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SPRINGBOK ROUTE

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DID YOU KNOW?

The Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 may seem remote compared to the anti-apartheid struggle, but the memory of it is very much alive. Every town and cultural group in the Free State was affected by the war in some way, and you’ll find war memorials and museums across the province.


The Anglo-Boer War originated from rivalry between the expanding British Empire and the young South African Republic in the Transvaal (which was joined in combat by the Republic of the Orange Free State). In the biggest war ever waged on South African territory, some 7,792 British and 6,000 Boer soldiers were killed. In the British concentration camps, a further 26,370 Boer women and children died, along with approximately 20,000 black Africans.

SPRINGBOK ROUTE


The Springbok Route, which connects the Free State with the Northern Cape, winds through the scenic farmlands and nature reserves of the Xhariep District.  A wealth of cultural and historical attractions en route include battle sites, San rock engravings, game farms and diamond mines.


The towns along the Springbok route are:

  • Jakobsdal
  • Koffiefontein
  • Jagersfontein
  • Bethulie
  • Gariep Dam
  • Philippolis

 

DIAMONDS AND WINE AT JAKOBSDAL


The town of Jakobsdal is part of the Diamond and Wine Route which extends down to the diamond mine hole at Jagersfontein.

  • Diamonds were discovered in the area in 1867.
  • Grapes have been grown in the area since 1972. Be sure to visit the Landzicht and Wilreza wine cellars in Jakobsdal.
  • The town played a major role in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. The Magersfontein Battlefields and Museum are 20km out of town.

 

COLOURFUL KOFFIEFONTEIN


Transport riders used to outspan (unharness) their horses here in the 19th century, and the story goes that their taste for coffee gave the town its name – and its distinctive coffee pot fountain. Other places of interest include:

  • An Open Air Museum dedicated to the prisoners of war who were held in the area during World War II.
  • San rock art.
  • The Diamond Game Farm.
  • A bird park and the 9-hole Koffiefontein Golf Club.
  • The grave of South African author Etienne le Roux.
  • The Burger Monument, the Great Trek Monument and the famous Paardeberg Battlefield near Fauresmith, en route to Jagersfontein.

 

JAGERSFONTEIN’S BIG ROCKS


The humble town of Jagersfontien produced two of the biggest diamonds ever discovered. The open-pit Jagersfontein diamond mine was dug by hand between 1870 and 1909 and measures 760m from one side to the other (and is nearly as deep). With a top area of 19.65 hectares, it is 2.65 hectares bigger than the Big Hole in Kimberley! Other historic sites include:

  • The Jagersfontein Graveyard where many Anglo-Boer war heroes were buried.
  • Original water pumps which still stand in the town’s streets.
  • The Moth Museum which features memorabilia from the Anglo-Boer War, the Namibian Border War and both world wars.
  • Several Anglo-Boer War blockhouses en route towards Bethulie, near Springfontein.

 

A BIT OF EVERYTHING AT BETHULIE

 

  • The 1.2km-long DH Steyn Bridge which connects the Free State to the Cape.
  • Tussen-die-Riviere Reserve.
  • Klaversfontein Angora Rabbit Farm.
  • The 185-year-old Pellissier House Museum and other historical monuments.

 

GARIEP DAM, THE FREE STATE’S YOUNGEST ATTRACTION


Only registered as a municipality in 1994, the town of Gariep Dam was voted the Volksblad Tourism Town of the Year for 2010. What makes it so special?

  • Site of the first hydro-electric power station built by Eskom.
  • 13km of passages and halls within the Gariep Dam wall.
  • Fishing and water sport on the dam.
  • The annual Gariep Dam Water Sport Festival every February.
  • The Free State’s largest nature reserve – Gariep Dam Nature Reserve.

 

TIGERS IN THE FREE STATE


Take a trip up past Philippolis to visit the tigers at Tiger Canyons on the Van Der Kloof Lake in the Karoo. The Laurens van der Post Memorial Centre, the Emily Hobhouse Memorial and the Old Jail are other attractions worth seeing.


RESERVES AND RESORTS


Tussen Die Riviere Nature Reserve and Resort – 15km from Bethulie.
Tel: 051 763 1000/1/2
Gariep Dam Nature Reserve and Resort – Gariep Dam and Bethulie.
Tel: 051 754 0048
Caledon Nature Reserve – Near Smithfield. Camping only.
Tel: 051 583 2000/1/2
Kalkfontein Nature Reserve – Between Koffiefontein and Jagersfontein. Camping only.
Tel: 051 723 1028/7

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

Ambulance:
10177
Fire Brigade:
10111
Police:
10111
Traffic:
051 713 0025

Tourism Contact: Ms Kelebogile Molatedi – 051 713 9300

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