- Free State
Heilbron is a small farming community lying just over an hour’s drive south of Johannesburg. The fields surrounding the pretty little agricultural town are the site of cattle, sunflowers, maize and sorghum and Clover SA forms an important part of the town's history.
The rise in the number of game farms in the region is evident in the rising tourist numbers – the towns close proximity to Gauteng means weekends away and holidays in the countryside with fresh air, game viewing and plenty of outdoor activities at your fingertips!
The area offers hiking trails, 4×4, mountain biking, horse riding, birding, fishing and forms part of the Riemland Wine Route - a 200 km tour connecting small rural towns of Petrus Steyn, Lindley, Arlington, Sasolburg and Rosendal.
Heilbron is an historic town, with a pivotal place in Boer Settler and Boer War history. There are a few notable historical sites in and around the town which commemorate the particularly bloody battle at Vegkop and the tragedy and suffering of 787 Boer women and children who died in the British concentration.
Heilbron and its surrounds accommodation includes Game Farms & Lodges, self-catering units, a handful of B&B’s as well as a camping and caravan site near the Dam.
Things to do and see
- Vegkop Battlefield Monument & Museum
- Riemland Museum
- Mother & Child Memorial
- Riemland Wine Route
- Eeufees Dam
- Weltevrede Lion Farm
- Vredefort Dome
- Dodo Golf Course
- Emerald Casino, Vanderbijilpark
Heilbron receives approximately 651 mm of rain annually with most of its annual rainfall during summer.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 12˚C and 28˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between -1˚C and 23˚C.
In the mid 1800’s local tribes and Boer Settlers fought bitterly over the land – in 1836 the Voortrekkers decided to invade the area, but Chief Mzilikazi and his people fought them off at the Battle of Vegkop. The Boer’s finally beat back the Ndebele and Zulu warriors and officially established Heilbron in 1873. Heilbron means ‘spring of blessings’, and the town is named after the fountain which is the source of the Renoster River, and which gave rise to the settlement.
After Bloemfontein was conquered by the British forces during on 13 March 1900, Heilbron was proclaimed as the capital of the independent Boer Republic of the Orange Free State, when President Marthinus Steyn had his headquarters in the town. Only a week after the fall of Bloemfontein, Heilbron was also occupied, and President Steyn moved the capital to Frankfort, another town in the northern Free State.
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