Fun things to do at Hartbeespoort Dam

more than a year ago
Hartbeespoort Dam, also commonly known as 'Harties', is a large dam just over an hour's drive north of Joburg bordering North West province. With a beautiful Magaliesberg mountain backdrop and some quirky attractions to explore this is a popular spot with weekend holiday-makers from Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Although much of the shoreline of the dam itself can only be accessed from the private estates that face onto the water, it is possible to park your car near the dam wall crossing on the northern edge and admire the views (on Scott Street, close to the junction of the R101 and R512). 

If you are planning a Harties day trip, here are some fun activities to add to your itinerary.

Ride to the top of the mountain on the Hartbeespoort Cableway

Photo via Hartbeespoort Cableway
Ride the cable car up to the top of the Magaliesberg mountains for panoramic views over Gauteng - on the clearest days Joburg's skyscrapers can clearly be seen on the horizon to the south, while to the north you'll find the countryside dotted with the remnants of old mines. Once at the top there's a cafe, pizzeria and a small beer garden that clings to the edge of the mountain and has the best views over the dam, as well as a 1.2km informative walking trail. There are also kid's play areas and a jungle gym. For the ultimate adventure you can also go paragliding in a tandem flight from the top. Paragliding experiences must be booked in advance and are weather dependent, contact for more information.

WHERE: The Cableway is located in Melodie on the Agricultural Holdings plot, follow the signs from Tielmann Street off the R511 (on the eastern edge of the dam). Open daily (from May 1 closed Mon, Tue), the first car goes up at 09:00 and the last comes down at 16:45.
TICKETS: Tickets can be booked online at Tickets cost R240 for adults, and from April 1 to June 30, 2021 the Cableway has a range of special discounted Autumn family packages (note packages are only available at the ticket office).

Gravity-defying photos at the Upside Down House

Photo fun at Upside Down House

The very first of its kind in South Africa, the Upside Down House is a quirky spot worth seeking out if you are in the area. The two storey house is tilted on its roof and has everything you would expect in a standard house like a kitchen, dining room, living room and bedrooms... arranged with all the furniture and appliances on the ceiling. It's all an Instagammer’s dream, as of course you can switch your pictures and videos in reverse to make it seem like you’re defying gravity. It's worth noting that the floor you’re walking on is not levelled. The disorienting feeling of being totally off balance as you walk around this weird Upside Down House is also a part of the fun. There's a small takeaway restaurant with an outdoor covered area selling toasted sandwiches, burgers or boerewors rolls, as well as cold or hot drinks. Kiddies will enjoy the jumping castles and jungle gym in the adjoining play area. 

WHERE: The Upside Down House is on the R3, just outside Broederstroom, close to the junction of the R512 (south of the dam), Open daily from 07:00-18:00
TICKETS: Entrance cost R100, kids (under 7 and pensioners) R60, under 3s and the over 80s get in free.  

Lunch and a stroll at Kleine Rijke

Quirky design by David Krynauw at Kleine Rijke. 
Photo by @jozicoffeespots

A simply beautiful venue built on an historic family farm close to the Pecanwood Estate on the southern shores of the dam that opens on Sundays for lunch (strictly bookings only). The decor of the venue (originally designed for weddings) was created by award-winning designer David Krynauw and Khanye Architects and mixes classic Cape Dutch style with whimsical wooden detailing. On Sundays Kleine Rijke serves delicious homemade pizzas that can be enjoyed on the lawns. After lunch there's the option to take a gentle and scenic 5km walk from the property looping down to the shore of the dam.

WHERE: Kleine Rijke is located on the R512 on the southern side of the dam (just after Pecanwood Golf & Country Club). Open on Sundays for lunch 10:00-17:00, prior booking is essential. Book online at

Retro fun at the Hartiwood Films set

Petit Paris in Harties. Photos via French Toast

Hartiwood Films is a local film company offering a 'one-stop production company' with their own sets, wardrobe company and a post-production studio. There are two permanent film sets, both of which are open to visitors. Pretville is a colourful recreation of a 1950s small town high street where you can dress up in 1950s clothing, get your photo taken with classic cars, stop for milkshakes at the diner and catch an Afrikaans film at the 'bioscope'. The second set is French Toast Cafe. Designed to resemble a Parisian street and named for the Afrikaans romantic comedy French Toast, it has its own working cafe, modelled on a cafe in Paris's Monmatre district, and a 14.5 metre tall replica of the Eiffel Tower.

WHERE: Pretville is located next to the Xanadu Eco Park estate on the R511 on the eastern edge of the dam and French Toast (also known as Little Paris) is a little further on just before the turn off to Tielmann Street (next to the Aquarium).
TICKETS: Pretville is open Sat, Sun and public holidays from 09:00-16:30. Entrance to Pretville costs R100, children (aged 2-12) and pensioners R50, free entrance for the over 70s. French Toast Cafe is open daily from 07:30-17:00 and entrance is free. 

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