Why we hate the Vaal and Why we shouldn’t

If you don’t set your expectations high you’ll almost never get your hopes up. That’s something very true in my life and I’d find it hard to believe someone who doesn’t agree. I proved myself right on this once again when, at the age of 24, I went to the Vaal Dam for the first time.

 I am a Vaalie. I was given that name by default after having been born and raised in Gauteng. Anyone born within a couple hundred Kilometer radius of the Vaal goes by the same name. Vaalies have a bad reputation with South Africans who live on the coast because of their migration every summer to the sea where they clog up the beaches and ruin every aspect of life for the locals.  So naturally I had medium to low expectations for my first visit.

There's a reason people have certain ideas about Vaalies. The closer you get to the Vaal, the more of this you see.

There’s a reason people have certain expectations of Vaalies. The closer you get to the Vaal, the more of this you see.

 Reasons to like the vaal:

  •  Its bigger than Luxemburg
  • Its one of Gauteng’s major sources of drinking water
  •  It’s a tranquil getaway only 45 minutes from most people’s front doors in Johannesburg.
  •  It’s history- the 5km island was once used as a secret meeting place by the apartheid government. But now it’s used to
  •  host an annual Round the Island Race which won the Guinness World Record for the largest inland yacht race
  •  It’s bordered by three provinces. The Free State has the biggest coast line and Gauteng and the North West have the most activity.
  • Its a playground for watersports and apparently has more keelboats on it than at all of our coastal harbours.

 What also helps is being treated to luxury accommodation in the form of a friend’s holiday home and getting to make use of their watersports toys. Spending time with 30 close friends enjoying Africa the way it should be enjoyed makes one think twice about leaving it all behind again.



Dont knock it till you’ve tried it. Keep your expectations low and let the world surprise you. So maybe i’m ‘leaving this all behind’ but since theres so much to see I feel a little less sad about it and a lot more excited about whats next.

“If you see a fork in the road, pick it up.” Yogi Berra

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3 thoughts on “Why we hate the Vaal and Why we shouldn’t

  1. James says:

    I’ve never been there myself. To the river yes but the dam – never.

  2. Jackie says:

    I remember great times on someones boat when I was a whole lot younger. It was the first time I’d ever eaten taramosalata – a greek cavier spread. mmmmm

    good memories 🙂

  3. Dawn says:

    What an awesome trip with many a funny moments

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