Mpumalanga Tourist AttractionsGrootdraai Dam
Built in 1982 mainly to support the water needs of three Sasol petrol plants at Secunda, as well as a number of other power stations near the Olifants River basin, Grootdraai dam lies in the upper reaches of the Vaal River, roughly 10km upstream of Standerton south east of Johannesburg.
Grootdraai is a large dam, with a catchment area of 8 195km˛ and a surface area of 39 square kilometres, giving it a 0.7 MAR (mean annual runoff).
Interestingly during a major drought in 1983 people worried that the power stations so reliant on water from the dam might be affected should the supply be seriously depleted – there were estimations at the time that Grootdraai Dam could empty in a matter of months without rain.
An emergency scheme was carried out to pump water upstream over a distance of 202 km from the Vaal Dam to Grootdraai across seven weirs, each with several pumps. Over the course of a day, the scheme would pump 1 million cubic metres of water.
The scheme was completed and even received an award for it engineering achievement, but was never used.
The dam is pretty impressive. Windsurfers enjoy it because the winds are typically stronger here than on the Vaal Dam, and, whilst fishermen generally do not like the winds, they do enjoy hooking big carp and modderbekkies.
Despite this Grootdraai is really known for its big bass. There are several bays with trees that provide excellent fishing potential, if you have a boat.
The dam has a municipal campsite.