Gauteng’s answer to the Table Mountain Cableway, the suspended gondolas at Hartbeespoort, just under 50 miles from Johanessburg’s downtown, lift riders to a scenic overlook with hiking, dining and even shopping at the top.
The historic and recently restored cable sports fourteen completely-enclosed green gondolas, each capable of ferrying six passengers ¾ of a mile up the slopes of Magaliesberg Mountain. Wrap-around windows show the impressive lake created by the nearby Hartebeespoort Dam, the surrounding mountains and, on a clear day, all the way to Pretoria. Sharing the airspace are black eagles, endangered Cape vultures and more than 300 other species of birds.
At the top, the short Dassie loop, named for the fluffy rodents found amid the rocks, includes signage at lookouts of interest including the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg, 34 miles to the south. The cableway also operates a pair of restaurants – a fancier sit down place at the bottom and a summit restaurant with Lookout Bar offering customizable baskets for scenic picnics – a jungle gym for kids at the top and an Adventure Centre selling paragliding and abseiling packages near the
base station. Upper and lower curio vendors, including the aptly named ‘Little Shop at the Top,’ sell cableway souvenirs, toys, apparel, jewelry as well as home décor and art.
The Hartbeespoort (Harties for short) Aerial Cableway base station is located off Route 511 just past the high school in Hartbeespoort. It’s open daily, weather permitting, from 8:30 a.m. with the first ride starting at 9 a.m.; closing times vary based on season. It’s worth it to wait for sunny weather – clouds and fog can obscure the full experience. Return tickets cost R 195 for adults and R 115 for kids ages 4 to 14. Many visitors combine a trip to the top with other Hartbeespoort attractions such as the Elephant Sanctuary, the Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary and the Vulture Rehabilitation Centre.