Reitz, founded in 1889, was named after a former president of the Orange Free State, Frederik Reitz, and is situated in the heart of the Free State wheat and maize area, an area known as Riemland. Fittingly, the largest agricultural cooperative in the Free State is located in the town. On several occasions Reitz has been voted the most attractive medium-sized town in the Free State and is renowned for its annual Bielie Mielie Festival.
Adventure And Sport
Hiking and mountain-biking: Hiking trails have been established next to the rivers in the area and in the Bewaria (Conservation) area. Several mountain biking routes also traverse the area.
Horse-riding: A number of private farms offer horse-riding opportunities and farm holidays.
Sport: The town has its own golf course, bowling green and swimming pool, as well as facilities for cricket, tennis, soccer, netball, squash and “jukskei”, a traditional Afrikaans sport.
Water sports: Water sports, such as canoeing and windsurfing, as well as angling opportunities, abound close to the town, owing to the many dams, pans of water and rivers, such as the Liebenbergsvlei and Wilge Rivers. Bietjie Water Resort offers angling and water sport facilities and a chance to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
Archaeology And Palaeontology
San Rock Art: The large cave on the farm Cavern that was used by General De Wet as an ammunition dump during the Anglo-Boer War boasts exquisite examples of San rock art. Other San rock art sites can be viewed on the farms Kuilenberg and Semper Fidelis.
Art And Crafts
Art gallery: Reitz has its fair share of local artists whose work is exhibited in the Merwede Art Gallery in town.
Flea market: The town holds a flea market on the last Saturday of each month.
Bielie Mielie Festival: This festival coincides with the time (February) when the maize on the land is still green but ready for human consumption. During the festival more than 15 000 cobs of corn (mealies) are handed out free of charge by the Municipality. The rest of the festivities include sports events, cultural events, exhibitions of farming implements, decorative floats and much more.
History And Architecture
Bezuidenhoutsdrif Hospital: This building, used as a field hospital by the Boers during the Anglo-Boer War is one of a very few that is still standing. It is situated on the farm Smithsrus.
Graspan Battlefield: The Graspan Battlefield lies 12 km east of Reitz and is the site where a battle ensued between British soldiers and Boer troops who came to the rescue of the Reverend Kestell and a convoy of Boer women fleeing from the British in more than 100 wagons.
Town Monument: A single monument has been erected in the grounds of the Dutch Reformed Church, in town, to honour the Boers who died during the Anglo-Boer War and the Rebellion of 1914 and also to commemorate the establishment of the Republic of South Africa in 1961 and the Afrikaans language. The church itself has been declared a National monument.
President Steyn and Mounted Attendant Monument: This monument is dedicated to the old President’s mounted attendant, a man of Griqua descent, who saved him from being captured by the British.
War Graves: There are several historic Anglo-Boer War graves and monuments of both Boer and British soldiers in the town’s cemetery and in the area surrounding the town.
Agricultural Tours: The various agricultural tours on offer will teach you more about apple and potato farming, rose farming, exotic bird farming, vegetable and tulip bulb farming, cattle farming, dairy farming and lion breeding. You can also visit a dried flower factory.
Star gazing: The Private Observatory Astronomer will share his knowledge of the stars with you.