Gariep Dam - Free State Province
The Gariep Dam can be found about 30 kms north-east of Colesberg on the Orange River. The Gariep Dam is the largest reservoir in the whole of South Africa. The Dam itself is 88 metres high and spans 914 metres. The Gariep Dam and the 11,000 hectare game sanctuary located on the north shores go to create the Free State's largest nature reserve. Its central location makes it a popular stopover for those travelling between Gauteng and Cape Town. The vast expanse of water here along with the wonderful sunsets create a sense of tranquility and calmness - an ideal escape from city life.
Of course all this water means there are plenty of water sports to participate in. The Gariep Dam has water-skiing, sailing, power boats, canoeing and of course fishing on offer. Gariep resort has something for everyone with tennis, swimming pools, mini-golf, and great places to eat after you have worked up an appetite. During the months of November to January gliders from all over the World descend upon here to take advantage of the near perfect conditions. There are always things going on here including the longest rubberduck race in the world which takes place here every February.
The huge nature reserve around the northern shores is well populated with springbok, Cape mountain zebra, ostrich, klipspringer, red hertebeest and black wildebeest.
Try biking at the Gariep Dam. All you need to do is turn up at the reserve gate and pay your R15 entrance fee and then you can enjoy cycling along the edge of the Gariep Dam. Its often very quiet here and you could find yourself cycling all on your own with just the wildebeest to keep you company.