Overnight accommodation halfway between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Venue facilities are also available. Come and enjoy our calm atmosphere.

"Home from home" hospitality awaits you where you can come and enjoy great walks, bird watching, hiking trails, fishing, boating, sailing, water skiing, nature reserve and much, much more!

  • View Gariep Dam Wall
    • Arrange with the Department of Water Affairs for a tour through the dam wall. Tel: +27 (0) 51-754 0001\2 o\h.
  • Fish Hatchery:
    • See how Yellow Fish, Carp and Barbel are hatched.
  • Gariep Nature Reserve
    • The reserve covers an area of 13 500 ha when the dam is full and is the largest Nature Reserve in the Freestate. Game that you may encounter on the 25km long tourist roads is the following: Black and Blue Wildebeest, Blesbuck, Springbuck, Cape Mountain Zebra, Ostrich, Red Hartebeest, Vaal Rhebuck, Mountain Rhebuck, Duiker and Steenbuck. Tel: +27 (0) 51-754 0026.
Picture of Fishing
Picture of Hiking
  • Gariep Power Station:
    • The first hydroelectric power station built by Escom. Tours through the power station can be arranged.
  • Norvalspont Concentration Camp:
    • In February 1901 Capt. Wynne laid out the Norvalspont concentration camp. The inhabitants received the same rations as in all the other camps established in the period namely: ¾lb of either mealie meal, rice or potatoes, 1lb of meat twice weekly, 1 oz of coffee daily, sugar 2 oz daily, and salt ½ oz daily. 366 people died in the camp and the main cause of death was measles.

Gariep Dam

The giant Gariep Dam, completed in 1971, is the central structure of the Orange River Project. The functioning of the project is made possible by the water stored in this dam. From this dam the scheme divides in two directions, the water flowing either westwards along the Orange River, via hydro-electric power generators to the Vanderkloof Dam, or through the Orange-Fish Tunnel to the Great Fish and Sundays River Valleys.

The Gariep Dam is situated 5 km east of Norvalspont in a gorge at the entrance to the Ruigtevallei and is a composite concrete gravity arch dam. Because the dam gorge at the site where the dam was built was too wide to allow a complete arch, only the central section of the dam is arched. Two concrete gravity section flanked walls from artificial abutments for the arch. The curvature structure of the wall is a very effective design for resisting the water pressure, as it deflects the thrust of the water towards the solid rock foundations of the wall, the water thrust is so tremendous against the convex side of the wall which faces upstream that the wall actually gives or bends under it. This factor was taken into account in the design of the dam. Under maximum flood conditions, 7 900m3/s (cubic meters per second) water will flow 6,1 m deep over the crest spillway. This is additional to the 8 300m3/s which can be discharged through the six flood chutes situated in either side of the wall.

Picture of Sailing
Picture of Ostrich

Main Features

The main features of the Gariep Dam are the following:

  1. The main arch has a central spillway underneath the road that passes over the crest of the dam.
  2. Energy dissipators (or water splitters) in the spillway section of the dam wall break up the water that flows over the spillway into streams and so prevent it from scouring the river bed downstream of the dam. These energy dissipators are South American inventions and are used quite frequently.
  3. Two gravity walls or wind blocks that form an integral part of the wall.
  4. Four sleeve valves, two on either side of the main arch, are used for irrigation releases when the hydro-electric turbines are not in use. Downstream of the wall of both banks of the river four river outlets for bigger river releases where constructed and in the wall on the left bank (Cape Province), are four pipelines which provide water for hydro-electric power generation. 5. Six flood spillway openings with radial gates are situated near the crest of the wall, three on either bank, leading to the six large concrete chutes, three on either side. This water is conducted to the lower end of the concrete chute where it is flipped spectacularly into the air by the flip-buckets, into the splash pool downstream of the dam. In this manner, the large amount of energy is absorbed by a water cushion formed downstream of the main wall. An extensive concrete apron was constructed beneath the central spillway to prevent the falling water from eroding the rock at the base of the dam.
  5. Six ducts (tunnels), one above the other, built into the main wall of the dam for inspection and maintenance purposes. These ducts are large enough for a person to walk in an upright position inside them and are connected by an elevator. There are also a number of smaller ducts.
  6. The Saddle Dam is a secondary dam on the left bank.

There is also the annual Million-Dollar Pigeon Race in January and the International Gliding Championships in December. ……or just relax with a book from the Library. Contact Sandra Visser at 051-754 0071 for assistance.

Picture of Pigeon Race