The possibility of building a dam where the Crocodile River cuts through the Magaliesberg had already been considered since 1902. For nine hundred years the Iron Age people utilized the clay, iron ore and flora in this area. After 1836 a number of fords and bridges were constructed and the rivers became the focal point. In 1898 Hendrik Schoeman (later general) built the first “grand scale” dam of stone and cement and dammed the entire Crocodile River in the Witwaterspoort. This ambitious scheme, which he called the Sophiasdam, after his wife, cost him £10 000. In those years it was the biggest dam in the southern hemisphere. Unfortunately the engineer made a mistake in his calculations and the dam was washed away in a flood. His son, Johan Schoeman, revived the idea in 1902 by rebuilding the furrows fed by a smaller weir higher up in the river.
The first concrete was poured into the foundations of the dam wall by 29 July 1921. The floods of the 1922/23 season were impounded and the wall was completed in April 1923. The road over the wall, now the new main road between Pretoria and Rustenburg, was opened to the public in September 1923.
On the banks of the Crocodile River where it enters the Hartbeespoort Dam, you will find Estate d’Afrique, one of the most sought after developments in Hartbeespoort.