The small town of Frankfort was established in 1873, on the banks of the Wilge River. Today, the town boasts a modern holiday resort, campsites and caravan parks. There are also several guest houses and a game farm in the immediate vicinity. The town is renowned for its annual Wilge Marathon in February and the Raft Race held every September. Frankfort is positioned in the heart of the Maize Triangle, the principal maize-producing area in South Africa. During the late summer and early autumn (February to May) the area is transformed into a wonderland of white, pink and purple, as the cosmos flowers start blooming.
Adventure And Sport
4×4 Routes: Two five-hour 4×4 routes have been established on the Aanleg Guest Farm, situated near the Wilge River, seven km from Frankfort.
Hunting: Riemland Game offers hunting packages on a farm in the district.
Water sports: The nearby Wilge River is ideal for swimming, angling, water skiing, boating and sailing, and the more adventurous can take part in either one or five-day dinghy trips.
Wilge Marathon and Raft Race: These two events are well known and well supported both locally and nationally. The Raft Race is more for fun and entertainment, and the Marathon is a qualifying race for the international Comrades Marathon Race, the 90 km Ultra-Marathon run in KwaZulu-Natal in June every year.
Archaeology And Palaeontology
Stone dwellings: Some prehistoric stone dwellings can be seen close to the town. The long vanished Leghoya people are believed to have inhabited the Frankfort/Heilbron area and left behind the remains of some corbelled house.
Art And Crafts
Namahadi Art and Crafts Centre: If you are after authentic cultural crafts and beadwork visit the Namahadi Art and Crafts Centre in Namahadi Township. Ask at the Municipality for a list of tourist guides.
Taxidermy: Impala Taxidermy, the 2002 winner of the “People’s Choice Trophy” offers guided tours through its taxidermy concern. See how the craft of taxidermy is plied and take home some lovely leather articles.
Entertainment And Shopping
Frankfort River Resort: The resort is situated on the banks of the Wilge River where visitors can angle and relax while listening to the calls of the numerous birds in the area.
Guest Houses and lodges: For overnight accommodation try the Lodge in Brand Street or Alrines Cottage in Beckwith Street. The Siesta Guest House on the farm Merrydale is located 10 km out of town on road R26 to Tweeling/Bethlehem.
Water Park Caravan Park: The caravan park is situated next to the Wilge River. A picnic site is laid out on the banks of the river.
History And Architecture
Historic buildings: The town has some interesting old buildings, ranging in architectural style from typical Free State sandstone buildings to buildings with fine Victorian fretwork and quaint thatched roofs. The Magistrate’s Office in Edwardian style, the sandstone Police Station and the Post Office (1904) with its Cape Dutch gable have all been declared National monuments and stand side by side in Van Reenen Street.
Dutch Reformed Church: The old bell of the Dutch Reformed Church survived a fire in 1901, as well as being thrown away on a rubbish dump, before it was found and restored to its rightful place in the church’s bell tower. The church was inaugurated in 1883.
Anglo-Boer War Blockhouse: Relics from the Anglo-Boer War, such as the old blockhouse in the vicinity of the town, and a 15-pound British cannon, located on the farm Kalwerfontein, managed to survive. General Manie Botha who commanded the Harrismith Boers during the war and at the Battle of Paardeberg, is buried on Kalwerfontein, which now belongs to his son.