If you are looking for things to do in Hartbeespoort, we’ve got you covered.
Welcome to South Africa’s Resort Town in the middle of the Northwest Province, situated on and around the slopes of the Magaliesberg mountain range and the bank of the Hartbeespoort Dam. Harties, as it is affectionately known, has become one of the most popular weekend away, day trips or holiday spots for the Pretoria and Johannesburg city dwellers and tourists.
The dam that has attracted so much tourism and attention was built in the late 1800s early 1900s by General Schoeman for irrigation purposes. It went through a handful of problems caused by the surrounding natural environment and had to be re-constructed until Engineer F.W. Scott took over around 1921 and completed the dam that we have the pleasure of enjoying today.
Our List of Things to do in Hartbeespoort
Get in a Hart to Hart with Harties!
With so much to offer, here is a list of 12 things to do in Hartbeespoort.
Aerial Cable Car Ride
So, it’s not exactly flying, but it can feel pretty close to it when you hop into one of the Swiss-engineered and installed cableway cars.
On the Magaliesberg Mountains, you can find a full day of things to do from cable car rides to sightseeing. This is one of the most popular things to do in Hartbeespoort.
Mom takes the day off at the Relax at Harties Cableway spa. Choose between the Quick Escape, The Peaceful and the Let it glow packages, for a chance to just destress with massages and facials and manicures and pedicures, just some much-needed pampering a quiet time, while dad, heads out for a wild ride with the kids.
Starting with the 1,2km paved Dassie walk where you can enjoy the views all around you, to taking on some wild adventures like paragliding, boost and bounce, a chance for dad and the kids to take turns getting launched into the air, with safety ropes of the course. There’s also the Kids Zone an Ice cream parlour, pizza place and bar to top off the perfect day. Don’t forget to hop on the cableway for the experience of a lifetime, as you get to view the beautiful Magaliesberg and Hartbeespoort dam.
Going on a boat tours is definitely one of the most popular Harbeespoort activities. Get your sea legs going when you climb aboard the Danny Buoy! A two-hour cruise on the dam, passing by the Caribbean Estate, Sandy Lane Golf Course, the Kosmos foreshore and the dam wall before getting into open water, across to eagle waters and back to the harbour.
There are three options that you can choose from a breakfast/brunch cruise available on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 12 pm. While you sit back and relax enjoy the breakfast finger food patterns. While you take so crisp photography. The afternoon cruises are available daily, from 1 pm to 3 pm, take in the sights and smells while you snack on a platter of flavourful South African snacks. Feeling a little fancy? The Champagne Sunset Cruise is the cruise you’ll want to take. Take to the water from 4 pm to 6 pm, and sip on some bubbly as watch the sun disappears under the African skies.
The Harties boat company is also happy to host your next special celebration aboard the Danny Buoy.
Little Paris Restaurant
Raise your glass for a toast to our little bit of Paris Heaven! Oh, and French Toast.
With just stellar reviews Little Paris, quickly rose in prominence and popularity after opening its doors in 2015. The perfect place for, brunch with the girls, a romantic date, just to enjoy with friends, or simply a place to make your French toast dreams come to life. Immediately when driving into the parking area you get the sense of being in a quaint romantic little spot in Paris, kind of like your French heaven.
When you enter the main entrance of Little Paris, you’re hit with this incredible Parisian-style courtyard. With a fountain at the centre of it all. Not going unnoticed either is the 12,5m Eiffel Tower standing tall to the side of Café Alexandre and set in front of a gorgeous natural background.
A quick scan around the courtyard and you’ll find that there is so much more to little Paris than just the mini-Eiffel Tower and French toast! Take a chance to walk around and appreciate the amount of detail that went into the making of “Little Paris.” There are so many places for some Instagram-worthy images. There are also a few shops for you to browse and buy yourself something from the Clothing store, Deli, Bakery and Gift Shop.
You can head over to the visual storm’s vintage photo booth and let your imagination run wild, as you get dressed up in some of their vintage-style outfits and pose in front of the French wall. R300pp
Head over to the mini-Eiffel Tower for awesome photographs, R20pp, you can even commemorate the trip by hanging a love lock on the bridge with Bae. Finally settle into the quaint ambience of Café Alexandre, for a chance to sink your teeth into a wide variety of French toast options, sweet or savoury they have it all. If you’re not a French toast person, don’t worry the menu has plenty of options to choose from, just as scrumptious.
Ps. Don’t leave Little Paris without a cocktail! Or your mimosa (they don’t offer it, but they do offer a jug of orange juice and a bottle of champagne.) nudge, nudge, wink, wink. To avoid a bit of a wait at Café Alexandre, try to get there at around 10 am or later in the afternoon, at around 2 pm.
