SMALLEST CHURCH IN SA
The top of Van Reenen’s Pass, on the main road between KZN and Harrismith, you’ll find South Africa’s smallest church – the Llandaf Oratory. The tiny Roman Catholic church was built by the Maynard Matthews as a tribute to his son, Llandaff, who died in 1925 while rescuing 8 co-workers in a mining accident at the Burnside Colliery in Glencoe. Significantly, the little church can only accommodate 8 people. Now a National Monument, the church is open to the public during daylight hours.
Following the Free State’s southern border with Lesotho, the Eagle route runs from Ficksburg to Harrismith through some of the most picturesque landscape in the country. Activity highlights include cherry picking, seeing dinosaur fossils and rock paintings, arts & craft shopping, skiing in the winter slopes, horse riding and 4X4 trips.
The towns to explore on the Eagle route are:
• Visit a host of natural wonders, including The Stables (a huge rock shelter used by the Boers to stable horses during the 1858 Basotho War) and the
Cave Church (a hollow sandstone outcrop where Anglican missionaries worshipped, and where Africanist churches make pilgrimages).
• Modderpoort (Lekhalong la Mantsopa) and the grave of the legendary BaSotho prophetess Anna Mantsopa Makhetha.
FUN IN CLOCOLAN
• Fish at the 2 hectare Amohela Ho Spitskop dam and adjacent deep water quarry for rainbow trout, black bass and carp.
• Catch the unforgettable Vintage Tractor Fair each March.
• Take a peek at the prestigious Prynnsberg Heritage Home.
• Don’t miss a visit to Highlands Essential Oils, the Angora Rabbit Farm and the Ben Nevis Cherry Wine Farm.
FICKSBURG – CHERRY CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
You can’t visit Ficksburg without going to the Ionia Cherry Farm and tasting the famous Ionia Cherry Liqueur. The highlight of the year is the world-class Cherry Festival, which takes place each November. Other Ficksburg attractions are:
• The Gumtree – SA’s tallest sandstone building.
• General Fick’s monument.
• The White Mischief Cruise boat.
• Organic industries at Green Goose Organics and Ember Down.
• Meqheleng Township in Ficksburg, where many Basotho from Lesotho come to shop.
NATURAL BEAUTY IN FOURIESBURG
• Visit the mystical Motouleng Cave, a traditional ancestral worship site, and take a drink from the sacred spring.
• Experience indigenous bird life amidst the sandstone cliffs and caves of Meiringskloof Nature Reserve.
• See the Surrender Hill Battle Site (where 4,000 Boer soldiers surrendered during the Anglo-Boer War) and a monument to fallen British soldiers.
ART, CRAFT AND ADVENTURE IN CLARENS
Famous as an artists’ and crafters’ paradise, Clarens is also a dream-come-true for outdoor enthusiasts. Here are a few reasons why Clarens is called the “Jewel of the Free State”:
• 18 art galleries, and dozens of arts & crafts shops.
• The famous Clarens Brewery.
• Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
• The oldest dinosaur nesting site ever found.
• Sports activities galore, including white water rafting, abseiling, 4X4 or quad bike safaris and golfing.
BETHLEHEM’S BIG CATS
• At Bethlehem you’ll find Lions Rock, an extraordinary wildlife rehabilitation and breeding centre that has rescued more than 60 big cats from all over the world.
• Also visit the monuments at Sol Plaatje Dam and the Old Nazareth Mission Church.
SOTHO CULTURE IN PHUTHADITJHABA
• See Wetsi’s cave, where Chief Wetsi of the Makholokhoe tribe hid cattle stolen from the Boers
• Walk to the top of the 850m-high Tugela Falls on the Sentinel Hiking Trail.
• Visit the Basotho Cultural Village (Tel: 058 721 0300) and experience Sotho life dating back to the 16th century.
• Drive up to the Witsieshoek Mountain Resort and visit the legendary Vulture Restaurant.
• Visit the historic Deborah Retief Gardens and see a 250 million-year-old, 33m-high petrified tree.
• Relax at the beautiful Sterkfontein Dam Resort and Nature Reserve.
Surrounding the town of Memel is the Seekoeivlei Nature Reserve, a 30sq km wetland which has international RAMSAR status. At certain times of the year, thousands of water birds congregate here, making the area a true birding paradise.
RESERVES AND RESORTS