several water birds (and other species) can be seen near the dam.

History And Architecture

Birthplace of Paul Kruger: Paul Kruger, President of the Transvaal Republic, was born on the farm Vaalbank, in this vicinity.

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