All Things Hartbeespoort – A Guide For Your Next Visit

Nestled at the foot of the Magaliesberg Mountains, Hartbeespoort is a charming town that offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, exciting activities, and cultural experiences. Known for the iconic Hartbeespoort Dam, this destination is a favourite among locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a taste of local cuisine, Hartbeespoort has something for everyone.

All Things Hartbeespoort - tourism attraction bridge

A Brief History of Hartbeespoort and Hartbeespoort Dam

Hartbeespoort, often affectionately referred to as “Harties” by locals, derives its name from the Hartbeespoort Dam, around which the town developed. The name Hartbeespoort means “pass of the hartebeest,” a reference to the antelope that once roamed the area. The dam itself was constructed in 1923 and is an engineering marvel of its time. It was initially built to provide irrigation water for the surrounding farms but has since become a significant recreational spot.

The dam stands as a testament to early 20th-century engineering. Built using the arch-gravity method, it spans 149.5 metres and rises 59.4 metres high. The reservoir created by the dam covers an area of approximately 20 square kilometres and holds back the waters of the Crocodile River, forming a scenic lake that attracts numerous visitors year-round. The dam’s construction spurred the development of Hartbeespoort as a tourism and agricultural hub, transforming the once dry and arid region into a lush landscape ideal for both farming and leisure.

Why Visit Hartbeespoort?

Hartbeespoort is favoured for its serene environment, scenic landscapes, and the plethora of activities available. Its proximity to major cities makes it an ideal weekend escape. The climate is generally mild, with warm summers and cool winters, making it a year-round destination. The town is also rich in cultural heritage and offers unique experiences that cater to all interests.

When it comes to things to do in Hartbeespoort, visitors are spoilt for choice. Here are four popular activities that showcase the best of what Harties has to offer:

1. Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway

One of the most iconic attractions is the Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway. Reopened in 2010 after extensive renovations, the cableway offers panoramic views of the Magaliesberg, the Hartbeespoort Dam, and the surrounding areas. The cable car ride takes about 10 minutes each way, providing a serene ascent to the top of the Magaliesberg.

Cableway ride in Hartbeespoort

At the summit, visitors can enjoy a meal at the top of the Cableway restaurant, The Lookout Deck, or explore the educational walkway with informative plaques about the region’s flora, fauna, and history. There are also picnic spots and a kids’ play area, making it a perfect family outing. The top station features a bar and a pizza restaurant, ensuring that visitors have a variety of dining options while they take in the breathtaking views. The pathways are wheelchair accessible, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the experience.

2. Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort Dam

For animal lovers, the Elephant Sanctuary offers a unique and educational experience. The sanctuary provides a safe haven for elephants and focuses on educating the public about these majestic creatures. Visitors can enjoy guided tours that include feeding and walking with elephants. The intimate interaction with the elephants is both humbling and enlightening, offering a deeper understanding of their behaviour and conservation needs.

Elephant sanctuary in Hartbeespoort

The sanctuary also offers educational programmes about elephant conservation, highlighting the challenges these animals face in the wild. Interactive sessions allow visitors to learn about elephant anatomy, behaviour, and the role these magnificent creatures play in their ecosystems. The sanctuary’s commitment to conservation and education makes it a valuable resource for raising awareness about wildlife protection.

3. Hartbeespoort Dam Boat Cruises

Exploring Hartbeespoort Dam from the water is a must-do activity. Several operators offer boat cruises that range from leisurely afternoon trips to sunset cruises. These cruises provide stunning views of the dam and the surrounding mountains, and often include a meal or refreshments. It’s an excellent way to relax and take in the natural beauty of the area. Some cruises also offer live music and themed events, adding to the festive atmosphere.

The boat cruises often pass by the dam wall, offering a unique perspective of this impressive structure. Bird watchers will appreciate the opportunity to see a variety of bird species, including the African fish eagle, which is commonly spotted around the dam. The tranquil waters and scenic views make for a peaceful and enjoyable outing.

Boat cruises in Hartbeespoort

4. Magalies Canopy Tour

Adventure seekers will love the Magalies Canopy Tour. This exhilarating zipline tour takes you through the treetops of the Magaliesberg Mountains, offering a bird’s-eye view of the landscape. The tour consists of 11 platforms and 10 slides, with the longest slide being 140 metres. Trained guides ensure safety while providing insights into the local ecology and geology. It’s an adrenaline-filled experience that combines adventure with education.

