There is plenty to do in the small town of Gariep Dam. Fly Fishing, Sailing, Water skiing, Putt-Putt, Horse Riding, Squash, Hiking Trails, Wind Surfing, Game Hunting, Game Viewing, Bird Watching, Bird Hunting, Gliding, River Rafting, Boat Cruises, Tennis, Bowling, Photography, Camping, and more!
There are also the annual Million-Dollar Pigeon Race in January and the International Gliding Championships in December.
The giant Gariep Dam, completed in 1971, was mainly built for generating hydro-electric power and irrigation. It is the largest dam in South Africa, with a shoreline of about 435 km, and the dam wall is 88m high and 914m long.
The huge amount of 1.73 million cubic meters of cement was used during the building of the dam wall. Guided tours through the dam wall includes an interesting slide show in its well equipped audiovisual room, as well as a walk through the 13.2km of tunnels and more than a thousand steps that leads to its foundation on the Orange River.
The Gariep Nature Reserve, which has a total area of about 12000 ha, extends along the Free State shore from the Gariep Dam Wall to Bethulie and is the largest in the Free State.
It lies on the fringe of the Karoo and the vegetation is known as Mixed Nama Karoo. It boasts with many antelope species that include Springbuck, Klipspringer, Eland, Bluewildebeest, the second largest herd of Blackwildebeest in the world and 65 of scarce Cape Mountain Zebra. The dam is also home to many species of birds, including, amongst others, the Fish Eagle, Black Eagle, Goliath Heron and many duck species such as yellow billed ducks, Egyptian geese etc. Certain areas of the reserve is also good for fishing.
This fish hatchery, which is the largest in South Africa, breeds with fish species such as barbel, yellowfish and Orange River mud fish. Guided tours could be arranged at 051 754 0277 (o/h) or 082 410 8251 when available.