Gariep Dam - The sleeping giant
Lake Gariep is the largest fresh water expanse in South Africa, situated in the Orange River, with a shoreline of 435 km and a surface area of 360 km2. As such it offers tremendous possibilities in terms of outdoor sports and tourism adventure. One of the off-spins is that a tri-provincial tourism developmental initiative has been formed, called the Lake !Gariep Tourism Route, linking the towns of Gariep Dam, Oviston, Venterstad and Bethulie.
At the town of Gariep Dam is the Lake !Gariep Tourism & Craft Centre consisting of the Louis Maré-Gariep Dam Museum, Accommodation Info Office and Coffee Shop. Contact number (051) 754 0594 / 083 259 6439 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
In and around the town there are also the De Stijl Hotel, the Forever Aventure Gariep Resort, the Riversmead Resort, a total of 10 guesthouses and six guest farms / lodges.
Things to do and places to visit include guided tours through the Gariep Dam wall as well as the Gariep Nature Reserve, and various facilities for fishing, picnicking, river rafting, horse riding, boating, etc.
The various sport events at the towns surrounding Lake !Gariep has recently proven that sport-tourism has become one of the major marketing tools for the Lake! Gariep initiative, e.g:
- The airfield at the town forms annually from November - February the centre of attraction for gliders across the world.
- Each year in February the Gariep 500 Rubber Duck Race is a popular item for speed boat owners and enthusiasts.
- The Free State Yacht Club has its base at Gariep Dam town, presenting regatta's every month.
- The SA Hunter's Society has since 2004 presented their annual target shooting competition at Gariep Dam town.
- The Round-the-lake cycling competition is one of the cycling race tours of national significance.
- Angling at the dam is a highly popular sport with various competitions.
- The latest addition is the prestigious Eric van Enter Cycling Competition, sanctioned by Cycling South Africa.
- Thus Gariep Dam or Lake !Gariep is a sleeping tourism giant waiting to be properly awakened!