Northern Cape DestinationsVanderkloof, Upper Karoo
Set on the far northern shore of the Vanderkloof Dam lies the little community of Vanderkloof, forming the eastern corner of a triangle with Hopetown (north) and Philipstown (south).
The hamlet is small, but the Rolfontein Nature Conservation Offices lie here, with views overlooking the dam.
The dam dominates everything and from as early as the initial traffic circle on the edge of Vanderkloof, the walls of the dam are visible. This is where the massive Orange River, that also forms the boundary between the Northern Cape and the Orange Free State, flows into the dam.
The Vanderkloof Dam is the second largest dam in South Africa with a wall that towers to 108 metres and a crest length of 765 metres. When full, it is 100 kilometres long, which on the face of it sounds inconceivable, but when looking at it on a map the dam narrows in areas to that of a very thick river, opening up again in parts. Its largest concentration is in the northerly areas around the Rolfontein Nature Reserve.
Two obvious reasons for escaping to Vanderkloof are the water sports available on the dam - such as adventure kayaking, fishing, boating and sailing - and the animal life that you can spot on hikes in the area.
A short walk in the Rolfontein Nature Reserve, called the Pied Barbet Trail, will take you along 4 km of path, but you can also hike anywhere in the reserve using overnight hikers' huts (try not to plan your break at the same time as the annual water festival, bikers raleigh or inter-varsity regatta).
The Doornkloof Nature Reserve lies on the southern shores of the Vanderkloof dam.