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Vanderkloof is named after the original farm on which the dam was constructed.

The former name of the Dam, P.K. Le Roux Dam, was named after the former Minister of Water Affairs whom for many years campaigned for the development of the Orange River.


The name Vanderkloof was decided on for both the dam and the town to avoid confusion.

The Orange River Project was the largest engineering and water conservation project ever attempted in South Africa.

This combined storage and diversion dam also incorporates the Vanderkloof hydro-electric power station which is connected to Eskom's national distribution network.


The dam was officially opened on the 17 November 1977 by the former Prime Minister, Mr. B.J. Voster.


The Vanderkloof Dam took the name of the farm it stands upon. The surrounding town originally had a population of dwellers drawn to the area for the sole purpose of dam building.

The town is now a popular holiday destination.

This is South Africa's second largest dam and lies in the picturesque semi-desert Karoo landscape.

Vanderkloof Dam has a concrete crest of 765m and is the highest dam wall in South Africa rising to a vertical standpoint of 108m.

Recreational water sports such as skiing, boating and sailing provide ample  entertainment.

We also have an array of bird life species, including the Kingfisher. 


Anglers especially enjoy the dam for it's scaled trophies.


Some of the earliest precolonial inhabitants called the river ǂNūǃarib, referring to its black colour, or sometimes just Kai !Arib ("Great River"), from which is derived the Afrikaans version Gariep, and translation "Groote Rivier". The early Dutch name for the river was just that translation, Groote Rivier, meaning "Great River".

The river was named the Orange River by Colonel Robert Gordon, commander of the United East India Company (VOC) garrison at Cape Town, on a trip to the interior in 1779. Gordon named the river in honor of William V of Orange. A popular but incorrect belief is that the river was named after the supposedly orange color of its water, as opposed to the color its tributary, the Vaal River, itself derived from the name ǀHaiǃarib "pale river" (vaal being Afrikaans for pale or grey). In Lesotho, where the river rises, it is known as the Senqu River, derived from the original Khoemana name.

- The river is 2,090 km long.
- The Vaal River is its chief tributary.
- The lower Orange River flows through Namaqualand and the Ai-Ais Richtersveld National Park.

In very dry years it does not reach the sea.
- At the mouth of the river are rich alluvial diamond beds.
- The river is used extensively for irrigation.




Vanderkloof Dam is the second largest dam in South Africa and offers incredible fishing opportunities in the 13866 ha surface area of the reservoir and the 3255 million cubic meter of water.

The Orange River has a relative paucity of species diversity. A 2011 survey of 13,762 fish found only 16 species of fish present. Three of these, the common carp, the Mozambique tilapia, and the western mosquitofish are not indigenous.

Another exotic species, rainbow trout, is found in the river headwaters in Lesotho.


Five species are found in the Orange River system:

  • Rock-catfish (Austroglanis sclateri) - Occurs in rocky habitats in flowing water, favoring rapids. Feeds on invertebrates, especially insects, taken from rock surfaces. In Afrikaans this fish is known as the Klip Barber, and is common throughout the Vaal and Orange rivers, where many Yellowfish fly anglers often hook into this strange fish. It has a sucker shaped, downwards pointing mouth, that is used to feed on the surfaces of rocks, where it readily eats insects, crustaceans, and invertebrates. The larger fish will even eat smaller species, such as the Threespot Barb, when the opportunity presents itself.

  • Smallmouth yellowfish (Labeobarbus aeneus) - The smallmouth yellowfish is a species of ray-finned fish in the genus Labeobarbus. 

  • Largemouth yellowfish (Labeobarbus kimberlyensis) - The largemouth yellowfish or Vaal-Orange largemouth yellowfish is a ray-finned fish species in the family Cyprinidae. This large freshwater barb is found in southern Africa. It has long been placed in Barbus, the "wastebin genus" for barbs, by default; however, the species is increasingly being restored to related yellowfish genus Labeobarbus which seems a much more appropriate placement. It is probably hexaploid like the other yellowfish. 

