|Mafikeng is situated next to Mmabatho, the vibrant provincial
and commercial capital of the North West Province. It is a town
with an interesting history, rich culture and wildlife variety.
The name Mafikeng (Mahikeng) means "The place among the
rocks". This name was given to the area by early Barolong
chiefs who had settled along the Molopo River near the present
day village of Rooigrond after a period of intertribal war.
Mafikeng attracted the attention of the world during the Anglo-Boer
War of 1899 - 1902 as the small British garrison under the command
of Colonel Baden Powell held out for 217 days against Boer forces
who had surrounded the town. The Mafikeng Museum has extensive
ethnographic and Anglo-Boer War exhibits.
To the south east of Mafikeng is Kanon Kopje, a defensive fort
built during the Warren Expedition of 1885. Nearby is the Kgotla
of the Barolong Boora Tshidi, the tribal meeting place of Chief
Montshoia. A monument honouring the Barolong who died during the
Mafikeng siege stands beside another in recognition of Kgosi Besele
Montshoia, head of the Barolong Regiment during the siege. Also
nearby is the Mafikeng Siege Cemetery.
There are a number of sites linking the famous South African
writer Sol Plaatjie to Mafikeng at the time of the siege. These
sites, which include his residence, his newspaper office and printing
works are indicated by tourist boards.
The 4600 ha Mafikeng Game Reserve hosts a wide variety of game
and is one of the principal breeding parks for White Rhino. The
Manyane Game Lodge features a lion enclosure and crocodile camp.
30 km west of the city, the Botsalano Game Reserve is a popular
weekend attraction for game viewing.
At the entrance to Mafikeng is a bird sanctuary at Cookes Lake
and to the south (on the the Vryburg road) is the Lotlamoreng
Cultural Reserve and Montshiwua Dam where there is a cultural
village, recreational area and a demarcated waterfall sanctuary.
Also nearby is the Modimola Dam, an angling and weekend picnicking
The western suburbs of Mafikeng house the provincial parliament
and the impressive government offices known as the Garona. Moving
to the east is the inland diving venue at Wondergat, a vast underwater
network of caves used principally for diving instruction.
Mafikeng is served by excellent hotels, guesthouses and bed &
breakfast establishments. There is a casino located at the Tusk
Mmabatho Casino Resort.
There are two golf courses: the Leopard Park Golf Club, located
in the western suburbs and the Mafikeng Golf Club.