The town Gariep Dam, (the youngest town in South Africa) situated alongside the N1, is perhaps better known to most for the manmade Gariep Dam (which is the largest dam in South Africa with a radius of 360 square kilometres) which forms part of the Orange River Development Scheme.

The sheer magnificence of this more than 100km long and 24km wide dam, is indeed sufficient to testify to the exceptional engineering and success of Africa's largest water supply scheme.

The great Orange River project which was started in 1928 gave rise to the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam. The Town and Kampong areas were erected in the early 1960's. The rural area became known as Oranjekrag and accommodated 3500 people all involved with the construction of the dam wall. The completion date of construction was 31 August 1969.

The realisation of a temporary town never materialized. Today there are more than 600 permanent residents living in the Town with plenty of accommodation options for visitors.

Gariep Dam has two main tourist attractions in the Free State, namely the Gariep Dam Nature Reserve and the Forever Resorts Gariep - a holiday resort.

The towns official status as the Municipal of Verwoerd Dam was proclaimed on 21 April 1994. The name was officially changed on 4 October 1996 to Gairep Dam.

Gariep Dam is the most central point of the Republic of South Africa. An excellent road network connects the town to the Eastern Cape, North and South Namibia and Botswana.

The town also has a airfield with a double tarred runway. International gliding championships are held annually in December at the airfield. Overseas gliders agree that Gariep Dam is the mecca for gliding competitions to set up world records for gliding.


Fish Hatchery
See how Yellow Fish, Carp and Barbel are hatched.

Gariep Dam Wall
Arrange with the Department of Water Affairs for a tour through the dam wall. There are 13 km of passages and halls within the walls of the Gariep Dam. During the yearly water festival, church services and dances are held in the dam wall where up to 400 people are present.

Gariep Nature Reserve
The reserve covers an area of 13 500 ha when the dam is full. Game that you may encounter on the 25 km long tourist roads are the following: Black and Blue Wildebeest, Blesbuck, Springbuck, Cape Mountain Zebra, Ostrich, Red Hartebeest, Vaal Rhebuck, Mountain Reedbuck, Duiker and Steenbok

Gariep Power Station
The first hydro-electric power station built by Escom. Tours through the power station can be arranged at

Norvalspont Concentration Camp
In February 1901 Capt Wynne laid out the Norvalspont concentration camp. The inhabitants received the same rations as in all the other camps established in the period namely: 3/4lb of either mealie meal, rice or potatoes, 1lb of meat twice weekly, 1oz of coffee daily, sugar 2oz daily, and salt oz daily. 366 people died in the camp and the main cause of death were measles.

Shell collection
View this beautiful and outstanding collection of more than 4000 shells at 10 Tinktinkie St.
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Accommodation Map

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