  • Orange River Mudfish (Labeo capensis) - Orange River Mudfish is a species of fish in genus Labeo. It inhabits the Orange River system of southern Africa. Occurs in a variety of habitats: quiet well vegetated backwaters, standing open waters, flowing open waters, sandy-rocky stretches and rocky rapids. Their preferred habitat is flowing rocky channels. Bottom feeder which grazes algae and organic detritus. Breeds in summer, gathering in large numbers in shallow rocky rapids where eggs are laid. Larvae hatch after 3 or 4 days. May live up to 8 or 9 years

  • Moggel (Labeo umbratus) is a freshwater African fish in genus Labeo. It occurs within the drainage basin of the Orange River. The species has been recorded in the [Vaal], Olifants River in Mpumalanga and Limpopo, introduced there by anglers. This species is similar to L. capensis in colour and in its pronounced anterior barbels. It can withstand temperatures below 10 °C and is mainly found in stagnant water, muddy dams and in large impoundments. Juveniles of the species prey on invertebrates while adults subsist on detritus and mud. It is an important food source and is considered a useful species in wastewater aquaculture when combined with other aquatic organisms.


Vanderkloof - 

A fisherman's paradise.

We support responsible fishing - Catch and Release

Drawing shows the general appearance and shape of a ROCK CATFISH

Rock Catfish

A drawing from Skelton 2001 that shows the general appearance

and shape of a typical SMALLMOUTH YELLOWFISH

Drawing from Skelton 2001, that shows the general appearance and

shape of a typical LARGEMOUTH YELLOWFISH

Large mouth Yellow Fish
Largemouth Yellow Fish

Drawing shows the general appearance and shape of a MUDFISH


Drawing shows the general appearance and shape of a MOGGELFISH

Small mouth Yellow Fish
Small mouth Yellow Fish
Moggel Fish
Moggel Fish


Rolfontein Nature Reserve has been in existence for more than 40 years. The over 8000 ha reserve surrounds the town of Vanderkloof from which the main gate can be entered. 

The Nature reserve is also surrounded by the Vanderkloof Dam on 3 sides. Lookout points give spectacular views. There are lovely picnic spots where braaing can be done and legs stretched.

The Rolfontein Nature Reserve houses more than 10 different species of antelope, 142 Avifauna and a rich variety of flora.

Notwithstanding some incredible views, the reserve is also a good place for sighting white rhinoblack wildebeest, gemsbok, Burchell’s zebra, springbok and the brown hyena all put in an appearance if you are patient enough, whilst the bat-eared fox, baboon, aardvark and aardwolf are also present at Rolfontein.

The bird population is very big with over 100 species noted. The scenery is very varied - from kloofs to plains, plenty of happy sunshine, starry nights and surrounded by lots of water.

There is a 4 kilometre hike known as the Pied Barbet trail but you can hike anywhere in the reserve, provided you make arrangements to do so before hand.



Northern Cape Province is a major exporter of table grapes, fruit and meat, and is responsible for much of South Africa’s sheep and goat farming.


Most crop farming takes place along the fertile banks of the Orange River or in the intensely irrigated Vaalharts region in the north-east.

The irrigation scheme comprises more than 800km of canals and covers more than 32 000 hectares where crops such as peanuts, cotton, wheat and fruit are cultivated. 

The two biggest dams located on the border of the Northern Cape, the Gariep and Vanderkloof dams, also provide water to schemes that sustain agricultural projects as far away as in the southern Eastern Cape.

Norvalspont Bridge across the Orange River


In common with other areas in the Great Karoo before the introduction of the wind pump, the Eastern Upper Karoo could only support life forms that could tolerate extreme drought conditions such as the Springbok, Oryx and tortoise.

The introduction of the wind pump into the Karoo in 1883 precipitated the widespread introduction of sheep and today more than 30-million sheep are farmed in South Africa, most of which are to be found in the Karoo.


Prior to this date it was only possible to farm with livestock around permanent water points such as rivers and springs ensuring that the Karoo was left largely untouched, inhabited only by the wild creatures that did not require a daily drink.


Today the Eastern Upper Karoo is dotted with a variety of small towns and villages, most of which were established as parishes of the Dutch Reformed Church servicing the spiritual needs of the early Trekboers, or nomadic farmers. Many of these settlements flourished in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century given the need to service the needs of local farming communities, however with the improvement of road and railway communications the smaller villages have experienced a reversal in fortune as local residents and visitors gravitated towards the larger towns.


Important road and rail links from Gauteng to Cape Town dissect the region. The main railway line to Cape Town from Kimberley intersects the railway linking Port Elizabeth and Upington and beyond to Namibia at one of South Africa’s largest railway junctions at De Aar. Isolated railway sidings many with unusual names such as Dwaal (Get Lost), Poupan, Taaibos (Tough Bush) and Merriman, named after John X Merriman, a former Prime Minister of the old Cape Colony, slumber in the vastness of the Bo Karoo.

