Nooitgedacht Dam Nature Reserve, located just 10 kilometers from Carolina on the Komati River, is a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts, outdoor enthusiasts, and families visiting the Mpumalanga region of South Africa. The reserve, renowned for its access to great fishing opportunities, lies only two hours from Johannesburg and Pretoria, making it an easy day trip or weekend getaway from the city.
The reserve is part of the grass and wetlands region of Mpumalanga, known for its shimmering lakes and rivers, incredible scenery, and an abundance of vibrant bird life. An entire wetland complex lies within the reserve, where a number of important ecosystems and the wildlife it supports are protected. Over 200 bird species have been spotted in the reserve, including rare and endemic species that attract visitors from around the world.
Fishing is a popular activity in the reserve, with the reserve’s location on the Komati River providing ample opportunities to catch a variety of fish species. Visitors can bring their own equipment or rent gear from local outfitters. Hiking and nature walks are also popular activities in the reserve, with several trails winding through the reserve, offering the chance to spot different bird species, wildlife, and to take in the stunning scenery of the wetlands and the surrounding grassland. Boating is another popular way to explore the reserve, with boats available for rent on the dam, allowing visitors to take in the reserve’s beauty from a different perspective.
One of the highlights of the reserve is the nearby Komati Gorge, a gorgeous sweep of cliffs and krantzes through which the Komati River winds. This natural wonder is almost a prerequisite when visiting the area, and offers visitors the chance to take in the breathtaking views of the gorge while enjoying a picnic or a swim.
For those looking for more adventure, the nearby Glenshee offers prime fly-fishing opportunities in the Mpumalanga area. The club has 2 dams which are stocked weekly with trout, and the nearby river is also stocked for special “River Bash” competitions. The Machado Flyfishing club even owns its own hatchery, producing rainbow and golden trout. Additionally, the dams are home to large-mouth bass and Tilapia, which occur naturally in the waters. Rustic camping facilities are available for those looking for an overnight fishing trip.
El Dorian Hiking Trail
For those who enjoy hiking, the El Dorian Hiking Trail is a must-do. The circular route, situated between Badplaas and Carolina, is a two-day hike that offers a fun yet challenging experience. The trail is divided into two parts, with the first stretch being 15 kilometers long, and the second being 12 kilometers. Along this trail, hikers will be able to admire the magnificent mountains with its ravines and intriguing rock formations, stroll through the grasslands, explore the forests and enjoy the luxurious rock pools created from the streams, fountains and waterfalls along the way. The trail offers a chance to experience the natural beauty of the area, while getting some exercise and fresh air. It is an ideal addition to the list of activities to do when visiting Nooitgedacht Dam Nature Reserve.
The Rainbow Route
For those looking to explore more of the region, the Rainbow Route is a scenic driving route that links the provinces of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. The route passes through a number of charming towns, each with their own unique history, culture, and natural beauty. The towns of Carolina, Kriel, Bethal, Ermelo, Chrissiesmeer, Amsterdam, Piet Retief, Paulpietersburg, Vryheid, Melmoth, Ulundi, Eshowe and Mtunzini are all part of the route. The route offers a chance to combine gorgeous scenery, two provinces, the histories of both the Voortrekker and the Zulu nations, and to discover a myriad of undiscovered towns all on the same route.
Nooitgedacht Dam Nature Reserve offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages and interests. Whether you’re looking for a fishing trip, a hiking adventure, a scenic drive or simply a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, the reserve and its surrounding area have something to offer. With its great fishing opportunities, beautiful scenery, and comfortable facilities, Nooitgedacht Dam Nature Reserve and its surrounding area is a great destination for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and families looking for a memorable and enjoyable vacation. The reserve is an ideal destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway from Johannesburg or Pretoria, and its proximity to other popular attractions in the area, such as Glenshee, the El Dorian Hiking Trail, and the Rainbow Route, make it an excellent base for exploring the Mpumalanga region. Whether you’re looking to catch a big fish, take in beautiful scenery, experience different cultures, or simply relax and enjoy nature, Nooitgedacht Dam Nature Reserve and its surrounding area have something to offer. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities and attractions, including fishing, hiking, boating, and fly-fishing, while also having the opportunity to discover charming towns, historical sites, and natural wonders that are often overlooked by tourists.