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  About the Free State - Fezile Dabi District



Fezile Dabi, in close proximity to Gauteng and Johannesburg International Airport, Fezile Dabi is the perfect for weekend getaway.

The Vaal River forms the northern border and with the Vaal Dam, is one of the main features of the area. Many excellent resorts line the banks and make this a popular venue for angling, wind surfing, water-skiing, paragliding and river rafting. Bird and animal life abounds in game and nature reserves or one may visit a game farm where controlled hunting has become available.

The flat plains of this region were thrown into turmoil when a giant meteor struck the earth some 2000 million years ago forcing the earth into deep gorges and ridges. The Dome, known as the Vredefort Structure, has numerous streams winding through the gorges and there are excellent opportunities for fly fishing while hiking and mountain biking provide recreation for the more active. From Sasolburg, chemical giant and hub of industry, to the peaceful rural areas. Fezile Dabi has a wealth of historical, cultural and leisure pursuits to offer.

This area got known as an industrial region with the establishment of Sasol during the fifties in Sasolburg, it is however, an attractive, tranquil and rustic region. During the summer months the sunflowers and the pastel colors of vast cosmos fields surround mealie, wheat and grain lands – a thought for the eye and food for the weary soul.

Adjacent of the Northern Free State region, on the northern banks of the Vaal River lies an outstretched area from Heidelberg in the east, to Orkney in the west that forms an important getaway area and offers excellent facilities to weekenders. Although the Vaal River forms the northern boundary of the Northern Free State region many of the offered actives entails cross boundary actions and visits. This area offer many little country hideaways during a visit. The well-known Vaal Meander that offers local artists and crafters a visitors quality art and work n the peace and tranquil surroundings of this area.
Towns/Cities: Cornelia, Deneysville, Edenville, Frankfort, Heilbron, Koppies, Kroonstad, Oranjeville, Parys, Sasolburg, Steynsrus, Tweeling, Viljoenskroon, Villiers & Vredefort.

This town is situated between Villiers and Warden and was named after the wife of President Reitz. Founded in 1875, the town was only officially proclaimed in 1919.

*Culture & Heritage:

*Fossil Site – located on the Uitzoek Farm about 10km north of the town, the Cornelia fossil beds is an important archaeological site.

The town was established in 1939 around the Vaal Dam and named after Deneys Reitz, son of a former Free State President. This town is situated on the northern border of the region on the banks of the Vaal Dam. Deneysville is a small rural village providing visitors access to vast water surfaces of the dam. The down s also known as the Highveld’s inland sea and the yachting mecca for its landlocked neighbors. The biggest inland regatta in South Africa, around the Island Race, is held on the Dam annually during February. With six yacht clubs, marines, boat chandlers, boat builders and repair yards, Deneysville is the home to yachting enthusiasts.

*Culture & Heritage:
*Holiday Home of Deneys Reitz - now lovingly converted into the St Peters Church. Rock walls and thatch on the water in a lovely garden setting.

Edenville forms part of the Free State Maize route. Offers interesting attractions, among them a large collection of vintage cars and motorcycles from 1925

*Culture & Heritage:

*Dirkie Uys Monument – memory of Dirkie Uys, Voortrekker child hero, who died trying to save his fathers life during the Boer-Zulu Battle of Italeni in 1838.

With the picturesque Wilge River flowing on the outskirts of the town and the gracious, historical buildings, Frankfort is a real jewel in this area. Sandstone buildings enhance the wide streets that were build to accommodate an ox wagon turn with full load and oxen. During late summer from February to April cosmos flowers are abundant and create a special atmosphere of tranquility and peace.

*Culture & Heritage:
*Blockhouse - dating back to the Anglo-Boer War. Old parsonage Built before 1900.
*Dutch Reformed Church - in the centre of town, one of many buildings evident of the town’s cultural heritage. The church (1910) was designed by FH Ford.
*National Monuments – Magistrates Office, Police Station and Post Office.

Heilbron was founded in 1872 because of water available for man and animal from the strong fountain. LJ Erasmus baptized the town “Heilbron” that means source of well being. Situated in the North eastern part of the Free State in what as traditionally known as the Riemland area. Place of thongs made of animal hides mostly buck. The bigger Heilbron is the collective name for Phiritona, Saundersville and Heilbron. It has always been a farming community with a few factories of which Clover SA previously Heilbron Creamery and later NCD shaped the history the most. Traditionally a farming area with mostly dairy, maize, wheat, sorghum, sunflowers, sheep and beef cattle farming.

*Culture & Heritage:
*Monuments & Memorials – Voortrekker Centenary Memorial, Concentration Camp Memorial, Monument of British Soldiers, Monument of Boers & Vechtkop Battle Monument.
*Ghoya People Corbelled Ruins - are extinct primitive people who lived in the area and had a very interesting form of housing. There are a few perfectly preserved huts left.
*Riemland Museum - depicts the heritage and cultural activities of the area. Housed in the old Jewish Synagogue which in itself tells the story of the important Jewish influence on the history of the town.
*Vegkop battlefield & Museum - site of the Matebele and Voortrekker battle in 1836.

In 1904, General C.R de Wet established a settled on the banks of the Renoster River for unprivileged whites. In 1926 this settlement achieved municipal rights and become the town of Koppies. Another central figure in the settlement of the town was Emily Hobhouse. Concerned about the economic and personal losses of the Boer people throughout the Anglo Boer war, she promoted the idea of home industry among the inhabitants of the town. Her vision and courage was manifested in the Lace school at Phillipolis. The town has remained an important agricultural area in the Northern Free State and during summer months, the rich harvest from the earth is visible in fertile fields of mealies, sunflowers and grain.

