The History of Vogelvlei

Voëlvlei Dam was once no more than a shallow natural lake, known for its teeming waterfowl. In 1886 the road engineer Thomas Bain proposed that a weir be constructed in the Little Berg River, which flows through Nuwekloof from the Tulbach Valley and that the water be directed to Voëlvlei Dam. After World War II a dam wall was constructed to increase its holding capacity. The result was a beautiful mere of about 8km long and 2km wide.

Vogelvlei Yacht Club was founded in 1961. It moved from its original location to the current site when in 1969, Cape Town’s increasing water demand resulted in the dam wall being raised and more water being abstracted from the Klein Berg River(max. 1.7 million cubic metres per day). The supply to Cape Town was increased in 1971 to 1.8 million cubic metres per day by constructing an additional canal to divert water from the Vier-en-Twintig and Leeu rivers (max. 2.9 million cubic metres per day.

The dam supplies water to Hermon, Riebeeck-Kasteel, Riebeeck-West, Darling, Yzerfontein. Mooreesburg and Koringberg. Part of Cape Town’s water needs also come from this source.

To enable the trout in the Little Berg River to move upstream, a “fish ladder” – the first constructed in South Africa – was built into the weir from which Voëlvlei Dam is fed.

For more photos of yesteryear, visit the “Down memory lane” collection in our Galleries.