Gateway to Africa’s Eden
Modimolle is located 130 km north east of Pretoria and roughly two hours drive from Johannesburg. It is the commercial centre of the Waterberg region and is also known as the Gateway to Africa’s Eden as the town is flanked by the Nylsvlei wetland and the Waterberg Biosphere.
This is a gentle laidback town, popular with visitors heading off to nearby lodges, mineral spas, game reserves or hunting destinations. Modimolle is a tourist attraction in itself because of the huge variety of outdoor recreation options which include birding, horse riding, rock climbing, hiking, biking and hunting.
To complete this picture of abundance, visitors and residents can treat themselves to the juicy fruit and crunchy fresh vegetables on offer at the farmers' market. Modimolle particularly specialises in growing delicious table grapes, which are available at the beginning of December.
This is also a little historic town where visitors can explore ex-Prime Minister J G Strijdom’s old residence while visiting the towns local museum and the old Dutch Reformed church that the people of Nystroom built in 1889 and is now the oldest church in sub-Saharan Africa north of Pretoria.
There are many lodges, B&Bs, guest houses and hotels in and around Modimolle.
Things to do and see
- Strijdom House / Modimolle Museum
- Old Reformed Church
- Thaba Kwena Crocodile Farm
- Waterberg Meander
- Marakele 4X4 Trail
- Rgenosterpoort Hiking Trail
- Koro Creek Golf Course
- Nylsvlei Nature Reserve
Modimolle receives approximately 630 mm of rain annually with most of its annual rainfall during summer.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 15˚C and 30˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 2˚C and 24˚C.
There are daily flights into Polokwane International Airport approximately 152 Km’s away along the N1 and into O R Tambo International Airport in , approximately 171 Km’s away, also via the N1. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
The origin of the former name of the town, Nylstroom, is rather interesting and wonderful fireside story. It was in 1886 when a group of Voortrekkers, calling themselves the Jerusalem travellers, set out from the Cape Colony looking for the Holy Land. They came across a flowing river which they mistakenly concluded was the Nile, largely because it was nearby a pyramid shaped hill which they again mistook as a pyramid of Egypt, and settled along its banks some 10 000 km’s short of their proposed destination. This settlement went on to become Nylstroom (Nile Stream).
During the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), in 1901, a concentration camp was established in Nylstroom where an estimated 550 women and children died. The second-last Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, J. G. Strydom, practiced law in Nylstroom and was involved in politics from the 1920s until 1958, when he died as Prime Minister.
The “pyramid” turned out to be a natural hill which the locals regarded as holy and called Modimolle, meaning “the forefathers spirits have eaten”. This is the reason for the new name of the town, it was renamed in 2002 in honour of the Modimolle Hill.
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