*Culture & Heritage:
*General CR de Wet House at Rooipoort Dam - several historical places and monuments relating to the Anglo Boer War can be visited in Koppies.

An important agricultural service centre in the Free State with a predominantly agricultural orientated economy served by a modern toll road which brings the PWV Region within two hours drive from Kroonstad and is also accessible from the North West, Bloemfontein and the Eastern Free State. Folklore has it, that the town was named after the horse, “Kroon” which belonged to the prominent Voortrekker Sarel Cilliers. Today, as an important administrative, agricultural and educational centre, Kroonstad still boasts much of the inherent rugged beauty, which led the Voortrekkers to establish the town where they did. The Vals river which runs through the centre of the town, has the Kroonpark holiday resort resting gracefully on its banks. Kroonstad serves an exceptionally wealthy agricultural area on the N1 to the south. This town is rich in historical sites.

*Culture & Heritage:
*Cultural Historical buildings - a variety of lovely old buildings adorn Kroonstad’s streets.
*Sarel Celliers Museum/Statue at the Civic centre - Depicts Kroonstad history. Memorial erected in memory of Sarel Cilliers.
Restored Celliers homestead - can be visited.

This town, situated on the banks of the Wilge River was established during 1919 as a halfway stop for ox wagons between Heilbron, Frankfort & Vereeniging. The landowners eventually named it Oranjeville in honor of the Prins of Orange from the Netherlands Royal Family whose involvement with the upliftment of South Africa was well known at that time. Today it is referred ot as the Peninsula of the Northern Free State. Surrounded by vast water surfaces it is an angling mecca for fishermen. Situated within one hour’s drive from the Gauteng Metropolitan area makes this town a popular day visitor’s destination.

Situated on the R59, Parys is one of most frequent Highveld weekend venues. Reputedly named Parys by a land surveyor because the site of the town on the banks of the Vaal River reminded him of the Seine. The Vaal, with birds abound, is studded with tree covered islands of which several have been development into pleasure resorts. Boating , fishing and swimming provide endless opportunities for relaxation. In the vicinity there are lovely parks, gardens and picnic spots. One of the unique features of Parys is Golf Island which is only approachable via a suspension bridge and is home to a spectacular 18-hole golf course open all year round. The suspension bridge was constructed in 1919 and build high enough to allow access to the island even when the river is in flood. The town centre of Parys developed over a number of years to an authentic tourism paradise with interesting knick knack corners, shops and visiting places. Parys with all the amenities and luxuries of a modern city and has retained the “magical charm” of small town atmosphere.

*Culture & Heritage:
*Anglican Church - was built with blue granite from the relief camp of the British in the Anglo-Boer War.
*Parys Museum - the cultural and historical displays information on the geological features of the area. – National Monument.

Situated in the Northern most corner of the Free State Sasolburg is one South Africa’s outstanding examples of foresight and successful planning. The town was established in 1954 and owes its existence directly to the petro chemical industry. Since the establishment of Sasol the town has grown from strength to strength and is today considered the chemical hub of South Africa. Some 72 000 trees mainly oak trees have been planted in the town with wide streets attractive pedestrian park strips. Statistics shows that there are more trees and shrubs in the town than residents.

The name of the town was derived from the two farms Tweelingspruit and Tweelingkop on which Tweeling was established in 1920. The village was declared a municipality in 1938. This untouched rural town has a rich historical background from the Anglo Boer War.

*Culture & Heritage:
*Gelofte Festival Area – a festival site established at the time of the inauguration of the Voortrekker Monument.

Situated next to the R76 road within the maize triangle ad the bordering the Vaal industrial complex. This small farming town generates a deep sense of peace and well being. The town is characterized by its stud farming in the district and several grain storage centres in South Africa. Viljoenskroon is named after the original farm owner J.J Viljoen and his horse Kroon. Evans Tractor Museum on the farm Sandfontein is interesting visiting points. Close to the nearby town Bothaville that hosts the annual NAMPO agricultural show.

*Culture & Heritage
*Evans Tractor Museum - on the farm Sandfontein. A phenomenal collection of tractors and historical agricultural equipment to be found at Evans Tractor Museum.
*Great Trek Monument - to be viewed in the town centre.
*Second World War Memorial - a metal stone and cement memorial built by the Memorable order of Tins Hats M.O.T.H.S

Villiers nestles snugly on the banks of the Vaal River and its restful country atmosphere reflects a typical Free State hospitality. Being the first won when entering the Free State from Gauteng, Villiers has become a popular stop for visitors travelling to Durban on the N3.

Vredefort is situated approximately 126km south of Johannesburg and 76km north of Kroonstad. This rural town is known throughout the world for geological formations called the Vredefort structure. The lunatic landscape of this very important geological site was caused by a giant meteorite of approximately 10km in diameter, which hit the earth 2000 million years ago at the spot where the small rural town of Vredefort is situated today. Today the site is recognized worldwide as the largest and the oldest meteorite impact site on earth. Except for a favorable frost free climate the region is also rich in plant, wild and bird life. The unique geographical features of this area provide a tailor made environment and exiting venue for conservancies and game farms.

Culture & Heritage:
*Clay Houses - on the grounds of the Dutch Reformed Church.
*Ox-wagon Monument - will be found on the grounds of the Dutch Reformed Church.

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Thabo Mofutsanyana
Fezile Dabi

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