Regular contributor Des Featherstone and her partner have been camping at Theewaterskloof Dam for the past 20 year, and have never seen it so empty.
The terrible drought in the Western Cape has left Theewaterskloof Dam looking like a desert wilderness. The dry, cracking mud and dwindling pools of water are shocking to see. But in the midst of this devastation is a wonderful, unique opportunity for 4x4 drivers.
The receding waters have exposed a landscape last seen before it was opened in 1980. The old farms, with vineyards still in neat rows and irrigation pipes exposed, are very interesting to see. You can drive the old farm roads and explore the strange landscape. Some areas are hard gravel, but watch out for the deep soft mud!
One sight I found particularly interesting is an old tar road that had emerged, going through the dam. Parts of the road are still in pretty good condition and a bridge forms part of it. Interestingly, the stream that remains in the dam still flows under the bridge!
I would have expected that after all these years of being submerged under many metres of water, its course would have been lost, but it continues to fl ow along its original path, cutting through the deep mud to get to the main dam.
I found an old concrete irrigation channel, with the metal sluice gates still lying nearby, and a canoe that must have sunk and been lost long ago. I’m sure many ‘treasures‘ lie just below the mud and silt now drying in the sun.