Rolfontein Nature Reserve, Northern Cape
Situated in the upper Karoo where an infinite sky and horizon seem to go on without end, the Rolfontein Nature Reserve is found roughly 16 kilometres north of Petrusville, one of many isolated little villages in the midst of the Karoo’s endless plateaus. Rolfontein borders on the Vanderkloof Dam – South Africa’s second largest dam that boasts one of the highest walls of any dam in the country at 108 metres.
Rolfontein Nature Reserve has been in existence since 1970 – 8 000 hectares of mountainous terrain, Karoo plains, little dolerite koppies and densely wooded mountain kloofs. Visitors can picnic in the reserve, or overnight in the basic tented camp. There is a 4 kilometre hike known as the Pied Barbet trail but you can hike anywhere in the reserve, provided you make arrangements to do so before hand, and there are two overnight huts for hikers.
Notwithstanding some incredible views, the reserve is also a good place for sighting a fair amount of game. The white rhino, black wildebeest, gemsbok, Burchell’s zebra, springbok, various antelope and the brown hyena all put in an appearance if you are patient enough, whilst the bat-eared fox, baboon, aardvark and aardwolf are also present at Rolfontein, if a little more elusive.
If you are looking to make a day of it, you might want to include a tour of the Vanderkloof Dam, which includes an introduction to the history and workings of the dam. The 100 kilometre long dam is also a firm favourite for watersports such as waterskiing, swimming, windsurfing and boating.