Thaba ‘Nchu is only some 10 km from Botshabelo on the N8 Road to Lesotho. The name means was once the traditional stronghold of the Barolong people (a Tswana tribe). Led by their chief Moroka, the Barolong settled in this area in the 1830s. The Voortrekkers and the Barolong became allies united against their common enemy, Mzilikazi and his Matabele tribe. Several Voortrekker parties, such as those of Hendrik Potgieter, Gerrit Maritz, Piet Uys and Carl Landman, enjoyed the chief’s hospitality and camped in the area at one time or another. During the Apartheid years, the town became part of the homeland of Bophuthatswana but has since been re-incorporated into South Africa. Today, the town sports two luxury hotels with casino facilities and many other tourism attractions.
Adventure And Sport
Angling: Anglers often flock to the popular Montloatsi Setlogelo Dam for a peaceful day of undisturbed angling.
Hiking and mountain biking: The Maria Moroka National Park has several hiking and mountain-bike trails. The Eland Hiking Trail takes approximately four to five hours to complete and the less strenuous Ostrich Trail is a two-hour ramble.
Hunting: The Thaba Lodge and Hunting Camp in the Maria Moroka National Park offers hunting opportunities to visitors
Mmabana Cultural Centre: The Mmabana Cultural Centre, a community project, was established to improve the cultural awareness of the local residents. The Centre offers music, drama, dance, art and sporting activities. The curio shop on the premises sells beadwork, pottery and art.
Villages and Kraals: The surrounding area is a wonderful place to soak up and learn more about the Basotho culture of yesteryear and today.
Entertainment And Shopping
Casinos: There are two casinos in town, popular venues frequented by those who enjoy gambling or dining and dancing.
Fauna And Flora
Maria Moroka Nature Reserve: The Maria Moroka Nature Reserve lies 70 km east of Bloemfontein on the Thaba ‘Nchu road. The reserve is situated a few km south of Thaba ‘Nchu and next to the Thaba ‘Nchu Sun Hotel and Casino. The reserve encompasses the Montloatse Setlogelo Dam with the impressive Thaba ‘Nchu Mountain in the background. The Maria Moroka Nature Reserve is home to several species of game, such as black wildebeest, zebra, white rhino, springbuck and blesbuck, as well as to more than a hundred species of birds, including several aquatic species. Thaba Lodge can accommodate 10 people and has a central kitchen and living area. The dam is ideal for angling and hikers can walk up to the top of Thaba ‘Nchu Mountain.
Rustfontein Nature Reserve: The Rustfontein Dam in the Rustfontein Nature Reserve is a popular playground for anglers and water sport enthusiasts. The reserve attracts a wide variety of birds and also contains several species of wildlife.
History And Architecture
Sannaspos Battlefield: The Anglo-Boer War Sannaspos Battlefield site is situated a short distance west of the town on the road to Bloemfontein.
Chief Moroka’s grave: The grave of Chief Moroka at the Wesleyan Mission Station has been declared a National monument but can only be viewed with special permission. The Chief’s Kgotla (Kraal) is also situated in the area.
Great Trek Plaques: Bronze Voortrekker plaques mark the trails made by the Voortrekkers’ ox wagons during the Great Trek of 1838.
Historic Buildings: The Dutch Reformed Church and St Paul’s Methodist Church warrant a visit, as does the church designed by renowned priest-cum-artist, Father Claerhout.
Moroka House: Moroka House in Ratlou Village was once the home of Doctor James Sebe Moroka, President-General of the African National Congress (ANC) between 1949 and 1952.