Hartbeespoort Dam

Hartbeespoort Dam

Hartbeespoort, nicknamed "Harties", is a dam, lake and resort area in the North West Province of South Africa. Situated on slopes of the Magaliesberg mountain range the name is Afrikaans and means "gateway of the hartebeest", a species of antelope. It was built on a farm owned by Hendrik Schoeman and the town Schoemansville is named after him. Other towns in the area include Hartbeespoort, Meerhof, Ifafi, Melodie, and Kosmos. The dam is fed by the Crocodile River and was built primarily to provide irrigation for numerous farms in the area although the water has been tainted by pollution over recent years making it unsuitable for most farms today. The dam lake also struggles with water Hyacinth, covering large sections with the large green leaves of the plant. Despite these problems it is still very picturesque. The region is scattered with holiday homes, resorts, game reserves and attractions as it is a popular getaway location for residents of Johannesburg as well as tourists from abroad.

Some of the main tourist attractions in or around Hartbeespoort Dam are:
  • The Hartbeespoort Dam wall and tunnel
  • The Hartbeespoort Dam Snake Park
  • The Hartbeespoort Dam Aquarium
  • Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway
  • Transvaal Yacht Club
  • Oberon Leisure Resort
  • Welwitchia Country Market
  • The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort Dam
  • Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary
  • Harties horse trail safaris
  • Chameleon Village

The Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway

The Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway or Harties Cableway, originally constructed in 1973, extends to the top of the Magaliesberg and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. It is situated 1km to the east of the town of Hartbeespoort in the North West Province, and is the longest mono-cableway in Africa. In 2010 the cableway was completely revamped and modernised by Swiss company Zargodox (Pty) Ltd, and officially reopened on 14 August 2010 by the then Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk. The aerial cableway is open 7 days a week.
The Elephant Sanctuary

The Elephant Sanctuary

The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort Dam provide safe haven for African Elephants as well as fully guided interactive elephant educational programs covering elephant habits, dynamics, behavior and anatomy. Visitors have the opportunity to touch, feed, walk trunk-in-hand, and to experience short elephant-back rides conducted under professional supervision with experienced guides. The Elephant Sanctuary is open 7 days a week
Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary

Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary

Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary is a privately owned multi-species primate rehabilitation centre. The sanctuary takes in donated and rescued primates that may have been orphaned, raised as household pets, previously confined to captivity, abused, injured, or recovered from the illegal pet trade. Primates are rehabilitated for free-release within the natural forested environment of the sanctuary, where they are given a new lease of life in a wild environment and encouraged to search and hunt for food themselves. The sanctuary is one of only eight free-release primate sanctuaries in the world, and home to over 90 indigenous and exotic primates from around the world. A number of primates have also been born wild at the sanctuary. The sanctuary is non-subsidised, and supported by funding generated from guided tours and sales of curios. It is open to the public 7 days a week year round
Pilanesberg and Game Reserve

Pilanesberg and Game Reserve

The Pilanesberg Mountain, also known in geographical terms as 'Pilanesberg Alkaline Ring Complex’, is a vast ring dike of a very ancient extinct volcano that last erupted some 1,200 million years ago in the North West Province of South Africa. The mountain is a circular structure that rises from flat surrounding plains and consists of three concentric ridges or rings of hills, of which the outermost has a diameter of about 24 km. Pilanesberg, named after a Tswana chief, Pilane, is for the greater part enclosed in a protected area known as the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.

The Pilanesberg Game Reserve borders with the entertainment complex Sun City and is currently administered by the North West Parks and Tourism Board. The creation of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve in the 1970’s is considered one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind to be undertaken anywhere in the world and ‘Operation Genesis’ is still the largest game translocation ever undertaken.

The park has a rich array of southern African wildlife including the Big Five, the five most dangerous game animals in Africa. The Pilanesberg is not in a location which the Big Five animals would naturally inhabit, however they have been relocated to the park with great success.
Bakubung Bush Lodge Game Drive Elephant 590x390
Most of the animal species of southern Africa live in the Pilanesburg Game Reserve today, including lions, elephants, black rhinos, white rhinos, Cape buffalo, leopards, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, hippos and crocodiles. The Cape wild dog had been eradicated from the park but the species has recently been reintroduced. In addition, over 360 bird species have been counted. As of December 2010 the total count of large mammals was approximately 10,000.

Aside from the wonderful wildlife within the reserve, scattered throughout the park are various sites that originate from the Iron Age and Stone Age and show the presence of early man. The park has an area of 572 square kilometres (221 sq mi). One can travel through in a standard road vehicle as although most of the 188 kilometres of track are not surfaced, they are well maintained. There are three main tarred roads named Kgabo, Kubu and Tswene providing several stops where there are bars and gift shops. Within the park there are several lodges providing excellent overnight accommodation. Towards the centre of the park there is an artificially constructed lake at Mankwe Dam as well as Thabayadiotso which means "the Proud Mountain"
Sun City

Sun City

Sun City is a luxury resort and casino, situated in the North West Province of South Africa along the borders of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, near the city of Rustenburg.

Created in the late 70’s, Sun City was developed by the hotel magnate Sol Kerzner as part of his Sun International group of properties. It was officially opened on 7 December 1979; at the time it was located in the Bantustan of Bophuthatswana.

As Bophuthatswana had been declared an independent state by South Africa's apartheid government (although unrecognized as such by any other country), it could provide entertainment such as gambling and topless revue shows which were banned in South Africa. These factors, as well as its relatively close location to the large metropolitan areas of Pretoria and Johannesburg, ensured that Sun City soon became a popular holiday and weekend destination.

Sun City became a part of South Africa when Bophutatswana was re-incorporated in the new South Africa in 1994.
Sun City Golf Course
The resort has four hotels:
  • Soho Hotel (Formerly known as Sun City Hotel or The Main Hotel)
  • Cascades Hotel
  • The Cabanas
  • The Palace of the Lost City

Sun City also has two international-standard 18-hole golf courses, the Gary Player Country Club and the Lost City Golf Course, both designed by Gary Player. The Gary Player Country Club is home to the Nedbank Golf Challenge (formerly the Nedbank Million Dollar Golf Challenge) that is held annually.

Notable facilities at Sun City:
  • The Valley Of Waves
  • The Gary Player Country Club
  • Zip 2000
  • Sun Central
  • The Maze Of The Lost City
  • Sun City Casino
  • South African Hall Of Fame
  • Motseng Cultural Village
  • Animal World and Bird Sanctuary
  • Mankwe Gametrackers & Pilanesberg Game Reserve
  • Waterworld
  • Kwena Gardens