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Deneysville is located in South Africa
 Deneysville shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 26°53′42″S 28°5′54″E / 26.89500°S 28.09833°E / -26.89500; 28.09833Coordinates: 26°53′42″S 28°5′54″E / 26.89500°S 28.09833°E / -26.89500; 28.09833
Country South Africa
Province Free State
District Fezile Dabi
Municipality Metsimaholo
Established 1939
 • Total 45.9 km2 (17.7 sq mi)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Total 19,479
 • Density 420/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[1]
 • Black African 93.5%
 • Coloured 0.5%
 • Indian/Asian 0.1%
 • White 5.5%
 • Other 0.3%
First languages (2011)[1]
 • Sotho 76.4%
 • Zulu 6.8%
 • Afrikaans 5.3%
 • Xhosa 4.6%
 • Other 6.8%
Postal code (street) 1932
PO box 1932
Area code (016) 371

Deneysville is a small town on the banks of the Vaal Dam in the Free State province of South Africa.


Deneysville was established in 1936 and named after Deneys Reitz,[2] writer of Commando: A Boer Journal Of The Boer War and son of former Orange Free State president Francis William Reitz. The lake formed by the Vaal Dam was originally planned to be named Lake Deneys but was never formally adopted.[citation needed] The town "Deneysville" however, established on the shores of the dam was named after him. The stone cottage on the waterfront which was originally built as a hunting lodge by the Reitz family, is now St. Peter's Church, and has become a popular wedding venue. The original village management board became a municipality and today falls under the large area council of Metsimaholo. The town was slow in developing until the turn of the century when it was rediscovered and is today a fast developing recreational center with many new holiday homes adding to permanent working and retired population

In early stone-age times, the San had settled along the shore of the Vaal River, where Deneysville is established today. They were followed by the Khoikhoi. The ruins of their stone dwellings can be seen in the area today opposite the Municipal buildings. There is an interesting exhibition of artifacts in the towns library which is situated behind the Municipal offices.

In June 1937, Canopus the first S.23 Empire Class flying boat operated by Imperial Airlines landed on Vaaldam carrying 3,500 lbs. of mail. The S.23s were also known as "C-Class" flying boats, because each was given a name beginning with the letter "C", Canopus and Centurian, to name a few that flew this route.

The S.23 measured 88 feet in length, 31 feet 9.75 inches high, and had a wingspan of 114 feet, it weighed 40,500 pounds fully loaded and fuelled. It was powered by four Bristol Pegasus XC nine-cylinder radial engines each rated at 920 horsepower, which in turn provided a cruising speed of 164 mph. It had a service ceiling of 20,000 feet and its range was 760 miles. It carried a crew of 5 accommodating 24 passengers.

With the lack of landing facilities across Africa, British Imperial Airways used the S.23 Empire Class flying boat built by Short Brothers to fly passengers and mail to South Africa using waterways to land and refuel. They remained in service until 1947. The wartime Sunderland was developed from this plane. Later a further development the Solent was used on the South African route until 1950 when they were replaced with land planes.

They used to take off from Southampton flying to Augusta in Italy, on to Cairo, then Khartoum, Port Bell, Victoria Falls and Vaaldam. During flights, which were at a low enough altitude, for passengers to get a good view of the Nile and the wild African landscape, the purser would lay out a cold buffet on a bench. Dinner would be "ashore" in a good hotel while the great silver craft spent the night riding at anchor under the African moon. Johannesburg-bound passengers would disembark at Deneysville, near the Vaaldam wall where there was a hotel (now demolished).

British Imperial staged its flights through a hub at Alexandria in Egypt, with the S.23's known as Clio and Calypso flying the mail to and from Southampton. An aircraft named Centurion served South Africa, while Calypso continued east to India and beyond. Meanwhile, the longer-range Caledonia was used to open a service to New York by way of Newfoundland. In 1938, the Cambria was experimentally refueled in flight as a means of extending its range.

The Sunderland was then developed from the successful Empire class for the Royal Air Force by Short Brothers for wartime service. Flights continued during World War II and many of the Empire boats remained in service until 1947. British Overseas Airways (BOAC) continued with the flying boat service to South Africa.

The Sandringham was a post war development from this plane as was the Short S.45 Solent Solent which was placed into service on the Springbok run to Vaaldam.

On March 10, 1948 Solent G-AHIV ‘Salcombe’ arrived at Vaaldam on the proving flight from Southampton and was followed by a special flight for the press on May 1, flown by G-AHIN ‘Southampton’ piloted by Capt. E ‘Teddy’ Rotheram. He was one of BOAC‘s more experienced captains having joined Imperial Airways in 1935 and given his command in 1938.

The first commercial service was introduced on May 4, 1948 flown by G-AHIT ‘Severn’. The route was Southampton - Augusta - Cairo - Luxor - Khartoum - Port Bell - Victoria Falls - Vaaldam in 4 1/2 days.

On November 17, 1950, the Handley Page Hermes 4 was introduced with G-ALDR Herodotus making the first service to Palmietfontein. The following year NOTAM 53 of 1951 announced the cancellation of the aerodrome license for Vaal Dam. It was the end of the Flying boat era.

Vaal Dam[edit]

Deneysville,situated on the Free State side of the Vaal River, is the largest town on the Vaal Dam Four yacht clubs that hold regular sailing races at weekends. Two of the most known races are Keel Boat Week held at Deneysville Aquatic Club and Round The Island Yacht Race which is held at Lake Deneys Yacht Club.

National Sea Rescue Institute Station 22 is located at Manten Marina in Deneysville.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Sum of the Main Places Deneysville and Refengkgotso from Census 2011.
  2. ^ Raper, R.E. Dictionary of Southern African Place Names. Human Science Research Council of South Africa. 
  3. ^ "Vaal Dam (Station 22)". National Sea Rescue Institute. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 

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