The Oviston Nature Reserve lies is on the, Southern side of the Gariep Dam. The Reserve has an Area of 16 000 Hectares. This Dam, which is the largest Dam in South Africa, is situated in a gorge at the entrance to Ruigte Valley on the Orange River in quaternary catchment D35KE, upstream of Vanderkloof Dam (the second largest Dam in South Africa). It is a combined gravity and arch Dam built entirely of concrete. However, only the central part of the wall is arched because the Gorge at the Dam is too wide to allow a complete arch. The two concrete flank walls were needed to form artificial gravity abutments for the main arch. The Dam is a double curvature structure and the wall incorporates two outlet structures on the upstream side of the wall. There are three rubber sealed, stainless steel-faced radial gates on each side of the wall. These are used to discharge floodwaters into six concrete chutes, which lead the water away from the base of the Dam wall into the downstream flow of the River, which aids in decreasing the risk of erosion to the base of the Dam wall. The radial gates’ life expectancy greatly exceeds that of the Dam, estimated at three Centuries. There are two concrete flanks to aid in artificial gravity abutments for the main arch. The Dam has a full supply level of 1,258.7 m, with a dead storage level of 1,233.1 m and reservoir bottom at 1,202.9 m.

This Reserve is Home to a fair amount of 'grass plains' game in the form of: 'Ostriches; Springbuck; Oryx; Hartebeest; Blesbok; Mountain Reedbuck; Wildebeest; Burchell’s Zebra; Gemsbuck; Impala and Red Lechwe, (which is a type of Antelope). As well as some Predators like: African Wildcat; Cape Clawless Otter; Cape Hare; Cape Porcupine; Mongoose and many others.

Activities include Hiking, Cruises, Game Viewing, and Canoeing. The primary purpose of the Oviston Nature Reserve is the Conservation of the Communities broadly representative, of the Nama Karoo Ecotype. This conservation enables the natural processes, which are responsible for the resilience of the Karoo.

Oviston Nature Reserve offers three lodgings, namely: 'Komweer' Lodge which is a farmhouse sleeping 12 people and in Afrikaans means; 'Come Again'; Apies Bay Cabin and 'I'hodi (explained in in Further Reading) Picnic and a Campsite.

Game Drives in Oviston Nature Reserve are amply rewarded by sights of large numbers of Springbuck, Ostriches, Gemsbuck, Zebras and Hartebeest. The location of Oviston Nature Reserve Oviston Nature Reserve is: in the North Eastern part of the Eastern Cape Province, along the Southern shoreline of the mighty Gariep Dam (formerly known as the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam, which is photographed in the Feature Picture! ). The Dam Wall is on the West and the Bethulie Railroad Bridge in the East. Oviston and Venterstad, are both situated 7km from the Reserve Entrance.

Lake Gariep, which spans the Borders of the Free State, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape Provinces; lies approximately two Hours South of Bloemfontein. The Dam is more than 100 km long and 15 km wide with a surface Area of about 360 km and a Storage Capacity of 5,673,8 Million Cubic Meters. The Dam Wall is: 914m long and 88m high.

The Town of Oviston is a small Town, overlooking Lake Gariep on the Eastern Cape side. It was originally Built to House the workers who Built the Dam, which was completed in 1971.

Visit the Oviston Nature Reserve in Spring (September to October) or Autumn (April to May), for the best blooms and most pleasant temperatures. It can be very hot in Summer (November to February) and very cold in Winter (May to August). You’re going to be near water and in the bush- (mosquitoes), so pack accordingly and (Always take something warm to wear after dark).

-30° 37' 12", 25° 38' 6"