- Van Reenen
Van Reenen sits on the border of the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal between the towns of Harrismith and Ladysmith. It lies on the well-known N3, which connects Johannesburg with Durban, and has been regarded by many as the halfway mark along your journey.
The small town is famous for two reasons, the Van Reenen Pass and the Llandaff Oratory (The Little Church). The Pass is well known for its mist and sometimes slippery dangerous conditions and the Church for being the smallest Roman Catholic Church in the world! The Church was built by a father in honour of his son who died in a mining accident.
The Windy Corner is a definite if you are spending time in this quaint and peaceful little town. It lies just 3 km outside of Van Reenen and is a superb viewing spot which overlooks the entire area.
The Golden Gate National Park and Sterkfontein Dam are nearby attractions and the Sandspruit Conservancy offers wonderful opportunities for hiking and trail walking. This area is ideal for bird watching, including an amazing number of Raptors.
Van Reenen may be a tiny town, but the area offers many B&B’s, Guesthouses and self-catering cottages.
Things to do and see
- Llandaff Oratory Little Church
- Windy Corner
- Van Reenen’s Pass
- Bezuidenhout’s Pass
- Oliviershoek Pass
- Oaklands Eateries
- The Rendevous Restaurant
- Sandspruit Conservancy Hiking Trails
- Golden Gate National Park, 75 km
- Sterkfontein Dam, 55 km
Van Reenen receives approximately 828 mm of rain annually with most rainfall occurring during the summer months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 11˚C and 26˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between -1˚C and 20˚C.
There are daily flights into Pietermaritzburg Airport, approximately 199 km away, Johannesburg’s O R Tambo International Airport, approximately 310 Km and also into Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, approximately 295 km away, all via the R34. Car hire facilities are available at both Airports.
The town is named after Frans van Reenen, original owner of the farm where Van Reenen was established and planner of the route of the Van Reenen's Pass.
He farmed at the base of Van Reenen’s Pass and trekked his oxen inland using the paths worn by migrating animals.
A green lantern was hung at the top of the pass to signify that travellers had reached the summit as it was often very foggy. At this time, near to where the Caltex garage is today, a guard from 6 am. manned the border post until 6 pm. No movement was allowed between 6 pm and 6 am. Van Reenen Hotel was built in 1892 which in 1948 was renamed The Green Lantern Inn.
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