Dams on Table Mountain

Lakes / Dams / Landmarks / Miscellaneous in or near Constantia, Constantia Valley in Cape Town, South Africa.

Western Cape Tourist AttractionsDams on Table Mountain

Where? The Five Dams atop Table Mountain, on Table Mountain, Cape Town

Overnight? Stay in Constantia, in Western Cape

There are five dams on top of the table top, accessible via a number of hikes up the mountain.

The dams - The Woodhead, Hely-Hutchinson, De Villiers, Alexandria and Victoria - are all on the mountain’s back table, the first of which was built as early as 1890, as the demand for water in the city increased.

Up until the 1880s all who lived in Cape Town were dependent on one stream of water (Disa River) that flowed off the mountain. With the increased demand for water engineers of the city built a tunnel through the Twelve Apostles that allowed them to catch water from the Disa River and transport it via a huge duct, known today as the ‘pipe track’, right to a central repository - the Molteno Reservoir, just above De Waal Park in Oranjezicht.

But the city’s demands easily outstripped the supply from this viaduct and reservoir and before long engineers had to come up with another plan. And so they dammed the Disa River.

Woodhead Reservoir, Table Mountain’s first dam, was a lot of hard work involving a series of porters who literally carried all the building materials for the dam walls up Kasteelpoort Ravine, aided a little later, as the lunacy of the venture became clear, by a steam-driven cable car.

Hely-Hutchinson soon followed as, despite Woodhead Dam’s completion in 1897, demand still outstripped supply. It’s a particularly well-known dam because of the pretty white, sandy beach on its eastern shoreline (reached via Skeleton Gorge).

At more-or-less the same time, the southern suburbs headed up the mountain to build their own dams close to the overseer’s cottage - Victoria, Alexandra and De Villiers, completed by 1907.

The pretty dams contribute only 5% of the city’s water. Most of Cape Town’s water comes from the Steenbras, Berg River and Theewaterskloof dams, east of the city.

Best way up to explore the dams: starting at Constantia Nek along the Bridal path to the top

Tip: the water in the dams is untreated and no swimming is allowed.

Why not overnight? Find Accommodation in Constantia

Southern Light Country House

Guest House

Southern Light Country House

A stylishly modern guest house offering you a home away from home in the lush surrounds of Constantia, Cape Town. Luxury ... more

Villa Coloniale

Guest House

Villa Coloniale

Villa Coloniale is a luxury 5 star all suite guest house nestled in peaceful, rural Constantia in beautiful Cape Town ... more

Constantia Lazy River

Self Catering

Constantia Lazy River

Constantia Lazy River is right in the heart of Constantia, close to all the Constantia Wine Farms, two minutes from ... more


Please let us know if anything on this page is outdated or contains inaccuracies. Click here to send us feedback if this is your attraction.

©Unauthorised use of the
photos is strictly prohibited.

SA-Venues.com has been assisting travellers with their South Africa travel plans since 1999, and is the largest online travel guide for South Africa available in both English and German.

SA-Venues.com © 1999-2018. All Rights Reserved. Find and book hotels and accommodation in South Africa. Sitemap - Towns A-Z