The Bronkhorstspruit Dam, or “Bronkies” as it is known to the locals, is named after its neighbouring town, and both lie less than 100km from Johannesburg – not a long way to go to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The dam is popular particularly for those who want bird watching and fishing to be part of their getaways in Gauteng.
The dam was established in 1950 and holds 58.5 million cubic metres of water, lending itself as a domestic and industrial water supplier in the area. However, the aesthetic benefits of the area cannot be overlooked as water grass, reeds and trees growing along the bank.
The dam offers a variety of things to do in Gauteng – you can take out a boat, or even take your turn on jet-skis if the fishermen don’t get in the way. There are also swimming pools and restaurants to keep you busy (or to keep you from being busy, if you really want to unwind).
The reserve is situated on the southern edge of the dam and is a wonderful area for anyone wanting to relax in the great outdoors of Gauteng. For example, you can camp in the reserve if you want to spend a night or two immersed in nature.
For overnight stays there’s plenty of accommodation in Gauteng with at least four resorts within close distance, including camping sites and self-catering chalets.
Bird species include the spike-heeled and red-capped larks, cisticolas, pipits and orange-throated longclaws, but there are far too many to mention! Keep in mind that every season brings different species to the area, so if you go to the nature reserve in winter, there are even owls to spot.
As far as fishing goes, the dam is known for the bass that swim in it, although it is also a breeding ground for carp, barbell, kurper and yellowfish.
Those not interested in either bird watching or fishing can enjoy time away from the bustle of the city by camping or staying in one of the resorts along the banks of the dam and enjoying the recreational water sports.
SS Skosana Nature Reserve
There are many game reserves in Gauteng and just north of Bronkhorstspruit is a small reserve named the SS Skosana Nature Reserve which provides more of a wilderness experience. Fascinating landscapes of granite rock formations can be seen, as well as large antelope and a variety of bushveld birds.
Guided walks are available. “Bronkies” is a great weekend getaway for locals and tourists alike.