Ziplining in Hartbeespoort

The tour also includes a brief hike through the pristine Magaliesberg flora, where guides point out interesting plant species and explain their traditional uses. The combination of ziplining and hiking makes for a well-rounded outdoor adventure that highlights the natural beauty and biodiversity of the area.

Top 3 Restaurants in Hartbeespoort

Hartbeespoort is home to a variety of dining establishments that cater to diverse tastes. Here are three popular restaurants that should be on your list:

1. Squires on the Dam

Located near the dam, Squires on the Dam is known for its hearty meals and warm atmosphere. The restaurant offers a diverse menu with an emphasis on steaks and grills. Diners can enjoy their meal with a view of the water, making it a great spot for both casual and special occasions. The rustic decor and friendly service add to the overall dining experience.

Location: Opposite Snake Park, 1 Scott St, Schoemansville, Hartbeespoort, 0216

Contact:  012 253 1001

Squires on the Dam

2. The Silver Orange Bistro

Set in a picturesque citrus orchard, The Silver Orange Bistro offers a unique dining experience. The restaurant is renowned for its gourmet cuisine and elegant presentation. The menu features a mix of contemporary dishes and traditional favourites, all made with fresh, local ingredients. The bistro’s tranquil setting and sophisticated decor make it an ideal choice for a romantic meal or a celebratory event.

Location: R513, Hartbeespoort, 0216
Contact: 082 378 2948

Silver Orange Bistro

3. Laurentina Restaurant

For those craving Portuguese cuisine, Laurentina Restaurant is a must-visit. Located in the heart of Hartbeespoort, this restaurant serves authentic Mozambican and Portuguese dishes. The vibrant decor and lively atmosphere reflect the restaurant’s cultural roots. Specialities include peri-peri chicken, seafood platters, and traditional desserts. Laurentina is a favourite among locals for its robust flavours and generous portions.

Location: R511, Hartbeespoort, 0250

Contact: 083 436 0718

Laurentina Restaurant

Tips for Visiting Hartbeespoort

To make the most of your visit to Hartbeespoort, consider the following tips:

Best Time to Visit

Hartbeespoort can be visited year-round, but the best time is during spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May). During these months, the weather is mild, and outdoor activities are more enjoyable. Summer can be quite hot, while winter nights can be chilly, so packing accordingly is advisable.


The weather in Hartbeespoort is generally pleasant. Summers (December to February) are warm with occasional thunderstorms, which bring a refreshing change to the hot afternoons. Winters (June to August) are dry and cool, with temperatures dropping significantly at night.

Events and Festivals

Hartbeespoort hosts several events and festivals throughout the year. The Hartbeespoort Agapanthus Festival, held in spring, showcases a stunning array of local flora. For a unique shopping experience, the Harties Market offers local crafts, fresh produce, and artisanal goods every weekend.

Where to Stay in Hartbeespoort

Hartbeespoort offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Mount Amanzi Resort

Mount Amanzi Resort is a family-friendly option situated along the Crocodile River. The resort offers self-catering chalets, a variety of recreational facilities, and beautiful natural surroundings. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to combine comfort with outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing.

2. Seasons Sport and Spa

For a luxurious stay, Seasons Sport and Spa provides an exceptional experience. Located within a game reserve, this resort offers elegant rooms, a world-class spa, and a range of leisure activities, including golf and tennis. The serene environment and high-quality amenities make it a perfect retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation.

3. Hartbeespoort Holiday Resort

A popular choice for budget travellers, Hartbeespoort Holiday Resort offers various accommodation options, from camping sites to comfortable chalets. The resort features swimming pools, a mini-golf course, and easy access to the dam, making it ideal for families and groups.


Hartbeespoort, with its blend of natural beauty, adventure, and cultural richness, is a destination that promises memorable experiences. Whether you’re soaring above the landscape on the aerial cableway, cruising on the dam, or dining at one of the local restaurants, there’s always something to enjoy. With the right planning and a spirit of adventure, a visit to Hartbeespoort can be the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. FOMO has a number of Hartbeespoort activities for those looking for exciting things to do when visiting.