This little town, the second oldest in the Free State, lies some 130 km south-west of Bloemfontein. The town was named after the Reverend Phillip E Faure and Sir Harry Smith, one-time Governor of the Cape. Fauresmith and Bloemfontein were regarded as the two most important towns in the then republic of the Orange Free State. The town lost out to Bloemfontein as the capital city by two votes. One of the oddities of the town is the railway line that used to pass through the town – right down the centre of the main street. A disused steam locomotive stands on its tracks in the centre of the main street as a reminder of this phenomenon that occurs in only two other towns in the world – in Victoria (Australia) and Tennessee (USA). Today, Fauresmith is renowned for the International Horse Endurance Race hosted by the town every July.
Adventure And Sport
Hiking: The Randjiesveld Hiking Trail allows you to explore the town and its surroundings.
Horse riding: The town is renowned for its 205-km, three-day, International Horse Endurance Race hosted here annually. The race that ends on a Sunday conclude with a church service featuring beautiful choir music.
Hunting: Hunting is allowed on several privately owned farms in the district.
Water sport and angling: Angling and boating on the Kalkfontein Irrigation Dam are popular pastimes for both locals and visitors. The Kalkfontein Dam is one of the few angling areas where yellow fish are relatively abundant.
Archaeology And Palaeontology
Stone Age Implements: Many Stone Age implements and artefacts have been found in this area.
Art And Crafts
Local Artist: Mr Jan (“Jantha”) Botha is a renowned local artist who has won many prizes for his paintings. He is currently busy with a painting of Joan of Arc commissioned by a museum in Orleans, France. His studio can be visited but only by prior appointment.
Spinning and Weaving School: Visitors are welcome to visit the Spinwiel spinning and weaving school.
Tiisetsa Sewing Project: This project supplies several local people with sewing and knitting work. Articles for sale include a variety of jerseys and other knitwear, as well as shirts, aprons, curtains and other items.
Toys: Handmade steel and metal toys such as tractors, cars and carts that will delight any young (and not so young) boy’s heart is manufactured and sold in the town.
History And Architecture
Battle of Boomplaats: The Battle of Boomplaats between British and Boer troops took place at Jagersfontein, approximately 30 km from Fauresmith.
Fauresmith Jail: The jail in Westend Street, a declared National monument, was erected in 1881, and is constructed mostly of stone.
Great Trek Monument: The Great Trek Monument is situated on the farm Samar, seven km out of town.
Historic graves: Graves dating back to the 1800s can be viewed in the town’s cemetery where there is also a Burgher Monument commemorating the Boers who lost their lives during the Anglo-Boer War. The graves of approximately 25 British soldiers also lie here but in a different part of the cemetery. The graves of three murderers, executed in public, lie in the open veld about one km outside the town.
Historic Buildings: The Town Hall is a beautiful old Victorian style building completed in 1930. The Dr WH Boshoff Homestead in Oos Burger Street is a typical example of sandstone architecture. The lovely old Standard Bank Building, in Voortrekker Street, was in use right up to 1998 and was then donated to the Dutch Reformed Church. The part of the building known as Die Blou Gallery (“The Blue Gallery”) is presently used as a church hall. The Post Office building was opened in 1905 and the Police Station and Magistrate’s Offices date back to 1936.
Historic Tree: The historic old karee tree (Rhus lancea) dubbed the “Church Tree”, provided the shade under which the town’s first communion service was held on 9 November 1848. Thirty-two members of the Dutch Reformed Congregation took part in this communion service. The tree is located in the centre of the town.
Methodist Church: The pristine little Methodist Church was erected in1906 but is currently used by the ladies of the local Oranje Women’s Society.
Fauna And Flora
Kalkfontein Dam Nature Reserve: The Kalkfontein Dam Nature Reserve is located 36 km north of Fauresmith on the Petrusburg-Fauresmith Road. The reserve boasts a good selection of waterbirds, such as the South African shellduck, flamingo and osprey. Kalkfontein is also home to Smith’s red rabbits. The best time to try and spot these elusive creatures is in the early morning or evening. The reserve has a caravan park with adequate ablution and barbecue facilities. The dam is often frequented by anglers in search of yellow fish, Orange River mudfish, barbel and carp. Kalkfontein has a typical Karoo landscape and the hillocks and plains take on brown, red and yellow hues during the winter months