Tzaneen Dam Nature Reserve is made up of the Tzaneen dam, previously known as Fanie Botha Dam, and the 300m wide strip of woodland country surrounding it. Situated 10 km north-west of Tzaneen, only an hour's drive from the Kruger National Park, this beautiful wilderness area offers superb angling, fishing, boating, and other water sporting opportunities.
The warm summers and mild winters in the area make the dam a superb recreational destination at any time of the year. Visitors can enjoy activities such as bird watching for over 350 species of birds, as well as picnics and braais on the edge of the dam. The area below the dam wall is a particularly good place for birds because of the interesting mix of habitats available. Visitors can expect to see yellow warbler, red-collared widowbird, and yellow bishops in the grassland, whilst the small bridge across the Letaba River offers opportunities for African pied, red-faced cisticola, black saw-wing, and half-collared kingfisher.
The dam is an excellent fishing spot, hosting the annual bass angling competition circuit, including the Tzaneen Bass Classic. To reach some of the banks for fishing, you may find yourself wading through fruit plantations, as the tropical weather is ideal for mangos, bananas and other fruit. The dam is stocked with Florida strain Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Carp, and various other indigenous fish. There is also the occasional crocodile and hippo. Facilities include ablutions, a camp site, and a picnic area. Boat launchings can be done at a fee of R50 per boat.