You work hard during the week, and on the weekend all you want is a chance to chill out and relax, right? If a quick and easy getaway is what you want, and if you’re looking for a destination a stone’s throw from Johannesburg, then the Loskop Dam may just be everything you need. Neatly situated between Middleburg and Groblersdal, the Loskop Dam waters the vast fertile farmlands that supply most of South Africa’s fresh produce. Driving along the N11 you’ll be suitably amazed when you come across this pristine jewel, hidden from view until you climb the last rise – the beauty of the Loskop Dam is simply breathtaking.
Not far, far away
A two hours drive is all it takes to leave the grime and pollution of Johannesburg behind and discover the green and luscious paradise of Mpumalanga’s Cultural Heartland. The route is extremely straightforward – from Johannesburg drive as if though you were headed to the airport and carry on east with the N12, past Witbank until you get to Middelburg where you’ll drive north along the N11 towards Groblersdal. The scenery changes dramatically halfway along the N11, becoming more picturesque and mountainous. After you head through the Kranspoort Pass a number of resorts start appearing to your left. When you reach the Loskop Dam Forever Resort, you’ll see the dam itself straight ahead. This is a great time to stop the car and marvel at the vastness of the dam, and the beautiful greenery reaching right down to the waterline.
Your home away from home
Although there are a number of excellent accommodation facilities in the area, Forever Resort Loskop Dam is most popular among holidaymakers. The friendly staff members at reception are very helpful – but be sure to book in advance to ensure an absolutely streamlined experience. There are a good variety of accommodation options to suit any budget, from exclusive log cabins, chalets and guesthouses to more rugged youth hostels and camping grounds. All accommodation is self-catering, although there is a fairly priced restaurant and a well-priced general store on the resort grounds.
What to do, what to do
Once you’re settled in, take a stroll around the resort to familiarize yourself with the area and the location of all amenities. If you arrive on a Friday night, after a relaxing supper you can go and unwind in the glorious heated pool and gaze up at the myriad of stars and see if you can spot any satellites or shooting stars. The heated pool is near to the cold pool, so hop between the two for maximum hot and cold sensation!
The bar is open till 10, and if you just can’t get away from your weekend sport, you’ll be able to enjoy all the action on satellite TV at the bar, with a view of the Loskop Dam below. Does it get any better?
If you’re camping be prepared for a bit of noise at night – weekends can be quite festive, especially during the rugby season, although most campers are quiet and keep to themselves. You will certainly hear someone playing “De La Rey” from a car or bakkie more than once, but just go with the flow and it will soon pass, or sing along if you wish. There is a mutual respect for other holidaymakers, and as the weekend progresses you may even make a friend or two.
In the morning you’ll wake up to the sound of marula fruit hitting the ground and the “go awaaay!” calls of the animated loerie birds clamouring in the treetops.
You can choose from a great number of activities, both within the resort and in the general vicinity. A water safari at 9 in the morning is highly recommended – for R60 per person you get a two hour long guided tour where you’ll most certainly see warthog, zebra, impala, mountain reedbuck and duikers, and if you’re lucky some crocodiles and hippos. No swimming or canoeing is allowed in the dam. The resort also offers other outdoor activities including tennis, quad biking, horse riding, fishing, abseiling, mini golf and paintball. The kids can enjoy trampolines and playgrounds with swings, seesaws and slides, and of course a number of swimming pools to choose from. If the weather is foul, stay indoors for a game of pool or relax in the bar or restaurant.
A drive to nearby Groblersdal is rather interesting – you’ll come across enormous vineyards and farmlands, and don’t forget to stop at one of the cafes on the route for some of the most delicious koeksusters and biltong ever tasted.
The Loose Head Dam
If you take one of the fascinating boat cruises, the guide will enlighten you about the dam’s history, its dimensions and how it was constructed. Particularly interesting is the story about how the dam got its name – without giving away too much let me just say that it involves the decapitation of an ingenious engineer. Ask the guide to elaborate – he tells the tale with great finesse and a sparkle in his eye…
Truly beautiful, the Loskop Dam is a marvellous getaway destination that won’t cost you half a month’s salary, and is incredibly close to Johannesburg. Take a break this weekend and enjoy some of the splendour South Africa has to offer.