Hartbeespoort, or “Hartiesâ€ to the locals, is a beautiful resort town settled along the banks of the Hartbeespoort River and up the slopes of the Magaliesberg mountain range in the North West, roughly 45 minutes from Johannesburg and Pretoria. With water sports, mountain trails, golf, country markets, restaurants, wildlife encounters, canopy tours, hot air balloons, and an aerial cable way, it’s a popular weekend getaway for Gauteng’s city slickers.
Part of the excitement of Hartbeespoort is in the getting there. The scenic roads from the Johannesburg metropolis meander through farmlands and bushveld, with red aloes adding a splash of colour. It’s a popular route for bikers who are often spotted en masse on their weekend breakfast runs. A short drive along the old school dam wall will most likely have you pulling off at the lookout point to appreciate the magnitude and skilful construction of the 1620 hectare dam.
Hartbeespoort Dam is a playground for water sport enthusiasts who enjoy boating, water-skiing, and wind-surfing. If you don’t have your own boat, the Harties Water Sports Centre offers pleasure cruises, speed boat cruises and rentals, as well as tube and wake snake rides.
If you prefer your adrenalin kicks out of the water, you’ll more likely enjoy hang gliding, micro lighting, abseiling, quad biking, the Magaliesberg Canopy Tour zip line, and Bill Harrops Balloon Safaris. There is also a wide range of milder outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, and golf at Pecanwood Country Club, Magalies Park Golf Course, and Eco Seasons Resort.
Animal lovers are well catered to in Hartbeespoort. The area is home to the Hartbeespoort Dam Snake and Animal Park, Elephant Sanctuary, Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary, Hartbeespoort Dam Aquarium, and The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre (previously known as De Wildt).
If you’re looking for the perfect holiday souvenir, take a slow amble through the Welwitchia Country Market and the African curio market at Chameleon Village. The markets are across the road from one another at the De Doorns intersection, and both have a selection of restaurants to satisfy any food cravings. Enjoy traditional boerekos at Tan’ Malie se Winkel, gourmet pancakes at Pick-a-Pancake at Welwitchia, burgers at Woodies, Chinese food at Red Dragon, and more.
Whether you visit for a weekend or a month, Hartbeespoort is a great destination for lazy country breaks and exciting family adventures.