- Free State
Free State’s Diamond in the Rough
Harrismith is a typical Free State town situated almost exactly halfway between Johannesburg and Durban. It is here that many travellers between the two cities make their midway stop to fill up both on food and fuel.
Despite the town mostly being known as a halfway-house stop, tourists have recently discovered that the quaint farming town is the ideal destination to escape the stresses of the city and recharge your batteries, take a 48 hr break from a long trip or even hold a conference. The town is perfect for indulging in outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, fishing, golfing or 4x4 trailing.
Full of history, Harrismith is well known for its links to the Anglo-Boer War. The Town Hall is a national monument, a stunning sandstone and brick building built in 1907. The town also boasts a military cemetery, old blockhouses and nearby battle sites.
There is plenty to do in and around the town from watersports at SA’s third largest dam to shopping for crafts at Marqwahouse. Visitors often remark on the friendliness of the locals and with plenty of comfortable Guesthouses and B&B’s available there is no good reason not to spend a night or two.
Places to Visit
Things to do and see
- Basotho Cultural Village
- Community Museum
- Harrismith Wildflowers Garden
- Debora Retief Garden
- Aansluit Mountain Bike Trail
- Bald Ibis Hiking Trail
- Maluti Cave Hike
- Namahadi Pass
- Bezuidenhout’s Pass
- Brandon’s Pass
- Van Reenen’s Pass
- Llandaff Oratory
- Sterkfontein Dam & Nature Reserve
- Golden Gate National Park
- Harrismith Golf Course
Harrismith receives most of its annual rainfall during the mid-summer months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 13˚C and 26˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 0˚C and 15˚C.
There are daily flights into Johannesburg’s O R Tambo International Airport and Durban’s King Shaka International Airport, the two closet airports to Harrismith. Car hire facilities are available at both Airports. Johannesburg is approximately 272 km away via the N3 and Durban is approximately 301 km away via the same N3.
The town of Harrismith was founded in 1849 and was named after Sir Harry Smith, a former British Governor of the Cape Colony who tried to persuade the Voortrekkers not to abandon Natal.
The Free State town also served a major British Operations Base during the Anglo-Boer War.
The town was initially laid out about 25 km from its present location, but the site proved to be deficient of water and Harrismith was moved to its present site in January 1850. The town of Ladysmith, about 90 km west of Harrismith, was named after Sir Harry Smiths wife.
From our gallery
42nd Hill developed out of an informal settlement based near Harrismith. There are many soup kitchens on 42nd hill that provide food for children unable to afford their own. The Harrismith annual “Platberg Mountain Race” originated in…More
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