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SA Photos: Ama Zwing Zwing, Hartbeespoort Dam a Refreshing Site to See

A tourist trip to South Africa will never be complete without one taking up the challenge to confront his or her phobias head on!

Be it the fear of heights or water, some of the country’s best tourist sites are designed to help one conquer these fears while having fun at the same time.

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Buried at the heart of the Gauteng province are several tourist attractions designed to provide adrenaline fun and also kill phobias.

Ama Zwing Zwing Zip Line Tour and Hartbeespoort Dam are two of such fantastic sites.

Ama Zwing Zwing Zip Line Tour is situated at Amanzingwe Lodge, nestled in the Magaliesberg Mountain range and close to the scenic Hartbeespoort Dam, a mere 40-minutes drive from both Pretoria and Johannesburg.

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Constructed 10 years ago, the Ama Zwing Zwing Zip Line Tour is made up of seven slides and 10 platforms ranging from 2m - 14m in height.

One’s adventurous zip line challenge starts with 40m then to 160m, 190m, 180m, subsequently to the longest, 240 to 180m and the finally 170m.

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The Zip Line offers patrons a unique opportunity to view wildlife below while sliding through the air.

A 26-member delegation of Ghanaian and Nigerian tourism services providers as part of this year’s South African Tourism Specialist Hosting, in groups of eight on Wednesday, took turns to face their fears while also enjoying the exhilarating adventure the zip lines provided.

Even the scared became the brave, basking in the beautiful and fresh air nature had to offer.

The next stop for the delegation was the Hartbeespoort Dam where another phobia awaited them patiently.

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The dam, which was built in 1923, is engulfed by a long stretch of mountains – the second longest and largest mountains in the world. According to the tour guide, the mountains were formed 2.3 billion years ago.

The dam is 149.5m long and 59.5m wide. Several plush houses, resorts, hotels and recreational centres have perched at the edges of this historic dam.

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Let’s get a bit deeper into the history of this unique dam, shall we? In 1906, the South African government ordered a public inquiry into the feasibility of building an irrigation dam in the Hartbeespoort of the Magaliesberg.

The engineer of the Department of Irrigation that led the inquiry, submitted a favourable report to the government and the Hartebeestpoort Act 32 of 1914 was accepted by Parliament. As early as 1909, there were test holes drilled at the bottom of the river to determine whether the rock formation was suitable for building such a huge dam.

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The construction of the dam officially started in August 1916 but there were issues. Mother Nature caused delays due to flooding in 1914 and again in 1918 when huge amounts of construction wood washed down the river and were never recovered. During 1915, the wall of the Geldenhuysdam further up the river broke, and the flooding of the site also caused another delay.

The First World War and the complications brought on by the Rebellion of a group of Afrikaners, brought further delays to the building. As if that was not enough, the first company that was in charge of the construction was liquidated due to financial losses resulting from the floods and delays.

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In 1921, a second company took on the project and appointed an engineer to finish the work. In April 1923, after all the setbacks and political disturbance, the project was completed. In September of that same year, the road over the wall of the Dam and through the tunnel was opened to traffic.

Just like the story at the Ama Zwing Zwing Zip Line Tour, the Ghanaian-Nigerian delegation, in groups of eight, also took their turn to enjoy the high-speed boat cruise on the dam.

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The 20-minute ride on the dam is an experience every person will love to relive over and over again. As the boat makes it way on the water in “lightning fast” speeds, some water, escaping the fury of the speed splashes on you once in a while. Simply amazing!

The dam is the delegation’s next stop after visiting Cradle of Humankind and Cradle of Humankind Museum on Tuesday.

The Cradle of Humankind is made up of the Sterkfonein Caves, located in the Muldersdrift area close to the town of Krugersdorp, and the Cradle of Humankind Museum is at Maropeng.

The delegation is currently in Cape Town.

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