Friday, March 16, 2018

Harties Boat Company. Hartebeespoort Dam. North West Province

Our birthday weekend at Hartebeespoort Dam was to end with a lunch time cruise.
On our way to the Harties Boat Company launch site, I discovered this large pond.
This aspect reminded me of a scene from the movie "Deliverance" 
that I had to stop and take this image.
There were no hillbillies, but there was this Coot in my picture.

Danny Buoy...
It was to be where my wife and I would be sharing her birthday lunch.
We were not the only ones celebrating.
The entire upper deck was full of people sharing special events.

A complementary drink to get the cruise started.

I did take pity on the couple sitting in the foreground.
The guy in the red and blue shirt was also having a birthday,
but his guests did not make it on board...they had left home too late
 and were unable to share the lunch with him.
(The good news is that they had arrived and 
were waiting for him when the boat docked at the end of the cruise)

A safety drill is mandatory.
It is just a pity that the PA system is not the best and 
as a result it was very difficult to hear what was being said.

How cool does our Captain look?

Leaving the land behind as we head out into the Dam...

The last time I was on this dam was back in 1992,
as a participant in an Iron man competition!

The rather imposing cliff on the approach to the tunnel that takes 
vehicles across the dam wall. You can see the cars lining the roadside,
awaiting their turn to enter the tunnel.

The dam wall is very imposing.
Some interesting facts about its construction
Building started in 1896 at a different site.
At the time it was to be the largest dam in the Southern Hemisphere
In 1905, the wall was moved to its present position.
Construction was halted during WW1, and was only recommenced in 1918
The temporary wall was washed away in 1921.
The wall was finally completed in 1923 and overflowed for the first time in 1925.

Even though there is a blanket of water hyacinth 
covering a large percentage of the surface of the dam,
 there are still lots of sailing vessels.

A quiet Sunday sail...

Our starter platter for two.
Most delicious

Main courses was served buffet style, unlike starters and dessert 
which were plated and served at our table.
There was more than enough food and seconds were a possibility,
but you had to allow for dessert

The dessert,a tiramisu, was the similar to the one that we had enjoyed
 at La Dolce Vita the evening before.

A Cattle Egret heading off to it afternoon roost perhaps?

A breathtaking sight.
The waters of Hartbeespoort Dam with the Magalies Mountains in the background.
The dam is approximately 20 sq km and varies in depth from approximately 10 to 45m

This fellow was trying to impress us as we chugged past

Each celebrant received a birthday cake.
This carrot cake was MOST delicious.

And a couple of hours later, it was all over.
Time to tie up, and head off home.
To find out more, visit:

...without whom this Blog
 would not be possible. 





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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

La Dolce Vita Guest house,Hartebeespoort Dam,North West Province

Are you feeling like your world is spinning around with no peace and tranquillity in sight?
If you live in either Johannesburg or Pretoria, then the possible remedy is only an hour away. 
As a tourist destination, Hartebeespoort Dam is certainly  underrated,
and local visitors should be taking more advantage of what the area has to offer.

For my wife's recent birthday weekend, we were hosted by La Dolce Vita,
situated in Kosmos, on the Northern side of the Dam.
The entrance to the guest house might look unimposing,
but what awaited us inside certainly made our time here memorable.
And for all the right reasons...

A chain, strung on the wall just inside the entrance, bears testimony to the number of couples
 who have visited and have become engaged, or pledged their love to each other.
"2Gether 4 EVER!" was put up in 2014...
I do hope that they are still together.

This seating area is to the right of the reception desk.
I can well imagine how cosy this space must be in winter.
On our arrival, staff that we dealt with were warm, welcoming and friendly.

At the top of the stairs, look out for the "Mind your head" sign,
 and on the way to our room, we found this.
An area set aside for massage...all of the beds on the right behind the drapes
 have a view out over the dam.
My wife booked a Swedish massage, which she enjoyed immensely.

We had to go through a lounge, which we had as "sole use", to get to our room.
It was a bright airy room with great views out over the dam.
Both of us spent time here.
Me editing images while my wife sat and read...
and the pleasant distraction of the dam to intrude often

And finally our room.
What more could we ask for?
A very comfortable bed, a couple of chairs to sit on 
and both a jacuzzi bath AND a shower...
For the first time in a long while, we actually spent time here.
Reading, watching sport on TV and catching up on much needed sleep.

And seeing we were celebrating a birthday, 
a complimentary drink to enjoy while in the tub

Sitting in the bath, guests can see out over the dam.
The toilet is billed as a "loo with a view", 
as it too looks out over the dam.

And THIS is the view!
Anything can be forgiven when one can spend the day enjoying this vista.
Not that there was any need to forgive anyone for anything.
There is a balcony outside the room that had two comfortable chairs and a table.
A great spot to read a book or just sit and relax.

A birthday morning walk...
An interesting path meanders along the foreshore
and it is well worth exploring!

Evening, and La Dolce Vita takes on a whole different persona!
The evening was perfect for eating outside on the patio.
The view from here is either of the lights across the water, or the swimming pool

The dining room.
Practical table decorations and interesting eclectic d├ęcor.
All of which makes for great talking points and topics for discussion 

"Our" lounge, at night, as seen from our accommodation.
It reminded me of a cabin on a cruise liner.

Although not mentioned on the menu, the kitchen can (and will) rustle up
either a salad or a sandwich for lunch.
I had asked for mozzarella cheese on my toastie, and I got more than I bargained for.
The salad that my wife ordered was sufficient for two people, 
and was made exactly as she had ordered.

A different take on a traditional lamb shank, a lamb shank cutlet. 
Known as Osso Bucco, this is a Northern Italian dish that is served without tomatoes.
Probably one of the most succulent meat dishes that I have ever tasted.
The dinners, included in the package, consist of a starter, main and dessert.
If I am allowed one suggestion, it would be to offer guests
 a house white or red wine by the glass.

Both dinners we enjoyed were ended with beautifully presented
 Belgian chocolates and cappuccino.

For some reason, most establishments will put mushrooms
 on a breakfast plate, even if it has not been requested.
Not "Breakfast of Champions" was served exactly as ordered.
To her credit, Nancy, our waitress, did write down our order, 
rather than try to commit it memory and possibly getting it wrong.
As an aside: All the staff that we interacted with were friendly and professional.

Breakfast on the patio?
It would have been ideal, except that the wind was not playing along.

Some interesting decorative items that can be found 
scattered throughout the public spaces in the guest house.
I do like the eclectic mix of styles at La Dolce Vita.
And finding items like this turned our time here into a mini treasure hunt.

The garden is full of a variety of bird species.
This Cape Thrush came to take a closer look at what was on our plates...

The bright flowers also attracted a multitude of bees.
All of whom were very focussed on pollen collection.

Almost time for bed...and a first for me.
I managed to capture the path of a shooting star, which can be seen on the right side of this image.
Interestingly enough, I did not notice it when I was taking this shot.
It was not only me that missed it, two other guests who were with me also failed to see it.

To find out more about what this establishment has to offer, 
visit their website:

...without whom this Blog
 would not be possible. 





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and may not be used without permission