If you are looking for a destination that offers stunning scenery, rich history, diverse wildlife and exciting activities, look no further than Harties. Harties, or Hartbeespoort, is a small resort town in the North West Province of South Africa, situated on the slopes of the Magaliesberg mountain and the banks of the Hartbeespoort Dam.
The name of the town means “gateway of the hartbees” (a species of antelope) in Afrikaans. Harties is a popular getaway for tourists and locals alike, as it is only an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria. Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend or an adventurous holiday, Harties has something for everyone. In this article, we will explore some of the best things to do in Harties that will make your trip unforgettable.
Nature and Wildlife
If you love animals and nature, Harties is the place for you. Harties is home to a variety of wildlife sanctuaries, parks and reserves, where you can interact with elephants, cheetahs, monkeys, snakes and more. You can also enjoy the scenic beauty of the Hartbeespoort Dam, the Magaliesberg mountain range and the surrounding countryside. Here are some of the best nature and wildlife activities to do in Harties:
- Visit the Elephant Sanctuary: The Elephant Sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with these gentle giants. You can feed, touch and walk with the elephants, and learn about their behavior and history.
- Interact with cheetahs at the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre: The Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre is a conservation project that aims to protect and breed endangered species, such as cheetahs, wild dogs, vultures and owls. You can join a guided tour, watch a cheetah run, or even adopt an animal.
- Walk around at Bushbaby and Monkey Sanctuary: The Bushbaby and Monkey Sanctuary is a free-roaming sanctuary for primates that have been rescued from captivity or illegal trade. You can walk through the forest with a guide, and see monkeys, lemurs, bushbabies and other animals.
- Explore Hartbeespoort Dam Snake and Animal Park: The Hartbeespoort Dam Snake and Animal Park is a family-friendly attraction that showcases a variety of snakes, reptiles, birds and mammals. You can watch snake shows, feed farm animals, or take a boat ride on the dam.
- Enjoy the views of Hartbeespoort Dam: The Hartbeespoort Dam is a man-made reservoir that provides water for irrigation and recreation. You can admire the views of the dam and the mountains from different perspectives, such as the dam wall, the iron bridges, or the aerial cableway.
- Explore Hartbeespoort on Horseback: Horse and Trails Unlimited offers horseback safaris for all levels of riders. You can choose from different trails that take you through scenic landscapes, such as bushveld, farmland, river crossings and mountain foothills.
- Hike or bike along the Magaliesberg: The Magaliesberg is a mountain range that stretches for 120 km across Gauteng and North West provinces. It is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. You can hike or bike along various trails that offer stunning views of the valleys, cliffs and waterfalls.
- Visit De Wildt Endangered Wildlife Centre: De Wildt Endangered Wildlife Centre is a research and breeding facility that focuses on rare and endangered species, such as sable antelope, roan antelope, African wild cat and blue crane. You can join a guided tour to see the animals and learn about their conservation efforts.
Adventure and Sports
If you are looking for some thrill and excitement, Harties has plenty to offer. Harties is a paradise for adventure and sports lovers, with activities that will challenge your skills and test your limits. You can soar with the aerial cableway, zip-line through the forest, quad bike on the trails, or hot air balloon over the dam. Here are some of the best adventure and sports activities to do in Harties:
- Soar with Harties Aerial Cableway: The Harties Aerial Cableway is one of the most popular attractions in Harties. It takes you to the top of the Magaliesberg mountain, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the dam and the surrounding area. You can also explore the walking trails, visit the curio shops, or have a bite at the restaurants.
- Zip-line with Magaliesberg Canopy Tour: The Magaliesberg Canopy Tour is a unique eco-adventure that takes you on a zip-line journey through the ecology and geology of the second oldest mountain range in the world. You can glide from platform to platform, suspended above the forest floor, and marvel at the natural beauty of the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve.
- Quad bike with Pelinduna Adventures: Pelinduna Adventures offers quad biking tours for all levels of riders. You can choose from different trails that take you through scenic landscapes, such as bushveld, farmland, river crossings and mountain foothills. You can also enjoy other activities such as abseiling, river rafting, paintball and hiking.
