Hartbeespoort offers Gauteng-dwellers a lovely day out. Image by author

Hartbeespoort: Take a weekend day trip from Joburg or Pretoria

Since provincial borders have reopened and brighter days are here, many of us are eager to get out of the city and breathe some new energy into our lockdown-fatigued souls. Why not try Hartbeespoort?


Hartbeespoort offers Gauteng-dwellers a lovely day out. Image by author

Hartbeespoort Dam, situated in the North West Province, is about an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and a 45-minute drive from Pretoria, making it the perfect day trip destination.  

Hartbeespoort Dam is an arch-shaped dam, surrounded by the scenic Magaliesberg mountains. With a beautiful mountain backdrop, this area has become a firm favourite for visitors from Gauteng.

The area, commonly known as “Harties” offers visitors a plethora of activities that will fill the day with happy memories.

Roadside stalls along the way

The trip to Harties, from both Pretoria and Joburg is an interesting one. The side of the road is dotted with roadside stalls where vendors offer a variety of farm produce including fruit, nuts, avocados and naartjies. These products are locally produced, so freshness and value for money are guaranteed.

Local artists line the roadsides, showing off their products including woodwork, metalwork and basketry. Several vendors offer similar types of goods so you should try to bargain for any items you wish to buy.

Roadside stalls. Image by author.

Activities in Hartbeespoort

There is a lot on offer so visitors have a range of options to choose from. There are activities for the fainthearted as well as the not-so-fainthearted. There are water-based and land-based activities.

Visitors can take in the sights of the dam and surrounding mountain scenery on a boat trip. Thrill-seekers might enjoy riding a jet-ski or a speedboat around the dam. If you are not an adventure seeker you may prefer scenic views across the dam and the valley below, from the dam wall.

If water is not your thing, there are other options.

The Snake and Animal Park provides visitors with the chance to see big cats, wild dogs, bears, birds, monkeys and snakes of course. 

Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway takes visitors on a cable car ride that offers panoramic views of the entire Magaliesberg area.

Visitors can watch tribal dancing and see the colourful traditional homes at Lesedi Cultural Village.

Interaction with elephants and monkeys is possible at the Elephant and Monkey sanctuary.

Abseiling, horseback safaris rafting and hiking are on offer to visitors who want to immerse themselves in nature.   

Dining options in the Hartbeespoort area

There are plenty of restaurants for visitors to choose from. Ranging from the familiar Spur, Panarottis and Vovo Telo to the unique Tan Mali se Winkel or the African Swiss Restaurant.

Another good option is the restaurants located at the Windmeul complex, which also offers a weekend flea market, a farm store and a bookshop.   

Windmeul. Image by author.