This is an area well known to those who travel the N1 highway linking Johannesburg and Cape Town. The highway links 

Colesberg in the north-east with Hanover and Richmond before gradually descending from the high escarpment past Three Sisters towards Beaufort West. Aternatively the N9 highway links Colesberg with Graaff-Reinet and beyond to Oudtshoorn in the Klein Karoo through the railway junction at Noupoort and 


All of these towns and villages are well worth a visit and simply by turning off the highway and taking some time to explore the traveller takes a step into another time and place and is able to appreciate the special atmosphere of a Karoo village.


Completely off the beaten track small villages such as Vanderkloof, Philipstown and Petrusville can be explored at a leisurely pace. Orania on the banks of the Orange River is a unique destination important to Afrikaners seeking the ideal of a separate lifestyle.


“Karretjiesmense” between Richmond and Murraysburg

The best way to experience the true ambience of this remote, austere, yet beautiful part of the Great Karoo is by spending time travelling the quiet country roads.

Stop anywhere in the vast open spaces between the isolated villages and listen to the quiet sounds and the overwhelming silence of the Karoo. As one’s ears grow accustomed to the silence you will hear the murmur of the wind through the leaves of willow trees or poplars gathered along the Orange River's edge, or the croak of the korhaan, or the soft bleating of the sheep as they browse the Karoo bushes and grasses.


Renosterberg Local Municipality is part of Pixley Ka Seme District Municipality.

MDB code: NC075

Description: The Renosterberg Local Municipality is a Category B municipality located in the Pixley Ka Seme District of the Northern Cape, known as the Karoo region. It is the smallest of eight municipalities in the district, making up only 5% of its geographical area.


Petrusville is a typical upper Karoo semi-desert suburb with flat hilltops. The region is also rich with history and culture. The Dutch Reformed Church Museum exhibits century-old clothing and a horse-drawn hooded cart. The Pillar Fountain was erected to honour King Edward VII. Most of the original town dwellings are simple structures with a prominent, covered veranda as protection against the sun. The more elaborate homes have traces of Victorian style, but still maintain a Karoo-like integrity.


In the Karoo Battlefields, the bitter conflict brought about by the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) has left its mark in world history. The best-marked and most accessible sights form part of the N12 Battlefields Route, which links the Karoo to the Diamond Fields. National Monuments include the old prison museum, the magistrate's offices, the Reformed Church, and Teichhouse. Vanderkloof Dam attracts tourists for angling and water-related sports.


It is regarded as one of the most beautiful regions in the province. It enjoys warm winter days, cool evening temperatures and rainfall during the winter season. The summers are hot to very hot and dry.

Area: 5 529km²

Cities/Towns: Petrusville, Philipstown, Van der Kloof



Vast expanses of space and silence and blazing summer sunshine. Across the arid landscape, the Orange River flows, at places in a sluggish tide, at others in a powerful explosion of sound and fury.

Were it not for the river, much of the region may well have remained bleak and populated only by nomadic bands of Bushmen. Instead, prosperous towns and villages have risen from its banks, and large stretches of once-barren land have been transformed into fields of cotton, Lucerne, dates and grapes.

The Northern Cape lies to the south of the mighty Orange River and comprises mostly desert and semi-desert. The landscape is characterised by vast arid plains with outcroppings of haphazard rock piles. The cold Atlantic Ocean forms the western boundary.

Southward, the immense, spacious plain of the Great Karoo, covered with grass and acacia trees, forms the backdrop for far-flung towns and villages, old battlefields and epic adventures.

This is not a soft, gentle landscape. The wide open spaces and distant horizons are characterised by crisp dry air, clear skies, flamboyant sunsets, brilliant starry nights, and enormous sheep farms.

To serve the needs of the farmers, typical South African towns, each dominated by an imposing Dutch Reformed Church, are inhabited by genuine, hospitable people with wisdom that comes from respecting Nature's rules.

The Northern Cape’s weather is typical of desert and semi desert areas. This is a large dry region of fluctuating temperatures and varying topographies.

The annual rainfall is sparse, around 50 to 400mm per annum.

In January, afternoon temperatures usually range from 34 to 40º C.

In 1939 an all time high of 47.8º C was recorded at the Orange River. Summer temperatures often top the 40º C mark.

Winter days are warm. The onset of night bringing dew and frost to supplement the low rainfall of the region.


On the whole you can expect to enjoy hot summer days and chilly nights when visiting the Northern Cape

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