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Cradle Moon


Franz Richter

Dam Wall


The dam wall stands 20m high, is 300m wide, and just short of 10m thick at the base. All the stones used during the construction were found on site, now visible as coves on the sides of the lake. 50 000 bags of cement were used to keep each hand packed stone in place.
These numbers make the wall the largest stone dam on the African continent!

Building with stone is extremely labour intensive, and only two machines were roped in to aid with the construction.

One was a concrete mixer and the other was a Heath Robinson machine that was used to sift sand. Because there was no actual time frame, the building went ahead at its own pace and, despite a number of detractors, they were never dissuaded from completing their task.

When the wall was completed in 2006, question on everyone's lips were "How long will the lake take to fill?"

Thanks to a week of torrential rain in 2006, the lake filled in only four days. And the water level has hardly dropped since then.

On the far side of the lake is an abandoned tennis court that used to belong to a double-storey house that was submerged when the dam filled.

The dam comprises five crests with a walkway along one of these that allows visitors to appreciate the size and magnitude of the dam wall, as well as the beauty of the lake. The three middle crests are at different levels, with the middle one being the lowest and constantly overflowing. The one just to the left only overflows during very heavy rainfall.

Standing in the shadow of the wall and allowing the spray to cool your face on a hot summer's day is one of the special moments when visiting the dam.

Built on the Crocodile River, it is a testament to his foresight and determination to provide the property with a natural "water feature" that would attract guests as well as various species of water birds.

And since then it has attracted its fair share of both.

Aside from the resident fish eagle pair (who have now successfully hatched three chicks) there are many other water-bird species that live in and around the lake. The dead tree in the centre of the lake becomes a living Christmas tree in the evenings as the sacred ibis, cattle egrets and other water-bird species make it their night-time roost.

Being in the Cradle Moon Conservancy, the lake is frequently used by paddlers, canoeists, fly fisherman and open-water swimmers as it is a clean and safe body of water. Cradle Moon Lake has played host to multiple swimming events including the Rockman Ultra Triathlon and the Midmar Mile qualification rounds.

Cradle Moon Dam Wall
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