The town, established in the early 1950s to provide housing and facilities for SASOL employees, owes its existence to the petro-chemical industry. SASOL’s three plants, (the other two are at Secunda in Mpumalanga) are still the only viable coal-derived oil refineries in the world. Sasolburg is known as the “Garden Town” of the Northern Free State and for several consecutive years has won the prize for the town with the most attractive entrance. It is a regional planning success story and people often jokingly remark that there are more trees and shrubs (over 70 000 planted originally) in Sasolburg than people. The many oak trees (a total of 11 849 on municipal ground) lining the streets and planted in other areas in and around the town are one of the town’s most distinguishing characteristics.
Adventure And Sport
Hiking: The Leeuwspruit Hiking Trail takes you through the lovely Highveld Botanical Garden and Bird Sanctuary where more than 70 species of birds have been recorded. The Riemland Ecopark hike passes through a 370 ha game camp where you can see many buck, antelope and birds.
Sport: This town has facilities for just about every sporting activity, including ladies soccer, jukskei, shooting, darts and deck tennis. The town also has several golf courses. The Penny Heyns Olympic Swimming Pool is a regular venue for water polo, diving and rescue competitions and for the national SASOL Winter Swimming Championships and the DP de Villiers Stadium, with its excellent facilities, hosts the annual SASOL Athletics Series finals. This is also the home ground of the Vaal Triangle Rugby Union.
Vaal Racecourse: The Vaal Racecourse offers exciting horse races and the opportunity to make (or lose!) a buck or two.
Walking: There are two easier routes to choose from on the Northern Free State Eco-Route Day Walk. Both routes go down to the Vaal drainage basin.
Water sport: With the Vaal River so close, water sport activities in and around the town, abound.
Art And Crafts
Art and craft shops: There are several shops in town, such as Hearts and Flowers Country Crafts in Hersov Street where hand-made gifts and artwork are on sale, Purr-fect Friends where you will find rag dolls, American crafts, woodwork and many other handmade articles for sale. A local artist makes porcelain dolls on request.
Art Gallery: Gallery 88 is an upmarket gallery featuring the works of contemporary South African artists. Paintings, graphic art, ceramics, sculptures, drawings and other durable art and crafts can be purchased at the gallery.
Etienne Rossouw Theatre: The ultra-modern Etienne Rossouw Theatre often stages plays, shows and art exhibitions. It seats 480 people and its orchestra pit is large enough to accommodate a full symphony orchestra.
Vaal Meander: The new Vaal Meander Art and Crafts Route is considered one of the ten best in South Africa and is open to the public on the first weekend of every month.
Vaal Park Market: The Vaal Park Art and Handwork Market is a big, biannual event featuring art and crafts produced by local as well as other artists and crafters.
Entertainment And Shopping
Abrahamsrust Holiday Resort: Abrahamsrust Resort on the Vaal River offers swimming pools, water slides, a Putt-Putt course, a model steam train, game camp and play area for children. The river makes all forms of water sport possible. Caravan and camping sites, as well as chalets, are available for longer stays.
Art festival: The WAM – Wax, Art and Music Festival – is held annually in the last week of August in the sports grounds of Sasolburg College. A wax exhibition, drama, music, dance, art and children’s theatre are on the programme.
Emerald Safari Resort and Casino: A unique African adventure complex consisting of a Kenyan-style Hotel, Zanzibar Dome, Moroccan-style Souk and cultural village, an Aqua dome for children, Safari Lodges and animal world and a river resort.
Fauna And Flora
Birdwatching: Bird lovers will enjoy an outing to either the Leeuwspruit Bird Park, in Colenso Street or to the Grootfontein Bird Park.
Botanical Garden; The 8 ha Highveld Botanical Garden, in President Brand Street, protects the indigenous plant life of the highveld along meandering paths and rockeries set among small ponds. This area is also a bird sanctuary.
Riemland Ecopark: A visit to the Riemland Ecopark in Paardeberg Drive is sure to be a hit with both adults and children. A variety of game such as springbok, impala, waterbuck, zebra and eland, to name a few, can be viewed.
SASOL/NATREF Game Camps: Unused pockets of land belonging to these organisations have been turned into game camps housing ostrich, zebra and many species of antelope. Game camps have also been established next to Road R59 and against the Leeuspruit. Established waterholes make game- and bird-viewing a very relaxing and enjoyable outing.
History And Architecture
Contemporary architecture: The Etienne Rousseau Theatre and the Public Library are both excellent examples of contemporary architecture. The latter won the Fulton Award for the best use of concrete and its auditorium is often used for art and craft exhibitions and music recitals.
Lethaba Power Station: This power giant holds the distinction of being the only power station in the world capable of burning coal with an average calorific value of only 16 MJ/kg. Plant tours can be arranged with the plant’s visitor centre.
SASOL Techno X: This exhibition for pupils and students showpieces the latest technologies and inventions and is aimed at helping children and young people to choose the right career.