Smithfield lies amongst breathtaking mountains and picturesque landscapes and offers its visitors fresh air, peaceful surrounds, star filled evenings and a general sleepy town ambiance – all wonderful reasons to visit! Add warm hospitality from its residents and it’s no wonder this little town is slowly growing into a delightful tourist destination.
For nature lovers, the mountains are a network of trails and routes that can be explored on horseback, mountain bike or hiking. What adds to the attraction of Smithfield is its distinct possibility of snow during winter.
Not to be outdone by the beauty of the surroundings, Smithfield is also known for being the third oldest town in the province with many monuments, museums and historic buildings. Many artists who have moved to the town reside in some of these beautifully restored historic homes. The Smithfield Cemetery is one of the oldest in the Province and also well worth a visit, it is easily reached on foot at the start of the hiking trail that leads up the mountain.
Smithfield offers many forms of tourist accommodation, amongst which are bed and breakfasts, guest houses and self-catering units.
Things to do and see
- Smithfield’s Mud House
- The Red Barn Gallery
- Fresh Paint Art Gallery
- Ou Grietjie Cannon
- Basotho War Memorial
- General De Wet House
- Karoo House
- Exentrix Vintage Collectibles
- The Smithfield Caledon River Museum
- Tussen Die Riviere Game Reserve
- Slaughterhouse Hiking Trail
- Historical Smithfield Cemetery
- Helvetia Historical Church Site
Smithfield receives approximately 503 mm of rain annually with most of its annual rainfall during summer.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 13˚C and 29˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between -2˚C and 19˚C.
Smithfield was founded on the farm Waterval in 1848 and named after its founder Sir Harry Smith, Governor of the Cape. It was a vital location in 1855, as the site where a peace meeting was held between Sir George Grey and the Basotho leader, Moshesh.
An odd relic in the town is a former ship's gun named Ou Grietjie ('old Margaret'). The Gun has an unknown origin, but it was carried about the central plains for many years and used in various wars against the Sotho, and even as a threat against the Transvaal.
In 1860 the weapon was brought to Smithfield. Prince Albert, son of Queen Victoria, visited the town and at the official welcome the gun was loaded by two vetrans and the wick ignited, but again the gun did not fire. The expectant crowd grew restless, the two gunners peered down the barrel, and promptly blew their heads off.
The Gun was last used in 1868 to bombard Thaba-Bosiu during the final Basuto War.
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