It was to be a long day’s drive, 321 kms from Kiara Lodge in the Golden Gate National Park to the City Lodge Hotel, Bloemfontein, and we started early.
The first stop was the Courtyard Bakery in Clarens for delicious eggs and bacon with wonderful, authentic croissants, and of course coffee.
Suitably fortified, we set off.
Surrender Hill, in the Brandwater Basin, is the site of a battle during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. The Free State Commandos fighting here were surrounded by the British Forces and 4,314 men surrendered on 31 July 1900, losing six million rounds of ammunition, three field guns, and 2,800 head of cattle. General Christiaan de Wet, the legendary Boer leader, was involved in the battle but escaped, as he always did.
Fouriesburg is in the centre of the Brandwater Basin and was founded in 1892 on Christoffel Fourie‘s farm, Groenfontein. We did not linger in this quiet town.
All along the road to Ficksburg were purple Verbenas – beautiful – and wonderful views.
In Ficksburg it was very hot indeed – well into the 30sC – and we needed the tea break at the Imperani Guest House. It was so hot that local people were walking round town with umbrellas! We had a short walk in what seems to be a bustly but somewhat remote town, and then hit the road again!
It was a long, hot road between Ficksburg and Ladybrand.
After Ladybrand the veld became distressly drier and browner, with no sign of the crops for which the Free State is famous. The signs of the drought were all too obvious here. We stopped at Sannaspos (next post) and then made our way into Bloemfontein at the end of a long and increasingly hot day.
Bloemfontein was finally sighted in the distance.
You may be interested in
General Christiaan de Wet’s book on the War
A detailed account of Surrender Hill, A story from Surrender Hill, An Analysis of the Battle
Ficksburg & Eastern Free State – lovely photographs!
Sandstone buildings in Ficksburg