Watersports in Gauteng
Gauteng might be one of South Africa’s most popular destinations, but the fact remains that it is land-locked, making it a surprising watersport spot. But, the commercial hub of Gauteng is also home to a number of large dams and rivers, which continue to be awesome options for those that have a passion for the water and crave some adrenalin and fun during their time here.
The Vaal River is a major attraction for those that love watersports, or want to try their hand at something new. It is the second-biggest natural dam in South Africa in terms of its total area, with more than 800 kilometres of shoreline and a surface area of some 320 square kilometres. It also boasts the cleanest water in the country, making it safe for families. The most popular watersports on the Vaal Dam include swimming, boating and water-skiing.
The Vaal River also hosts a number of water-based competitions and events every year. These include the Round the Island race (which, as its name implies, involves a yacht race around the dam’s famous island), the Keelboat Week, the Bayshore 200 kilometre jet ski race, and the Bayshore Marina Vaal Dam Treasure Hunt.
The Hartbeespoort Dam is an enormous dam and reservoir, with a surface area of about 20 000 square metres. The water here is high in phosphates and nitrates and is, therefore, not considered to be of a great quality. However, this does not mean that the Hartbeespoort Dam is not a very popular retreat for those wanting to leave the city and indulge in the natural splendour of Gauteng.
There are jet boats available at Hartbeespoort Dam. These travel at 90 kilometres an hour, and zoot around the dam for a 20-minute tour of the exquisite scenery (which includes the magnificent Magaliesberg Mountains in the distance). These boats are fast and can perform tight turns and exciting twists for those that want to get their adrenalin pumping.
Other watersports in Gauteng include:
White-water rafting on the Crocodile River – enjoy fabulous scenery with Paddle Power, a company that conducts a number of tours and offers different rafting packages that range from half-day experiences to one- and two-day white-water rafting adventures. The massive monitor lizards can often be seen from the rafts, as can a host of beautiful bird species. This makes time spent on the Crocodile River all the more special.
Base 3 X-Park – situated in Midrand, Base 3 offers fabulous watersports all year round, regardless of the weather outdoors. This indoor cable ski park offers water-skiing, wakeboarding, wake-skating and knee-boarding. No boats are required, as all of the tension is provided by an aerial cable that measures 800 metres, giving sportsmen (and –women) that complete experience without having to resort to finding a natural lake or dam, and to depend on the outdoor conditions. It is about more than watersports, though. Base 3 also boasts shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities to make for an all-round family hotspot.
Watersports are ultimately fun and entertaining. However, they are best enjoyed when you take the necessary precautions. Do not embark on any of these activities (including swimming) if you are under the influence of alcohol. Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, even in overcast weather, and adhere to the rules and guidelines of the facility.