Fouriesburg

Fouriesburg was established in 1892 on land donated to the Orange Free State Government by one “Rooi” Stoffel Fourie. During the Anglo-Boer War the town was the seat of the Orange Free State Government for a few months. The modest house in which President Steyn lived during this period can still be seen. The town’s inhabitants have spectacular views of the often snow-clad Maluti Mountains and the surrounding sandstone hills. In October each year Fouriesburg hosts an Asparagus Festival and Agricultural Show, followed in November by a Rose Show.

Adventure And Sport

Angling: There are several trout and bass angling dams in the area.

Camelroc Guest Farm: Wild flowers and birds abound on this holiday farm with its self-contained chalets and entertainment area. There are also hiking and 4x4x trails to explore.

4×4 routes: 4×4 Safaris are the ideal way to explore the countryside. There are several routes to choose from.

Hiking and biking: The Fouriesburg area is ideal for hiking and biking and there are many trails in and around the town. The five-day, 65-km Brandwater Hiking Trail passes through magnificent sandstone formations and offers overnight shelter in caves. One of these caves, Salpeterkrans, is reputed to be the biggest sandstone cave in the southern hemisphere.

Horse-riding: Horse-riding is a popular pastime and there are many opportunities for this in the area.

Hunting: Hunting trips can be organised on some of the private game farms in the area.

Pumula Guest Farm: Two luxury self-catering chalets with lovely views and a clubhouse with swimming pool, steam bath and jacuzzi are available on this “working” farm. Horse-riding options exist. Aromatherapy sessions are available but must be booked in advance.

Road running: The Surrender Hill Marathon, a qualifying race for the Comrades Marathon, is held here every year.

Wyndford Holiday farm: This farm, on the banks of the Little Caledon River, is regarded as one of the ten best holiday farms in the country. Although the farm exudes a sense of tranquillity, there are many adventure sport activities, such as horse-riding and hiking through the scenic Eastern Highlands of the Free State for the more adventurous.

Art And Crafts

Art and Crafts: Gallery Cafe in Steyn Street sells original artwork and South African crafts in a gallery-cum-coffee shop/restaurant. New works by local artists, such as John Crowley and Denise Hill, are regularly exhibited here.

Pottery Studio and Gallery: Visit the Linda Wilson Pottery Studio and Gallery in Noorder Street for terracotta and stoneware items, tiles and wall plaques

Fauna And Flora

Bergdeel Private Nature Reserve: Bergdeel Private Nature Reserve lies midway between Bethlehem and Fouriesburg. The Witteberg, Rooiberg and Maluti Mountain Ranges form the backdrop to this small reserve. Several walking trails lead to the higher-lying areas and indigenous forests. Game that may be spotted in the reserve include several species of indigenous antelope as well as several species of exotic antelope. Accommodation is available in the form of two-bedroomed, self-catering lodges.

Meiringskloof Nature Reserve: Meiringskloof Nature Reserve is particularly popular among birdwatchers but mammals such as blesbok and other smaller antelope can also be seen. The reserve has various hiking trails mapped out, such as the Brandwater Trail (five days) and the Ventersberg Trail (two days). The Rooiberg Mountains with their many caves and the gently meandering Meiringspoort stream dominate the surrounding landscape and add to the natural scenic beauty of the reserve. Overnight accommodation is available in the reserve.

History And Architecture

Dutch Reformed Church: The stately old Dutch Reformed Church, erected in 1894, marks the spot where Paul Kruger and his men camped during one of the Basotho Wars.

President Steyn House: Visit the modest home of a former president of the Orange Free State, President Marthinus Steyn.

Sandstone Museum: The historic exhibits at the Sandstone Museum, in Robertson Street, depict the origins and past of the town.

Surrender Hill Battlefield: The site of The Battle of Surrender Hill, where more than 4 000 Boers were forced to surrender to the British during the Anglo-Boer War, is in the vicinity of the town.

Natural Wonders

Holkrans Cave: The uninhabited Holkrans Cave in the Meiringskloof Nature Reserve offered shelter to the entire population of women and children of Fouriesburg during the Anglo-Boer War. They hid in the cave until the war was over. The cave has an enormous overhang and the entrance is not easily detected. Legend has it that the British soldiers often heard the women and children’s voices in the hills but that they could not detect where the sound came from.

Salpeterkrans: Salpeterkrans is the largest sandstone overhang in the southern hemisphere. Wind erosion carved out this magnificent formation, called the Fertility Cave. The cave has been in use since the earliest times, first by the San, then by the local Basotho and other African people. Traditional healers used the cave as a place to conduct their ancient spiritual rites. The mouth of the overhang is protected by a pile of fallen rocks and can easily be missed. Upon entering the cave, it is the accepted custom to light a candle to the ancestors. Next follows a walk in a clockwise direction while you leave all bad thoughts behind. To this day, many healers in training come to the cave to undergo their training. Visitors are welcome.

Sandstone formation: A unique sandstone formation in the Rooiberge resembles the silhouette of Queen Victoria.

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