Bethal was proclaimed in 1889 and named after the wives, Elizabeth and Alida, of the owners of the farms on which the town was laid out. Local inhabitants call the town, positioned on the banks of the Bethal Dam with its lovely willow trees, “eMzinoni”. The town lies 1 701 m above sea level and there are 20 coal-mines and three gold-mines in close proximity to the town. The Agriculture and Potato Co-operatives have their headquarters in Bethal and the town hosts the annual Potato Festival in April/May each year.
Adventure And Sport
Golf: Do try your hand at a game of golf on the nine-hole Bethal Golf Course.
Art And Crafts
Coert Steynberg Sculpture: The Coert Steynberg Sculpture is located in front of the Eastern Transvaal Agriculture Co-operative. This sculpture depicting two farmers carrying sacks of grain on their shoulders, is a tribute to agricultural labourers and was done by one of South Africa’s best-known sculptors, Coert Steynberg, a native of Bethal.
Entertainment And Shopping
Bethal Resort: The resort overlooks a dam and has facilities for barbecue and miniature golf, as well as trampolines and a supertube.
Potato Festival: The annual Potato Festival is held in Bethal in April/May each year. If for no other reason, you have to come to see the 3-km-long potato and meat sausage that is later cut up and sold. If you do not feel like driving, take to the Potato Express steam train from Johannesburg Railway Station to get there and back.
History And Architecture
Bethal Museum: The highlights of the collections and exhibits in the museum are the 1890 Kok Pharmacy, a 24-part exhibition of a progressive, rural community and exhibits depicting the history of the Bethal Commando during the Anglo-Boer War.
Police Station: The old Police Station has been proclaimed a national monument and is well worth a visit. Two cannons guard the entrance to this well-preserved old building. There are various other old, stone-built houses in town that are reminiscent of an earlier period.