Gauteng DestinationsHekpoort, Magaliesberg
Nestled on the southern slopes of the Magaliesberg Mountain range is the predominantly farming area of Hekpoort, only a short drive from Hartbeespoort Dam and accessible from the south via a pass through the Daspoortrand, hence the name Hekpoort (meaning ‘gate’ in Afrikaans).
Hekpoort is one of the closest areas to the Magaliesberg, the looming richly wooded mountain range with a flat top of quartzite rock - the playground of Jo’burgers wanting to get away from the city and much loved by hikers, mountain bikers and rock climbers alike. The area is incredibly beautiful and the almost consistently blue skies and typically sunny Gauteng weather mean that this part of the world is ideal all year round.
The Cradle of Humankind, the UNESCO World Heritage Site that stretches for 474 kms˛, contains a system of limestone caves that include the famous Sterkfontein (‘strong spring’ in Afrikaans) Caves, close to Hekpoort. Excavations here, during 1936, revealed many early hominids and in 1947 the almost complete skull of an adult female Australopithecus africanus, nicknamed Mrs Ples, was unearthed. A further 500 hominids and a near complete skeleton, known as Little Foot, make Sterkfontein the richest site in the world for early hominids.
Hartbeespoort Dam, surrounded by the picturesque and ancient Magaliesberg Mountains, is a beautiful, if popular, weekend getaway for any number of water sports - para-sailing, windsurfing, water and jet skiing and sailing. There’s an aquarium here, a private zoo, a snake park and a cableway that is worth taking to watch the para-gliders taking off from the hills around the dam.