Gamkapoort Dam

The Gamkapoort Dam lies on the Gamka River, near Prince Albert in the Karoo

Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Gamkapoort Dam

The Gamkapoort Dam lies on the Gamka River, near Prince Albert in the Karoo. Which might position it in your mind geographically, but does nothing to describe or capture the beauty of this part of the country - a landscape that lies in the heart of the Swartberg, where you are completely away from it all, surrounded only by the gentle folds of mountains, and silence.

Where? Gamkapoort Dam, near Prince Albert in the Karoo, Western Cape

When? Daylight hours

Overnight? See Prince Albert accommodation, in the Karoo

The views from the banks of the Gamkapoort Dam are pretty spectacular. It lies at the mouth of the Gamkapoort Canyon in a wilderness that promises tranquility and Karoo skies. This area is mostly given over to conservation. The Gamkapoort Nature Reserve lies right on the dam, next door to the Towerkop Nature Reserve, the Groot Swartberg Nature Reserve and Die Hell Nature Reserve.

The dam is easily reached via the north of Prince Albert, where a road runs off to the left. Take this, and travel westwards, until it crosses the Gamka River. Remaining on the westward side of the river will take you on a road to the dam. This can be done on bicycle, and is just a little part of the greater Freedom Trail, which links the towns of Willowmore, Prince Albert, Gamkaskloof, Rouxpos and Anysberg.

At the Gamkapoort Dam the cry of the Fish Eagle is commonplace. Its cry rents the silence that only being this remote can allow. Someone like the unofficial water bailiff of the Gamkapoort Dam could describe to you in intimate detail what living alone out here is like, he has done it for 18 years. He understands just how critical water is to life in the middle of the desert, even if he does live on the side of a dam.

All of this beauty is under threat from recent interest by oil companies to frack in the Karoo, which would lead to pollution in the ancient aquifers that are the lifeblood of the water in this dam.

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Gamkapoort Nature Reserve

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Did you know?

Prince Albert is a collection of pretty tinned roof Karoo cottages, Victorian homes and national monuments. A constantly-flowing stream supplies the town along street side viaducts with stream water, and an abundance of fruit orchards and vegetable plots grow a selection of sub-tropical fruits and vegetables.

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