The Hartbeespoort Dam, or ‘Harties’ as it’s known by locals, is located in a valley south of the
Magaliesberg Mountains and close to a small town of the same name.
Although originally built for irrigation purposes, Harties has become a popular weekend water- sports and adventure hub, particularly as it is just an hour drive from the large cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Activities enjoyed here include visiting the animal and snake park, windsurfing, parasailing, waterskiing, jet skiing, ferryboat cruises, fishing, ballooning and golf.
The nearby Harties Cableway (a must-do!) and Welwitschia Country Market add to the popularity of the destination, which is just an hour’s drive from Johannesburg.
Outdoor attractions include two world-class golf courses: the Gary Player Country Club and the Lost City Country Club; and the Valley of Waves water park, dominated by the Roaring Lagoon, a wave pool with a palm-fringed beach, and slides.
The economy of North West is driven by mining, which generates more than 50% of the province’s gross domestic product and provides employment for a quarter of its workforce.
Gold is mined at Orkney and Klerksdorp; uranium at Klerksdorp; platinum at Rustenburg and
Brits; and diamonds at Lichtenburg, Christiana and Bloemhof.
North West mining ventures make up 20% of South Africa’s mining industry, while more than
90% of the country’s platinum comes from the province’s mines.
The terrain in the North West province is typically flat, with scattered trees and grassland – ideal for sustaining wildlife. That said, it is characterized by low mountains in parts, including the Magaliesberg in the south of the province, the Pilanesberg area, and some areas of the Madikwe Game Reserve.
Madikwe Game Reserve lies in the north-west of the province, with Botswana bordering it to the north. It is one of South Africa’s premier Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, elephant) game- viewing destinations and is especially attractive as it is malaria-free. Developed from reclaimed farmland, the reserve boasts a large elephant population, more than 350 bird species and a wide range of game, including wild dogs. More than 20 luxury game lodges in the Madikwe reserve offer five-star accommodation.
The province is also home to the malaria-free Pilanesberg Game Reserve (close to the Sun City gaming and entertainment resort), which sits in the circular hollow of an extinct volcano. The park is also Big Five country, along with wildebeest, hartebeest, tsessebe, and giraffe, hundreds of birds, as well as interesting rock formations and rare minerals unearthed due to volcanic activity.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve
A four-hour hot air balloon ride over the malaria-free Pilanesberg Game Reserve offers game viewing at its best. Here, 55 000ha of trees and grassland support a wildlife population that includes the Big Five.
Madikwe Game Reserve
The Madikwe Game Reserve is home to more than 20 luxury lodges. Here, you will be able to see cheetah, wild dogs, hyena, lion, elephant, black and white rhino, zebra, giraffe and more.
Sun City offers game viewing (at the adjacent Pilanesberg Game Reserve), gambling, outdoor adventure, two internationally rated golf courses, luxury accommodation, water sports and more.
Magaliesberg Canopy Tour
A unique eco-adventure via zipline that entails a 2.5-hour ride down the spectacular Ysterhout Kloof near Rustenburg, stopping at 11 platforms along the way. Enjoy spectacular views of the one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges.
Taung Heritage Site
Visit the site where the fossilised skull of a hominid child, the Taung Child, estimated to be 2.5-million years old, was found in 1924.
Crocodile cage diving
A robust cage custom-built to withstand the power of these ancient reptiles offers a rare opportunity to view crocodiles – some more than 4m long – in their natural habitat.
A ride up the Harties Cableway offers panoramic views of the surrounding Magaliesberg Mountains and the Hartbeespoort Dam, a popular tourist attraction.