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Gariep Dam Nature Reserve, Xhariep, Free State

The 11,237ha Gariep Dam Nature Reserve is situated on the northern banks of the Gariep Dam in the south-western Xhariep region of the Free State. Often referred to as incorporating the Oviston Nature Reserve to the south of the Gariep Dam in the Eastern Free State, and the Hendrik Verwoed Reserve to the east, the Gariep Dam Nature Reserve is commonly considered to be the largest Nature Reserve in the Free State with the inclusion of the 36487-hectare, 6000 million cubic litre Gariep Dam.

In fact, the land-mass of the Sanctuary is only slightly smaller than the Willem Pretorius Reserve further north, and the massive Gariep Dam itself is a South African watersports and watersports events mecca.

The Reserve  offers game drives, bush camp picnics, angling, bird-watching and watersports. Wildlife that can be viewed at the Gariep Dam Reserve includes the largest herd of Springbok in South Africa, wildebeest, hartebeest, ostriches and the rare endangered Cape Mountain Zebra – the closest living relative to the now extinct Qwagga.

For information and bookings: 051 754 0026 (no website)

Getting there: Take the N1 south from Bloemfontein toward Colesburg and the very south-west side corner of the Gariep Dam. This route will take you just the border junction with the Western Cape and Eastern Cape Provinces. Near the Gariep Dam, follow the signs for the Reserve.

Note: The Oviston Nature Reserve is on the southern banks of the Gariep Dam in the Eastern Free State directly opposite the Gariep Dam Nature Reserve.

More info on the quaint town of Gariep Dam More info on the Xhariep Region area

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