Lesedi Cultural Village
This is undoubtedly one of the best tourist destinations in South Africa, and the best place to experience the diversity of South African culture. If you are a tourist it is an absolute must, but even for South Africans, it’s a great place to learn about the different cultures. At Lesedi Cultural village you will visit five traditional homesteads that are inhabited by tribes people who live according to the tribal folklore and adhere to the old ancestral traditions.
The village is inhabited by genuine tribes people (not actors) and you can experience Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Basotho and Ndebele traditions on your visit to this cultural landmark. You will enter these homes and hear stories about their individual cultures and rites. There are presentations that take place daily where you will be educated on South African history and its people. After the ceremonies, you can enjoy a truly traditional South African. There is also a craft market on-site where you can buy some arts and crafts and memorabilia to take home.
Upper Deck Restaurant
British Pub with South African Vibes makes for a perfect night.
Extroverts, get your energy up because the Upper deck Restaurant is your spot! A high-energy vibe where you can enjoy good food, good music, and great conversation.
This is certainly the place for all the adventure lovers and thrill seekers, after you’ve spent the day out and about, hiking, horse riding, rock climbing or jet skiing, then grab a cold one and settle into a delicious plate of food while you listen to live music and chat with friends, family, or friendly strangers, who are always eager to meet new people. Families you can even enjoy the place with your little ones, Upper Deck, caters for kids with a top-notch play area and kiddie’s menu. You’ll find this gem of a place, on the Damdoryn Crossing.
Siesta Tapas Bar and Bistro
The last place on your short culinary journey is The Siesta Tapas Bar and Bistro. For a lovely setting and good food that perfectly fits between the cute Parisian style of Little Paris and the Vibey ambience of the Upper deck then you ought to give Siesta a try.
Tapas are considered bite-sized snacks; the word and food have a very interesting history that originated from the shores of Spain. One tale is that Tapas originated from King Alphonse the tenth of Castile, who ordered that no small drink will be served in a bar unless accompanied by a small snack. The effectiveness of wine and small snacking help him through an illness. The other is that the idea came by through the genius of the common man when bartenders used small slices of bread to cover the tops of customers’ glasses to prevent fruit flies, from getting in the drink and dying. Over time this slice of bread was spiced up with all kinds of toppings. No matter where it originated, however, we can all agree that Tapas deserve a well-deserved spot on the dinner menu, not exactly as a starter but as a main course.
With a wider variety of how tapas are made and can be eaten, at Siesta you’ll find sharing platters for individual meals. Snuggle up in winter indoors or sit under the stars in summer, with pals, and get stuck into tapas and Sangrias or Gluhwein, a highly recommended items on the menu are the platters, get stuck into socialising and eating reconnect with your loved ones over a fantastic meal as food and bonding is supposed to happen.
Right, with tummies full it’s time to walk it off with some sightseeing in and around Hartbeespoort, starting with a trip to the famous topsy turvy upside down house.
The Upside-Down House
Dance, walk, pose, or even twirl on the ceiling when you’re inside the upside-down house. Built at an angle to add to the illusion of walking on the ceiling through a fully furnished house, this experience is anything but ordinary.
Stepping into it a first feels like you need a moment to gather your brain. Once inside comfortably it’s a great place to strike all kinds of crazy poses for Instagram!
This takes a little time to get used to, so you’ll probably spend a few hours going in and out of the house walking around and taking pictures. You’ll walk away with a good thousand if you’re not careful!! To add to the fun and experience of the house, there are jumping castles, and coin-operated kiddies’ rides, that will keep the little ones occupied for hours. While you take some time to relax before hopping on the Instagram train again.
Ps. If you’re a jug or two into your mimosa morning the upside-down house will begin to feel just a little extra trippy.
A 1950s town in the middle of Hartebeespoort?! Sounds crazy but you can 100% find such a place on the R511. Pretville came to be, built as a set for the South African 50s movie musical by the same name.
This beautiful place is a complete recreation of a 1950s small town, transported back to the days of the midi dress and roaring cars. Dress up in typical 50s fashion and have your photo taken in front of classic cars and more, catch a local movie at the Pretville Bioscope, or stop at the local diner for a slice of pie and a milkshake or two! Pretville is open Every Weekend (Saturday and Sunday) on Public Holidays and Public-School Holidays from 08:00-16:30. R100.00pp for Adults, R50.00pp for Children, 50.00 pp for pensioners and free for people 70 and older.
This is one of the hidden gems in Hartbeespoort. In the Jasmyn Farm Stall set under and near the Dutch-style windmill there are so many things to see, do and purchase. You can enjoy the tranquillity of the lush gardens near the lake. There are many stalls and Restaurants where you can enjoy looking over the tranquillity of the place.
