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The glamorous suburb of Kosmos on the banks of the scenic 1620ha Hartbeespoort Dam in the North West Province of South Africa is the preferred destination for jaded city dwellers wanting to enjoy the varied recreational facilities on offer around the dam.
Kosmos looks out over the calm dam waters and alongside the Crocodile River dam wall, with the Magaliesburg range of mountains enveloping the suburb. Countless jetties protrude from the dam banks for home owners and visitors to participate in exciting water sports or for a gentle cruise on the water.
On Sunday mornings, the calm of the Kosmos suburb is briefly interrupted by the roar of motorbikes attending the popular Breakfast Run, when bikers from surrounding cities arrive for a breakfast at one of the many restaurants on the dam before returning via the winding roads so loved by motorbike enthusiasts.
Top 10 reasons to visit Kosmos
1. Hire a yacht at the Yacht Club or opt for a leisure boat cruise around Hartbeespoort Dam. Look out for the endangered Cape vulture soaring high in the thermals above.
2. The Sandy Lane Golf Club is a beautiful 9-hole course built around water features and up against the dam for Kosmos visitors to appreciate. The course is closed on Mondays.
3. Get to know the African elephant at the Hartbeespoort Elephant Sanctuary. Tours include trunk-in-hand walks or a bareback ride on the elephant’s back.
4. The Chameleon Village nearby has curios and traditional crafts, boutique shops, an art gallery, children’s playpark and several restaurants all within a landscaped indigenous garden.
5. The Hartbeespoort Dam Snake and Animal Park is home to a number of endangered species such as the wild dog and Cape vulture. The park also houses several cat species and exotic creatures. Snake, seal and animal handling demonstrations take place over weekends.
6. Take the Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway up to the summit of the Magaliesberg Mountains for stunning panoramic views of the dam, mountains and surrounding bushveld.
7. Cross the dam wall to visit the Makalani Bird Park at the resort of the same name. The park has varieties of the rather strange-looking hornbill family of birds.
8. The Hartbeespoort Aquarium is the only freshwater aquarium in South Africa. Aside from the tropical and indigenous freshwater fish on display, the centre cares for orphaned marine animals such as seals and penguins. A crocodile enclosure is on the premises.
9. The dam and adjoining areas are surrounded by restaurants, go hungry and be adventurous with your choices from the available offerings.
10. A day visit to Sun City’s Valley of Waves water park is a treat for the family and is packed with rides. The 6500m² Roaring Lagoon generates waves of 2m in height at 90 second intervals while the Temple of Courage is a 17m drop down a vertical water slide. The more sedate Lazy River is available for the less daring.
The nearest international airport is O R Tambo International Airport, 100km from Kosmos. Lanseria Airport is 40km for domestic flights. Rent a car at the start of your journey in Johannesburg or Lanseria, otherwise order a vehicle online. Shuttle service companies operate in nearby Centurion, however, it’s best to use a rental to fully appreciate the area.
Did you know?
South Africa is the only country to have voluntarily terminated their nuclear weapons programme. The weapons were dismantled in 1989. The Pelindaba nuclear plant alongside the Hartbeespoort Dam where the weapons were first created is now the leading medical isotope producer in the world.
The original owner of the Hartbeespoort farm, Hendrick Schoeman, a General in the South African War, died a curious death. Charged with high treason by the Boers and distrusted by the British, he was killed in his home when he dropped a lit match into a Lyddite shell he used as an ashtray. The shell exploded. Some suspected the shell may have been rigged, as he had been using it for several months.