Burgersdorp, situated in the northern foothills of the Stormberg Mountain Range, was established in 1846 as a new parish of the Dutch Reformed Church of Graaff-Reinet. The parishioners called their new village Burgersdorp (“Citizens’ Village”) and administered their town according to their own solidly, conservative views based on biblical doctrine. It was therefore a logical next step for the town to become the site of the country’s first breakaway Reformed Theological Seminary, an early forerunner of the University of Potchefstroom. This institution played a major role in the struggle for the recognition of Afrikaans as an official language in South Africa. The Seminary has since been declared a national monument.
Adventure And Sport
Kroonvlei: Situated 40 km from Burgersdorp, this private mountain resort is deeply ensconced in the beautiful Stormberg Mountains. Adventure trails, tennis courts, chalets and indoor barbecuing facilities are some of its attractions.
Stormberg: Contact Stormberg regarding bird watching and hunting opportunities as well as comfortable accommodation.
Archaeology And Palaeontology
San rock art at Kapokkraal: There are interesting, well-preserved pictures at this site as well as evidence of some of the artist’s palettes; see the place where they mixed their colours. An added bonus is that plant fossils can also be seen in the area.
San rock art at Leliekloof Farm: Visitors can hike to several San rock art sites on this farm, situated between Burgersdorp and Jamestown. Other sites in the vicinity feature ancient plant fossils.
Fauna And Flora
Die Berg Nature and Game Reserve: The main attractions of this 500-ha reserve situated on the outskirts of the town, are its attractive surroundings against the backdrop of the Dorpsberg Mountain and the many antelopes, zebras and other small mammals that are found here.
History And Architecture
Afrikaans Language Monument: The monument commemorates creation of the Afrikaans language. The British stole the original monument during the Anglo-Boer War. After it was recovered it was placed in the town square. A replica made after the theft now stands in the library.
Burgerdorp’s main church: Take time to view this magnificent-dressed sandstone building with its impressive steeple and clock tower, beautiful stained-glass rose windows and large silver dome and cupola.
Historic sites trail: Follow this 2-km walking trail through the town that leads to all the town’s many cultural and historical treasures. It is well worth the effort.
Museum Complex and Parsonage: In 1898, a new parsonage, in an adapted Victorian style, was built for Professor J Lion Cachet. Today, it is the main building of the Museum Complex and houses impressive collections of weapons and period clothing, a pioneer’s kitchen, language room, lecture room and the Postma/Cachet Chamber. The Coetzee House was built in 1847 and houses the technological room, Xhosa and Voortrekker Room as well as a library with a rare collection of Africana and Bibles. De Bruin House, built in 1847, a typical Karoo design with cow-dung floors and reed ceilings, is also part of the complex. Period farm implements, wagons and carts are exhibited under the lean-tos.
Old Gaol: Built in 1861, the old gaol is best remembered as the place where Piet Klopper, one of the first Boer “rebels” in the Cape Colony, was executed.
Reformed Theological Seminary: On 11 November 1869, the outside building of Prof Dirk Postma’s parsonage was opened as the Reformed Theological Seminary. Prof Postma was the first lecturer and Prof J Lion Cachet the second. The building was used as seminary until the end of 1904 when the seminary was transferred to Potchefstroom. The present Potchefstroom University developed from this institution.
Sentinel: Battle of Stormberg: A large number of Boers lost their lives at the Battle of Stormberg during the Anglo-Boer War. This British blockhouse is another reminder of the hardships endured during this tragic war.
Victoria Jubilee Fountain: The fountain is one of only five similar fountains in the world, erected to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.