If you need a break from the stresses of life in Gauteng, but don't want to drive many hours to a destination at the coast or elsewhere, here is an affordable alternative.
This is similar to going into another world, but only approximately one hour's drive away from the Big City of Johannesburg (depending on the traffic).
Come relax at the Vaal Dam for the weekend, or even a few days during the week, at Laura's Place. This small guest house has spacious, comfortable rooms. There is a balcony with a view to die for. There are also facilities for camping. All of this can be found next to the waterside of the Vaal Dam. The Dam is huge, scenic, and gives one a real holiday feeling.
Take in the tranquil and beautiful scenery, fish, or enjoy one or all of many other activities.
Paraglider pilots can bring their equipment to enjoy the aerial splendour, even paramotors and paratrikes are welcome. Go hiking on one of the trails in the area. Or bring your bicycle to explore, or your boat to have fun on the water. There are many other activities available in the area to keep you and the family occupied, as well as restaurants and other eateries to fill empty stomachs. What about a romantic braai next to the water?
Daily enchantment - Tranquility personified. Photo: Laura Nelson
Winters have beautiful, balmy days. Even if cold in the mornings, by midday the temperature is generally higher than in Johannesburg. Spring brings flowers, budding trees, with birds and rabbits multiplying! Summer is bringing rains, good sailing and flying weather, green grass everywhere. Summer storms are spectacular fireworks-like scenes, sunsets are breathtakingly beautiful all year round. The view over the Dam is soul-refreshing.
Watching the water, the birds, rabbits, and the tranquil scenery beats anything the city can offer. The peace is all invading.
To top it all, the paragliding site is just around the corner at Stilbaai Yacht Club.
Powered paragliders are also welcome, even trikes. Footlaunch PPGs can take off from Laura's Place. The runway for powered trikes is less than 1km down the road - ideal for those who are uncertain of taking off from Laura's Place, which can be demanding.
Being at the Vaal Dam, means that there is a host of other activities that can be done. Such as birdwatching, cycling, hiking, sailing and other watersports, etc, etc. The hot spots on the Vaal River are also all within acceptable distance.
Laura's Place has become popular with many fishermen. The Dam level rises when the rains start, but interestingly, it seems as if the fish is interested in the food in the submerged grass and even between the trees. Not being a fisherman, this remark is from observing those dedicated fishermen who come regularly in Summer. They seem very happy with their catch, most of the time. They also come for the site - clean and peaceful.
You don't have to be bored! But if you want a restful time to recharge those run-down batteries, you cannot do better than to come and relax at Laura's Place.
The scenery is fantastic, no matter how you keep yourself occupied.
To move to the Vaal Dam has been a wonderful experience - it was the best decision that I ever made!
NOTICE: Laura's Place is on private property. Access is on own risk only.
There are spacious, clean rooms for the guests at reasonable rates. In Winter the heaters take the chill out of the evening air, in Summer fans help to cool off when it is too hot.
Flower Power - The large garden boasts many different plants, which makes an attractive picture. Photo: Laura Nelson
A separate lounge with TV (SABC channels only) for the guests
Capped access to the internet
A balcony with a great view over the Dam
Space to walk, nooks to sit and read in the sun
Place to fly paragliders and powered paragliders
All combined with the beautiful scenery
What more can one want?
Outdoor Fun - Campers at Laura's Place (October 2010). Photo: Laura Nelson