- Hot air balloon with Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris: Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris is a family-run business that has been operating for over 40 years. You can experience the magic of a hot air balloon flight over the Hartbeespoort Dam and the Magaliesberg mountain range. You can also enjoy a champagne breakfast after your flight.
- Golf at Pecanwood Golf & Country Club: Pecanwood Golf & Country Club is a prestigious golf estate that offers a world-class golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. The course is set along the banks of the Hartbeespoort Dam, and offers stunning views of the water and the mountains. The course is challenging and rewarding for golfers of all abilities.
- Fish at Kommando Nek Resort: Kommando Nek Resort is a fishing paradise that offers a variety of fish species, such as carp, barbel, yellowfish and bass. You can fish from the shore or from a boat, and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the dam. The resort also offers camping facilities, braai areas and a swimming pool.
- Paintball at Bushwhacked Outdoor Adventures: Bushwhacked Outdoor Adventures is a fun and exciting place to play paintball with your friends or family. You can choose from different game scenarios, such as capture the flag, defend the base, or last man standing. You can also enjoy other activities such as archery, air rifle shooting and team building.
- Bike at Van Gaalen Cheese Farm: Van Gaalen Cheese Farm is a working dairy farm that produces a variety of cheese products. It also offers mountain biking trails for all levels of riders. You can explore over 100 km of trails that take you through farms, forests, rivers and mountains. You can also visit the cheese shop, restaurant and picnic area.
Food and Restaurants
If you are looking for some delicious food and drinks, Harties has plenty to offer. Harties has a variety of restaurants and cafes that cater to different tastes and budgets. You can enjoy pizza, seafood, steak, coffee, craft beer and more. You can also experience live music, scenic views and friendly service. Here are some of the best food and restaurants to try in Harties:
- Silver Orange Bistro: Silver Orange Bistro is a fine dining restaurant that offers a seasonal menu with local and international dishes. The restaurant is set in a beautiful location with a citrus orchard and a fountain. You can also enjoy their wine cellar and art gallery.
- Stef’s Table: Stef’s Table is a European restaurant that offers a fusion of French, Italian and Spanish cuisine. The restaurant is run by chef Stef Oosthuysen, who creates dishes with fresh ingredients and creative flair. You can also enjoy their garden setting and live music.
- Vovo Telo Bakery & Cafe: Vovo Telo Bakery & Cafe is a cozy cafe that offers freshly baked breads, pastries, cakes and sandwiches. You can also enjoy their coffee, tea, smoothies and juices. The cafe has a relaxed atmosphere and a play area for kids.
- De Vette Mossel @ Harties: De Vette Mossel @ Harties is a seafood restaurant that offers an all-you-can-eat buffet with a variety of dishes, such as mussels, prawns, fish, calamari and more. The restaurant has a beach-like setting with sand floors and wooden tables. You can also enjoy their live entertainment and cash bar.
- The Windmill Restaurant: The Windmill Restaurant is a family-friendly restaurant that offers a range of dishes, such as burgers, salads, wraps, waffles and more. The restaurant is located inside a windmill that overlooks the dam. You can also enjoy their gift shop and petting zoo.
- French Toast Koffie Kafee: French Toast Koffie Kafee is a French cafe that specializes in french toast with various toppings, such as bacon, cheese, chocolate, fruit and more. You can also enjoy their coffee, tea, milkshakes and cocktails. The cafe has a charming decor with Eiffel Tower replicas and vintage posters.
- Siesta Tapas & Bistro: Siesta Tapas & Bistro is a Mediterranean restaurant that offers tapas dishes with Spanish, Greek and Moroccan influences. You can also enjoy their main courses, desserts and drinks. The restaurant has a stylish decor with mosaic tiles and lanterns.
- Squires on the Dam: Squires on the Dam is a steakhouse that offers quality meat dishes with various sauces and sides. You can also enjoy their starters, salads, burgers, pizzas and desserts. The restaurant has a stunning view of the dam and the mountains.
Hartbeespoort is a place where you can enjoy nature, culture, and adventure in one destination. From cable car rides to the top of the Magaliesberg Mountains, to fishing or boating on the Hartbeespoort Dam, to exploring the Elephant Sanctuary or the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre, there’s something for everyone in Harties. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo escape, Harties will not disappoint you. Book your trip today and experience the best that Harties has to offer.