Over the years, yachtsmen, canoeists, fishermen and kiteboarders have become an increasingly common sight on the Vaal Dam and as such, many of the small towns that surround this massive body of water have grown to accommodate the large numbers of people who are attracted to the amenities the area offers. They are not the only ones to crave a little peace and quiet in an increasingly hectic world and artists, crafters and potters too are drawn by the peace and tranquillity.
In recent years the area has experienced a property boom and towns and villages surrounding the 1200km of shoreline of the Vaal Dam in particular have proved to be a popular choice for city dwellers who either wanted to move to a quieter location or wanted to own a second property relatively close to home.
Situated approximately 80km from Johannesburg and 150km from Pretoria, the area has also seen a vast number of guest lodges and B&B establishments mushroom to cater for the increased number of tourists. There is a strong boating fraternity in Deneysville and the year-round regattas draw additional visitors to the town. The ‘Round the Island Race’ is the highlight of the annual sailing calendar. This famed 21 nautical mile route currently holds the Guinness record as the largest inland yacht race in the world. The race attracts more than 1800 participants from South Africa and neighbouring countries and records reflect that in excess of 3300 visitors descend upon the town for the event in February each year.
The village was established in 1939 and was named after Deneys Reitz. Reitz was the son of Francis William Reitz who was at that time President of the Orange Free State. Deneys Reitz followed in his father’s political footsteps, going on to become the Minister of Agriculture of the Union of South Africa. The old cottage which was built by the Reitz family on the shores of the dam is now St Peter’s interdenominational church and has become a popular tourist attraction.
The Vaal Dam, which is the feeder for the greater Johannesburg region's fresh water supply, was originally named after the great man and was previously known as Lake Deneys.
In terms of property sales in the area, recent statistics released by Lightstone reveal that a total of 50 transfers have taken place in the last 12 months. The highest price paid for a property was R2.250-million and 98 percent of market stock fell into the freehold sector of the Likewise freehold sales dominated, with 49 sales falling into this sector. The average price paid for freehold property in the area was R337 000 and sectional title averages came in at R435 000.
With summer temperatures hovering around 28ºC and a chance of snowfall on the mountain tops in the winter months, soaking up the magnificent scenery surrounding the water’s edge in glorious sunshine or fighting off the cold round a roaring log fire makes a trip to Deneysville more than worthwhile for harassed city dwellers who need a break from their daily grind.