As with a typical marketplace on a Saturday and Sunday, you will find a buzz of people, buying and exploring items anything from bags to fresh locally grown and harvested, fruits and veggies at incredibly reasonable prices.
The Boekery bookshop is a reader’s delight, where you’ll find some favourite golden oldies, or try a new series/novel. A place to visit as a reader with an endless appetite for good storytelling! With the fantastic prices on these books, don’t be surprised if your, hauling crates of books into your car by the end of your visit.
For those who just adore interior decorating and gardening, you’ll find some lovely household and garden gems like hand sew linens to garden equipment that will spruce up your living space.
Visit the Jasmyn Crafters Market if you want something made more suited to your taste and style.
Open Monday to Sunday 8 am to 5 pm.
Hot Air Balloon Safari
Serenity is the one thing you can find when you’re a few hundred feet about the ground in a basket just floating over the mountain, dam and wildlife. Enjoyed alone or in a group there’s just something spectacular about being high above the valley looking over the horizon as the sunrises. Take the chance to breathe in the crisp clean air of the Magaliesberg as you grab moments between to clear your head from all the stresses and strains of daily life.
You’ll take on this experience with Bill Harrop’s Balloon safaris. Along with a highly trained aviation expert, the path of Harrop’s will take you over the cradle of humankind and Magalies river valley. Enjoy a spread of hot coffee and tea, with biscuits and muffins, before you take off and a glass of champagne after you land. Travel back to the Pavillion clubhouse and enjoy a freshly cooked champagne breakfast at the restaurant.
Hartbeespoort Elephant Sanctuary
Walk the path of these gentle giants when you visit, the Hartbeespoort Elephant Sanctuary. With a real hands-on educational experience, you’ll get the opportunity to not only interact with the elephants, but you’ll also learn more about their habits behaviours and the history and genealogy of the grey giants. Depending on your plans, you have a variety of options to choose from.
With the Elephant Interaction Programme, you will get to join the Elephant caretakers in caring for the Elephants, with a one and a half hour experience, you’ll get the chance to feed the elephants, interact with them, brush them down and walk with them.
For travellers based in Gauteng, we have a half day package that includes Round Trip transport from your hotel in Pretoria or Johannesburg. The total
The Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre
Originally called the De Wildt Cheetah Research Centre, the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre name was changed in 2010 to honour the incredible Ann van Dyk who dedicated her life to the survival of cheetahs and other rare and endangered species. The Ann Van Dyk Centre is not only famous for its guided tours, but it’s also internationally recognised, as one of the best captive breeding facilities. Not only did they successfully bring the Cheetah back from the brink of extinction. They’ve also managed to breed the first rare King Cheetah and successfully breed, rehabilitate and release a pack of captive–born African wild dogs to name a few.
Choose to go on a drive guided tour, where you’ll get the opportunity to drive through the cheetah and wild dog camps in an open safari vehicle. Available daily at 2 pm. On the walking tour, a guide will take you around the centre to visit all the animals. You can also book to watch a thrilling cheetah run and experience the thrill of watching these incredibly nimble animals run at high speed.
Time to head on over to Hartbeespoort dam for some water fun.
Thrilling Water Activities
We can’t go around enjoying all that Harties have to offer without getting a chance to enjoy the dam itself. Take the cruising up a notch when you and your friends take a speed boat cruise, either by yourself or with nine friends, speed along the Dam wall, Kosmos and Pecanwood and Snake Park Route. The 10 to 15 boat rides will draw you in to try more exciting activities out on the water.
Rent a tube or the wake snake and spend a few moments out on the open water being pulled out by a boat as you and your friends go bopping through the open water. Finally, take things to the max when it comes to water vessel rides! Hop on a jet ski with a licensed skipper and rip through the water on a fun and thrilling high-energy trip.
As we conclude the list of 12 things to do in Hartbeespoort, we had to throw in a bonus activity, because sometimes you need to just chill out, by yourself or with the family and enjoy the serenity of being by the dam.
Bringing into the idea of spending time at a dam, most of us can agree that some of the best memories we had from our younger years, were going fishing weather with family or friends. It’s both an exciting and relaxing activity, exciting to catch the biggest fish of the day, relaxing because, with patience and a lot of time, you can finally switch off your cell phone and read a good book or take a nap.
If you’re going with the family, make a day of it, teach the kids to fish, braai and play along the water edge letting the little ones explore their surroundings. One of the highly recommended family-friendly and safe spots for fishing along the bank of the Hartbeespoort dam can be found on the crocodile river side of Harties, Meerhof Oewer fishing spot.
Take a trip to Harties, this weekend, whether for an overnight stay, a day trip or a longer holiday, grab your friends and family and experience first-hand what this incredible gem in the Northwest province has to offer. And that wraps up our list of things to do in Harbeespoort.