|Harrismith is a small, charming country town, founded in 1849, but
discovered by tourists only recently. Visitors remark on its cleanliness,
and the friendliness of its inhabitants.
Harrismtih is the ideal destination to break a long trip, hold
a conference or escape from the stresses of city living and recharge
batteries in tranquil surroundings and excellent facilities.
Indulge in open air hobbies like birding, biking, 4x4, hiking,
climbing, golfing, history, water sport and lots more.
The town is well known for its factory shops, gardens (both domestic
and wild flower gardens), golf course (the oldest in South Africa)
and links with the South African War, with close by battle sites,
blockhouses and a military cemetery.
There are also Boer, Brit and sandstone architecture to be seen.
Activities include trout fishing, water sport on the Sterkfontein
Dam (the third largest dam in South Africa), bird watching and visiting
well stocked game farms.
The Drakensberg range and Maluti Mountains provide a spectacular
backdrop to Harrismith.
Day visit opportunities include: Royal Natal Park, the base of
the Drankensberg Sentinel, Golden Gate Highlands National Park,
Basotho Cultural Village, Boer War battlefields and hiking trails.
Distinctive southern African curios anf arty things are available
Debora Retief Garden
A 250 million-year-old, 33m fossilised treelies in this garden next
to the town hall.
The 18 hole course is the third oldest in South Africa.
Harrismith Wildflower Gardens
Founded in 1967 as a botanical garden these contain about 20% of
the Drakensberg region's flora.
The Voortrekkers camped in the area, whilst their leader, Piet Retief,
negotiated with the Zulu leader Dingane. After receiving reports
of what the Voortrekkers interpreted as successful negotiations
Rtief's daughter wrote his name, and the date, which was also his
birthday, on the rock where they held a church service.
A small community museum in the Market Hall at the back of hte Town
The 2 394m 'flat mountain' is Harrismith's landmark. A famous race,
claimed by some to be the toughest in South Africa.
President Brand Park
A picnic area along the tranquil banks of the Wilge River.
The third largest dam in South Africa, and unusual as practically
all the water is pumped up the escarpment from KwaZulu-Natal. Built
before the Lesotho Highlands water scheme was developed, this was
a vital source of water for Gauteng.
Now looking insignificant compared to larger brothers, the second
oldest bridge in the Free State, a National Monument, spans the
Wildge River. At the official opening in 1884 it was claimed that,
as it wat the furthest of its kind towards the interior, it marked
a distinct advance of the forces of civilization.
A graceful sandstone and brick building built in 1907, and a National
Self drive day tours or overnight stays enable visitors to experience
what was described in the dark days of the early 1990s as a township
which was a haven of peace.
Van Reenen Llandaff Oratory
National Monument which seats eight people, and was built in honour
of Llandaff Matthew who tragically lost his life in an act of bravery
in a coal mining disaster.