|Sterkfonteindam Nature Reserve||
Situated on the R74 on the Oliviershoek Pass from KZN and Harrismith. From Bloemfontein and Gauteng (via N1) it can be via the N5 or the N3.
It is the third largest dam in South Africa providing a perfect playground for sailing and other watersports. The surrounding landscape is scenically stunning – characterized by rugged mountains, lush ravines and rolling grasslands.
In this beautiful setting is the Sterkfontein Nature Reserve covering 18 000 hectares. Perfect for long walks, hiking (there is a two-day hiking trail) and biking, it also offers excellent game viewing and bird watching. You can tick off oribi, reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, grey rhebuck, the bald ibis, the blue and whitebellied korhaan, the buffstreaked chat, the ground woodpecker and the sentinel. Gaze up to the sky and you could spot bearded and Cape vultures as well as Verreaux’s (black) and martial eagles soaring. Secretary birds can also be spotted in treetops or stalking in the grasslands
|Swinburne||The second oldest bridge in the Free State, and now a national monument, spans the Wilge River. At the official opening in 1884 it was claimed that, as it was the furthest of its kind|
|Petrified Tree – Debora Retief Garden||A 250-million-year-old, 33 m fossilized tree lies in this garden next to the town hall.|
|Kekenburg battle sites||The Voortrekkers camped in the area, whilst their leader, Piet Retief, negotiated with the Zulu leader Dingane. After receiving reports of what the Voortrekkers interpreted as successful negotiations Retief’s daughter wrote his name, and the date, which was also his birthday, on a rock where they held a church service. This is a national monument|
|Little Church||Can accommodate only 8 people and it is situated at the border between KZN, FS and the main N3. Llandaff Oratory (national monument), believed to be the smallest church in the world, seating eight people. It was built in honour of Llandaff Matthew who tragically lost his life in an act of bravery in a coal mining disaster|
Sekonyela: Chief of Batlokwa
Sekonyela was born in 1804 in Harrismith next to the Wilge River. He was born in the royal family and later became the Chief of the Batlokwa people. His father was Mantatisi, who was expelled by King Shaka Zulu from the area he had conquered. In 1821 his father attacked a small Hlubi tribe and killed their headman and retaliation followed by the Amahlubi from Natal. The Batlokwa people fled taking along small tribes to Barolong in Kuruman, where they were stopped by the Griquas under Waterboer in 1823. In the early 1830s Sekonyela became the Chief of Batlokwa people and settled along the Caledon River.
Moshoeshoe and Batlokwa. In 1853 Sekonyela’s eldest son, Makitikiti was slain and he himself escaped with sixty men to Winburg. Sir George Clerk allowed him to live in the Wittebergen Reserve, in the Herschel district, where he died on 20 July 1856.