Hoopstad was established on the farm Kameeldoorns in 1875. The town lies on the northern bank of the Vet River and borders the Sandveld Nature Reserve. It is situated in the rich maize-producing area of the Free State and is renowned for its many Afrikaner cattle studs and game farms. However, there are also several Brahman, Hereford, Bonsmara and Simmentaler stud farms in the vicinity and the country’s biggest game and bull auction is held annually in the town. The town also has a factory where farming implements and the well-known ACO tractor are manufactured and exported all over the continent. Hoopstad is the home of the international tennis star, Amanda Coetzer.
Adventure And Sport
Air ventures: Hoopstad has its own airfield with four hangars. Flying lessons are offered and there is also a micro-light club.
Country Club: The Hoopstad Country Club offers several sporting facilities – tennis and squash courts, a bowling green and golf course.
Hunting: Bird- and game-hunting opportunities are available on several private farms in the district.
Water sport: Bloemhof Dam, on the Vaal River, about 40 kms north-west of Hoopstad offers excellent angling and water sport opportunities.
Art And Crafts
Art and crafts: Some of the art and crafts on sale in the town and surroundings include paintings in different media, creative needlework, quilting, applique and leaded glass artwork.
Fauna And Flora
Bird-watching: Contact the Municipality for more information about bird-watching opportunities on Corista Farm and visits the various private bird breeders in the district.
Groenvlei Farm Game Breeding: Various types of game, especially lions, are bred on the farm Groenvlei, 5 km from the town on the Hoopstad-Bloemhof Road.
Municipal Game Reserve: The reserve is situated next to the town and stocks a wide variety of game. The reserve also has conference facilities, the Amanda Coetzer Lapa and a braai area.
Reptiles: Mr Kobus Buys breeds snakes, crocodiles and other rare species of reptiles. Contact him for an appointment.
Sandveld Nature Reserve: The 37 700 ha Sandveld Nature Reserve is next to the Bloemhof Road, about 30 km from Hoopstad. It is home to animals such as giraffe, wildebeest, tsessebe, white rhino, kudu and buffalo. The trees on the banks of the Bloemhof Dam provide the ideal breeding place for birds such as egrets, cormorants and ibises. Ducks, geese and flamingos are also frequent guests during certain times of the year. The reserve provides accommodation in the form of camping sites, some with power points, and holiday chalets with all the most modern conveniences.
History And Architecture
Historic buildings: The historic sandstone Dutch Reformed Church, in the centre of town, was inaugurated in 1892 and is well worth a visit. The church was used as a hospital during the Anglo-Boer War and shots were fired from its bell tower. British soldiers carved their names on the walls of the tower. The old Post Office Building, built in 1904, still stands and today is used as a shop.
Japie Greyling Memorial: Japie Greyling was a young Boer boy born on a farm in the district, who, during the Anglo-Boer War, staunchly refused to betray the whereabouts of his father and elder brothers’ commando even when facing a British firing squad. He became a hero and household name after General Sealy, the British officer in charge, was so touched by his bravery that he spared his life. The story of Japie’s bravery was recorded in the officer’s book “Fear and be slain”, written and published in Britain after the war. Sealy was so impressed with Japie’s bravery that he wrote to him in 1932; 31 years after the incident, saying that he would not rest before returning to South Africa to shake the hand of the man who had been so brave as a boy. A bust of the boy is surrounded by a memorial honouring all the residents of the town who died during the Anglo-Boer War.