North West Attractions: Brits

North West Attractions: Brits

This small town lies in a fertile, citrus-producing area that receives irrigation water from the Hartbeespoort Dam. Brits was founded in 1924 on the farm Roode Kopjes and named after its owner, Gert Brits.

Adventure And Sport

Angling: Carp, yellowfish and barbell are caught at the Vaalkop Dam that also has camping facilities. Rooikoppies Dam is another popular angling spot.

Brits Golf Club: Enjoy a relaxing game of golf at the Brits Golf Club.

Finfoot Lake Reserve: Finfoot Lake Reserve at Beestekraal offers comfortable accommodation. Canoeing, game drives, swimming, mountain biking, angling, barge cruising and bush walks are popular activities.

Hiking at Borakalalo National Park: Borakalalo National Park is situated some 60 km north of Brits and is one of the reserves most accessible to the Johannesburg and Pretoria areas. Part of the park is zoned for wilderness trails. The day walk area in the reserve is the epitome of beauty and tranquillity. The hiking routes range from easy to difficult and can take anything from between two to five days to complete, depending on the route chosen. One example is the Swarthoek overnight hike that offers accommodation in huts and at a campsite. Swarthoek also has a 16 km mountain biking route. The trail is rather difficult but a guide is available. Hikers are warned to steer clear of the white rhino. Angling is permitted along a stretch of the Klipvoor Dam and in some sections of the Moretele River, but boating and swimming are not allowed.

Art And Crafts

‘Kuns a la Carte’ Market: The ‘Kuns a la Carte’ home industry store sells beautiful items such as pottery, glassware and candles.

Cultural/Community Tourism

Mapoch Ndebele Cultural Village: The Ndebele Village is an authentic traditional village. The village came into being as a result of the Group Areas Act, which decreed that black people were only allowed to stay in certain areas. With the passing of time, the village was incorporated into the former homeland of Bophuthatswana but, since the inhabitants of the village were not Tswana­speaking, they were never fully integrated into the community. Slowly but surely the village began dying a slow death. In 1997 the National Cultural Museum became interested in the plight of the village and, together with the residents, a revitalisation program was initiated. Today tourists enjoy the fruits of this endeavour when they visit the village. Visitors can marvel at authentic Ndebele murals and colourfully painted houses. African clothing and beautiful beadwork are also on sale. Demonstrations of Ndebele handiwork are given on a regular basis.

Entertainment And Shopping

The Carousel: The Carousel Entertainment Complex was built near Babelegi when it was still part of the homeland Republic of Bophuthatswana. South African law at the time did not allow gambling within South African borders. The complex has show bars, theme restaurants, cinemas, live entertainment and video arcades for the children. However, the biggest attraction is still the chance to get rich and the 1500 slot machines and 47 gaming tables attract many visitors with the promise of easy money.

Fauna And Flora

Borakalalo National Park: Borakalalo means “The place where people relax”. As one walks through the wilderness and wooded areas, one can feel the stress and tiredness slip away and calm descend upon one’s body and soul. The natural woodland and “bushveld” vegetation of the 13 500 hectare provincial park are home to over 35 species of mammals, including white rhino, leopard and giraffe and to more than 350 species of birds. Borakalalo can be explored via a series of game hikes and walks, as well as by car on over 100 km of gravel road. As one follows the course of the Moretele River through a lush stretch of riverine forest, one happens upon Klipvoor Dam, where many fishermen have found their spiritual home. Accommodation facilities include self-catering chalets and tent camps, such as Phudufudu, Moretele or Pitjane (tents are provided). Borakalalo lies approximately 60 km north of Brits, on Road R512 to Thabazimbi.

Brits Conservation Area: The area around Brits is essentially one large conservation area, with various separate game reserves such as Dikhololo, Hartbeeshoek, Mokuru, Kokoriba, Kupala and Ilanga.

De Wildt Cheetah Research Centre: The De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Centre nestles in the foothills of the Magaliesberg Mountains. It is only an hour’s drive away from Johannesburg and forty-five minutes’ drive from Pretoria. Surrounded by a landscape of open “veld”, interspersed with indigenous trees, a few rare and endangered species are successfully bred. The very rare King Cheetah, whose features are caused by a recessive gene, was first bred here.

Successful breeding programmes at the centre have encouraged the growth in population of other species of animals such as the Wild Dog, Brown Hyena, Blue Duiker, Suni Antelope and some species of vultures and owls. A tour of De Wildt is a valuable educational experience for adults and children alike and highlights issues relevant to the animals’ continued survival and existence. The tour takes about three hours and bookings must be made well in advance. De Wildt is only open to visitors on Saturdays.

Elephant Sanctuary: The Elephant Sanctuary is situated within the African Bush surroundings and aims to close the gap between elephant and man through education and supervised interaction. The sanctuary offers day as well as overnight (one or two nights) programmes for individuals or tour groups. Visitors are allowed to interact with African elephants under the professional supervision of knowledgeable guards. Traditional African meals are served. Breakaways to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve can be arranged as an optional extra.

Le Croc Crocodile Farm: Le Croc Crocodile Farm allows visitors to become acquainted with these fierce reptiles from a safe distance.

History And Architecture

Town Hall: Different types of granite were used to build the Town Hall. The clever usage of granite brings the true beauty and versatility of the stone to one’s attention.

“Vredesboom” (The Peace Tree): In 1864, after the Battle of Crocodile River peace negotiations took place under a karee tree in the area. The tree can be viewed on the Silkaatsnek Road – a memorial marks the place.

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