The Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve is a beautiful reserve located in Bloemhof, around 320km from Johannesburg in the North West province of South Africa. Covering a total area of 12,000 hectares, the reserve consists of open Kalahari scrubs and thornveld country. Visitors can look forward to spotting some of the wildlife which includes gemsbok, black wildebeest, eland, and springbok, as well as over 250 species of birds.
The complete area around Bloemhof Dam has been proclaimed a Nature Reserve. Since it is on the border between two provinces, two separate nature reserves where established, with Sandveld Nature Reserve on the Free State side, and Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve on the North West side.
At 25,000 hectares, Bloemhof Dam is one of the largest dams in South Africa and one of the principle attractions of the reserve. It is open for all water sports and offers launching facilities for powerboats. Though the Bloemhof Dam is shallow compared to other dams, it’s still a popular summertime spot for boating, jet skiing, canoeing, and yachting.
Exceptional sports fishing (by boat or from the shore) is one of the main reasons Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve draws anglers from all over the country to test their skills against the dam’s carp, grass carp, and barbel. Other fish in the dam include indigenous yellowfish which must be released if caught. Angling is also permitted on the Vaal River below the dam wall. Few predators mean Bloemhof Dam’s fish are plentiful. The reserve hosts several national and international fishing competitions, such as the Tri-nations and the Bloemhof Bonanza.
The reserve boasts a wide variety of plains game, including springbok, black wildebeest, eland, and gemsbok, along with small predators and rhino.
The reserve has over 250 species of bird, and is fantastic for spotting herons, storks, geese, ducks, and cormorants. Seasonal migrants include flamingos, terns, and teal.
In peak fishing season, from September to April, the park operates a shop selling basic provisions. Day and overnight visitors should stock up on necessities in the nearby town of Bloemhof.