The Vaal Dam is a vast expanse of water just one hour from Johannesburg. It's a vast canvas of crisp, blue, fresh waters, an open invitation to yachtsmen and sailors, fishermen and swimmers - and anything amphibious! It's often likened to an 'inland sea' and is Gauteng's biggest dam (the third largest dam in SA and 13 times bigger than Harties).
Constructed in the 1930's the Vaal Dam feeds the Vaal Barrage (downstream) - a 52km-plus stretch of the lower Vaal River which snakes from the dam wall in Deneysville to Lochvaal in Vanderbijlpark (VDBP).
Over 1 200km in circumference the Vaal Dam superseded the Vaal Barrage Reservoir (which was built in the 1920's) and today supplies Gauteng with its drinking water. (With many of Gauteng's rivers running into the Barrage pollution can become a problem. The Vaal Dam flushes water into the barrage to clear Gauteng's water in Vereeniging, VDBP and further downstream in Parys.)
Being just 90km from the Johannesburg city centre (and 70km from OR Tambo), the Vaal Dam is the perfect holiday destination for those who are looking to get away from the busy city lifestyle.
But if it's a combination of beach and bustle that takes your fancy the Vaal Dam is at the centre of the Vaal Triangle and offers a perfect balance of country life and city slick with Gauteng's Malls, Resorts and Casinos, race tracks (both horses and bikes) just 25km down the track!
The Vaal Dam speaks to sun, sand and shore - and it's not just the wide-open waters that’s the attraction, it's the space! The Dam offers loads of space, the perfect place to be at one with the elements be this swimming, skiing, skydiving, abseiling, paragliding, kiting or any other freshwater-orientated activity. And, yes, you can experience the water - it's bilharzia-free!
The Vaal Dam affords action for the whole family even it it's just relaxation you crave; picnicking, birding (by boat or safari), fishing, canoeing and viewing or participating in the many watersports available.
At the centre of the Vaal Dam is Deneysville with water access to Vaal Golf Courses where you can enjoy the well groomed 9 holes with friends or top notch 18 hole courses along the river 25km away.
Then there are the options of a game drive or cruise at farms nearby. And if the weather doesn't play the game then treat yourself to a spa or chance your arm at the local casino or horseracing course at Ascot on Vaal downstream (25km).
The Vaal Dam delineated the border between the Free State and Gauteng so the weather is similar to that in Vereeniging or Jhb. However, this vast expanse of water has its own impact on climate with the Vaal Dam having slightly more extreme temperatures than Jhb (highs are hotter in the summer months and lows are cooler in winter by a couple of degrees.)
The water itself has unique characteristics being mostly inviting but with strong currents and waves reaching over 2m during storms which can be treacherous. Deneysville is home the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) one of the most active NSRI’s in the country.