Hartbeespoort is a small town tucked away at banks of the Hartbeespoort dam and surrounded by the slopes of the majestic Magaliesburg mountains, in the Northwest Province of South Africa. It boasts an incredible array of utter scenic splendour, featuring a mountain range that’s over 2 billion years old, (yes older than the Everest and the Alps!) and an old dam that’s endured several struggles in the past.
‘Harties’ as it’s affectionately known by locals, boasts an incredible amount of natural and historical attractions, making it a popular weekend Getaway for people in the neighbouring Gauteng Province. The area is popular for its various sports and leisure activities that range from a relaxing spa to watching wild hartebeest wander around, making the town live up to its name, a translation of the phrase ‘Gateway of the hartebeest’ in Afrikaans.
History of the Dam
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, a man named General Hendrik Schoeman, owned a farm called Hartbeespoort. He had the idea of building a dam, from which the community would benefit (Little did he know of the struggle to come). The dam construction commenced in 1896 in the Crocodile River and was named after the farmer’s wife as the “Sophia Dam”. It was later relocated in 1905 to be positioned between two mountains. The dam wall cost an overwhelming R10 000, which was an unheard of amount of money at that time.
During its construction, work on the dam came with many standstills due to financial reasons and the onset of war, but construction resumed again in 1918. When things seemed a little more optimistic, Unfortunately, in 1921, torrential rain washed the temporary dam away and out of sheer frustration, Swedish Engineer, August Karlson resigned from his position. The Council then appointed a young engineer named F.W. Scott to finish the Dam, and it was finally completed in 1923 and still stands today as the Hartbeespoort Dam.
If there is any place that lives up to the imagination with curved mountain roads and a historical theme tying everything together, Harties is the place for you. You can drive over the historic dam entering its iconic entrance arch, through its attractive tunnel and between the massive mountains where clouds bounce away. If you want something more tranquil, take a ferry to cruise along calm waters surrounded by scenic foothills and holiday homes scattered along its banks.
If you are more of a time travel fan, you can explore its ancient past of the Magaliesburg mountain range. It is said to be the area where mankind originated. There is evidence of the first Iron age people from as long as 300 A.D. This can be seen at the Broederstroom Archaeological Site (Toppieshoek). It seems like they were accompanied by the late Stone Age inhabitants that were occupying the area at that time.
Where to stay in Hartbeespoort
The town consists of holiday homes, permanent residences and beautiful resorts, leaving no stone unturned when it comes to the comfort of its visitors. Amongst the top is Seasons Golf leisure and spa, a resort that will give you a holistic holiday experience which includes comfortable and secluded accommodation, away from the city and into the outstretched arms of Mother Nature. Enjoy facilities the resort offers like its world-class Spa treatments to further destress your body and Mind. There’s also a golf course where you can put your skills to the test, and if that doesn’t excite you enough you, roam around with the friendly animals that usually graze around the area. They seem very hospitable when approached by visitors and will even take you around for a tour of the golf course and give the occasional pose for the camera.
Where to Eat in Harties
Eating shouldn’t only be about satisfying your stomach. When on holiday treats should extend beyond your taste buds. As they say, your eyes eat first then the aroma wins over your sense of smell, followed by the tender touch of that soft, crunchy feel of nourishments and finally as it reaches your taste buds where the flavour explodes in your mouth. To make this entire experience more pleasing we have compiled a list of the top eateries in the area:
Hidden amongst the trees on a wooden rooftop, Seasons Signature restaurant, The Tanglewood Terrace offers an extensive menu of 3-course meals, whether you would like something from the sea, a selection of red meat or a dessert to treat your sweet tooth. This restaurant has it all, be it the diversity of dishes or collection of wine and skilled waitrons.
The Windmill is a popular landmark in Harties, beneath it lies The Windmill Restaurant, best known for its mouth-watering waffles and savoury dishes. It is an exciting Dutch styled restaurant with comfortable seating extending from the inside to the deck with an extensive menu to choose from. It is the place to be if you want to relax and dine in style.
The Silver Orange Bistro is one of Harties’ laid back luxuries. With delicious food and an award-winning wine list. This establishment will not only capture your heart but will make your stomach do a happy dance. Dishes consist of very well paired flavours that balance each other out, and its best advised not to change or substitute them. The restaurant is set on a lavish green citrus orchard which has been in the family for over 4 decades!
What to do in Harties
There’s an endless selection when it comes to the number of things to do. Regardless of whether you’re a thrill seeker or a tree hugger, it has something tucked up its sleeve for everyone. View the town from up high on the Harties cableway or float across the sky on a hot air balloon. But If the land is more your thing, enjoy a hike up its massive mountains or try some ziplining instead. Besides when the water calls out to you, experience various water sports like jet skiing and tube rides.
If you just want to get away for some nature or wildlife, visit the elephant sanctuary, and you may even get the opportunity to feed the bigfoot. To feel the thrill, even more, you can go on a horse-riding adventure on its scenic safari trails. Lastly, let’s not forget the selfie-takers. Did you know that Hartbeespoort has its very own version of the Eiffel tower? It’s not as grand as the one in France but The Little Paris in Harties makes a pretty good selfie spot. You can also grab something to eat at filmy French Toast Koffie Kafee that owns the place.