Hartebeespoort is a small town nestled between the Magaliesberg Mountains and Hartebeespoort Dam in the North West Province of South Africa. It is a resort area, and boy will you know it, drawing a lot of visitors from Pretoria and elsewhere.
Hartebeespoort is close to the North West Province's border with Gauteng, within an hour's drive from Pretoria and Johannesburg. It is built around Hartebeespoort Dam and the reservoir of the Crocodile River (Krokodilrivier in Afrikaans), which sadly suffers from eutrophication and water hyacinth issues due to heavy pollution from unsustainable farming methods, mining chemicals, and human wastewater releases from metro areas like Jo'burg and Tshwane.
The small town area can be explored on foot, but you really need a car to explore the whole area around the dam.
- 1 Hartbeespoort Dam Wall. From this area you can witness the breadth of the dam wall holding back the Crocodile River and the river shooting out from the tunnel below the dam to resume its course.
- 2 Hartbeespoort Aquarium, on R511, across from Sebida Plaza, ☏ . 08:00-17:00 daily. See tropical and freshwater fish, crocodiles, seals and penguins. Shows. Had some issues with becoming run down but has turned around. Admission also gets you admission to Makalani Bird Park 2 km away. R90 adult.
- 3 Silkaatsnek Nature Reserve, R511 Plot 75, Zilkaatsnek. 07:00-17:30 daily. A Unesco Biosphere malaria-free zone that consists of bushveld and flora and fauna in natural setting. May need to inquire as to current status of park.
- 4 Hartbeespoort Dam Snake and Animal Park, 1 Scott St, Schoemansville, ☏ . 08:00-16:30 daily. Animal park featuring a great variety of species including lions, tigers and other big cats. Plus chimpanzees and other primates, hyenas, wild dogs, otters, birds and reptiles. Ferry, speed boat, and jet ski rides also available on the lake next to the zoo. Adult R130, child R60.
- 5 Makalani Bird Park, 29 R511, ☏ . Another menagerie with primates and especially birds.
- 6 Monkey Sanctuary Hartbeespoort, R104 Old Rustenburg Road Zandfontein (next to Elephant Sanctuary), ☏ . 09:00-16:00 daily. While it may seem that the area is saturated in zoological parks, this one is unique in that you can see and interact with monkeys and bush babies, and it is one of only eight free-release primate sanctuaries globally. Mainly obtained from maladaptive situations where they were kept as pets, the animals can be encountered with a guide who also provides informative background on their situation (and how primates don't make very good pets). Also on site are the cute lemurs. One-hour tours are R370/adult, R205/child; full-day tour R1900/adult, R1300/child.
- 7 Upside Down House, R3 Hartbeeshoek Road, ☏ . M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa Su 07:00-18:00. A very intriguing attraction in which all the buildings are upside down. Some art and has food and drinks available.
- 8 Chameleon Village Lion Park, R104, Damdoryn, ☏ . 08:30-17:00 daily. Another wild animal park focusing on encounters with white lions and tigers and opportunities to interact with the cubs.
- 9 The Aloe Farm. Peruse succulents here.
- 10 Inyoni Croc Farm, off Momberg avenue, ☏ . Croc kingdom. Tortoises also on display.
- 1 Aerial Cableway Hartbeespoort, On the R514, between Scott Street and the R511, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Su-F 09:00-16:00; Sa 09:00-16:30. View the dam and surrounds from the top of the mountain. There is also a restaurant at the base of the cableway. R230/adult, R140/child.
- 2 Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort, R512 Old RTB rd, Zandfontein (On the west side of the dam, just off the R512), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 1½-2 hr guided interaction with elephants including touching, feeding, interacting and walking trunk-in-hand with elephants. Adult R850, pensioner R670, child 4-14 R375. 5-10 min elephant back ride: adult R525, child 8-14 R350.
- Archery and golf at Arrows Rest
- 3 Pretville Film Set, R511, Rietfontein, ☏ . Sa Su 08:00-16:30. Site of a film set, and a movie theater.
- 4 Uitkyk Hiking Trail, ☏ . Hiking trail to an apex of the Magaliesburg Range that allows you to see the expanse of the Hartebeespoort Dam area below. Safety is a real issue however due to reports of theft. It is important to book this activity with large groups.
- 5 Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, ☏ . 08:00-17:00 daily. An opportunity to have encounters with cheetahs through various tours ranging from guided walking tour to cheetah run and private guided tours. Basic walking tour is R150/adult, R100/child.
- 1 Jasmyn Market; Arts, Crafts & Antiques, 1 Jan Smuts Meerhof, Ifafi (close to the aquarium), ☏ . 08:00-17:00 daily. Kind of kitschy souvenir stuff, but also some local handiworks.
- 2 Welwitschia Country Market, Damdoryn Crossing Old Rustenburg Road, ☏ . 09:00-17:00 daily. A flea market with arts and crafts, clothes, food and drink, and whatever else you might find at a flea market.
- 3 Chameleon Village, Chameleon Village R104 Old Rustenburg rd Damdoryn (across from flea market), ☏ . 08:00-17:00 daily. Shopping venue selling African curios, plus dining and water park present.
There are also more shops such as The Ugly Duckling and Silver Gems in the village of Schoemannsville (next to the snake and animal park).
|This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:|
|Mid-range||R60 to R120|
- Arendskrantz, At the base of the cableway, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- Van Gaalen Kaasmakerij, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Dutch dishes and lots of cheese.
- Tangaroa Strawberry Farm (on the R560, just past Van Gaalen Kaasmakerij). Have a picnic on a working strawbery farm. Picnic basket for two from R175.
- Papa Jo' (just after passing over the dam wall from Pretoria's side), ☏ . Very good pizzas.
|This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:|
|Mid-range||R500 to R1000|
- Hartbeespoort Eco Lodge & Boutique Backpackers, Agricultural Holding 305, Birdflower Road, Kameeldrift West, Pretoria, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. From R100 per night per person sharing.
- Tuskers B&B Guest Lodge (http://www.elephantsanctuary.co.za/hartiesabout.htm), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 4-star lodge in bush setting at the Elephant Sanctuary. R650 per person sharing; R1,170 single; R450 (4-14 yr).
- La Chaumiere Guest House, Just off the R512 between Lanseria and Broederstroom, ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ LaChaumiere@absamail.co.za. Relaxing country bed and breakfast.
- The Ring Oxwagon Lodge (just off the R511, between the N4 and Meerhof, clearly signposted), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Chalets (3 to 6 beds) and or sleep in a doublebed oxwagon. R280 per person Bed & Breakfast.
- Voelkop (just off the R556 towards Sun City), ☏ . Clothing-optional resort aimed at the gay market. From R170 per chalet.
- 1 Cocomo Guesthouse and Conference Centre, 16 Cannon Crescent (from Johannesburg, take the Hans Strydom road which becomes the Lanseria road.), ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 10:00. R700.