Open Africa
Open Africa

Horizon Route - Open Spaces and Little Places


Ruimte Farm Begrafnis Koppie
The Ruimte Farm Begrafnis Koppie (burial hill) is a tourist attraction with a difference. Here visitors can come to see...

Museum Transgariep
Museum Transgariep is a cultural history museum specialising in the local history of the area. Distillation of Witblitz...

Van Der Post Memorial Centre and Guesthouse
The Van der Post Memorial Centre was founded in 1998 in Philippolis.  The centre consists of: A memorial garden...



Below is a list of accommodation establishments along this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Copper Kettle Guesthouse
The Copper Kettle Guesthouse is a home away from home. The house is exquisite and still has the original Oregon pine fin...

Bokpost Guest Farm
Bokpost Guest Farm provides the best the Karoo can offer in style, cuisine and panorama. The farm is ideally located in...

Digger's Lodge
Digger's Lodge is situated in the quaint mining town of Jagersfontein and offers comfortable accomodation. All room...

Hakuna Matata Guesthouse
Hakuna Matata (which means “no worries”) is located in Koffiefontein, opposite the turn off to the De Beers...

Veenwouden Guesthouse
Veenwouden Guesthouse is a charming family residence at the entrance to Jacobsdal, next door to Landzicht Wine Cellars....

Die Groenhuis Guesthouse
It’s sometimes a blessing not to know what the future has in store for you, and other times you can surely benefit...

Ebenhaeser Self-Catering Accommodation
Ebenhaeser is self-catering thatched cottages set in an idyllic scene where the wonderful stillness of the Karoo days an...

Gannabos Guesthouse
Gannabos Guesthouse offers a fully equipped, self-catering guesthouse that can accommodate four guests. Breakfast and di...

Philippolis Old Jail
Spend a night in jail! The jail is situated in Justisie Street right on the upper edge of Philippolis town. At the back...

The Elizabeth Guesthouse
The Elizabeth Guesthouse is situated in the heart of Free State, in one of the friendliest towns, Kroonstad. The guestho...

Starry Nights Karoo Cottages
Philippolis is in the centre of the country - an ideal stopover. The deviation off the N1 (from Colesberg to Trompsburg)...


Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Witblitz Festival
The Philippolis Witblitz Festival occurs in April every year in the show grounds of Philippolis. Drum majorettes, a boer...

Shalalombi Crocodiles
Shalalombi is a crocodile park located in Koffiefontein. Here visitors can see crocodiles, some game species and a numbe...

Jagersfontein Golf Club
Situated on the outskirts of Jagersfontein, the golf course has 9-holes with well-maintained grass greens and grassed fa...

GWK Landzicht Wines
An atmosphere of peaceful calm greets visitors to the Jacobsdal Landzicht Winery. Rows and rows of vineyards confirm ski...

   Arts & Crafts

Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

"I'm a full time artist and photographer doing what I love - creating beautiful things and capturing memories." Paintin...

Kgaladi Crafts Project
The ladies of the Kgaladi Crafts Project make jewellery using beads, as well as other items such as knobkieries, beaded...

Oom Japie se Huis
Several related branches of a business in Philippolis’s main street on the R717 tar road, approached from the nort...


Below is a list of environmental attractions on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Jacobsdal Historical Society
The Jacobsdal Historical Society is an active association of local community members. The society has undertaken a huge...

Cheetah Experience
Cheetah Experience provides a way for people to get up close and personal with animals which normally you would only be...

   Food & Drink

Below is a list of restaurants and other food and beverage outlets on this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Lerato Tavern
Lerato means 'place full of love'. Lerato is love - the passion, love and hospitality of its service and people. Mi...

Kosmos Café
Kosmos Café has been owned by the du Plessis's since 1994. Kosmos Cafe is situated on the main road of Fauresmith...


Below is a list of services on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

TMX Productions
TMX Productions is a sound, lighting, staging, DJ and audio visual company located in heart of central Free State. They...


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In the south-western Free State, where the Horizon Route is located, the open space is complemented by many little places. Many of the little villages originated for a specific reason that is often long-forgotten today. These villages have survived urbanisation and in some cases have even grown. Each village on the route has its own unique character and charm.

The Horizon Route allows travellers to explore these little places to learn about their history and meet the local people. Rather than rushing to get to your destination why not divert your route and take the road less-travelled, slow down, relax and see interesting sights along the way. 

In the surrounding rural landscape, golden fields of grasses and grains are dotted with cattle and sheep. Koppies interrupt the horizon at intervals. Tributaries of the Orange or Gariep River snake their way through the dry land. Here there is space, and plenty of it. The space is roofed by blue skies which are only rarely blackened by rain clouds. 

Experience the clear skies, fresh air, open roads and space of the Free State. See diamond mining, agriculture and crafters; taste local cuisine and enjoy legendary hospitality. The area gives visitors ample opportunity to walk on the open plains, hunt, fish, or ride mountain bikes.

John Philip was the son of a weaver, James Phip (later changed to Philip) and born in 1777. He left school at the age of 11 to become a spinner and weaver, and was later trained to be a preacher. In 1791, after serving two parishes, he was dispatched by the London missionaries to South Africa to involve himself in politics and mission work.

Where Philippolis is today, Philip assisted in establishing a mission station for the Khoi and the Bushmen. The added advantage of such a place was that it could double as an observation post to keep an eye on the Boers who were migrating over the Orange River illegally.

However, nothing came of either of these functions. The Bushmen, Khoi and (then) Griquas were nomadic in order to sustain their hunting needs. Due to the sheer number of Boers trekking over the river, the Orange Free State Republic government bought the area surrounding Philippolis from the Griquas. Any plans the English had of staunching the flow of Boers were never realised.

It is here in Philippolis that the Griqua leader, Adam Kok, established his command post, writer Laurens van der Post was born and Emily Hobhouse established a school of weaving. The impressive Dutch Reformed Church was the venue of the first wedding held in Afrikaans, performed by Rev. Tobie Muller.

One is acutely aware of this rich heritage in upper Voortrekker Street. Along this pine-lined street, there are inscriptions indicating the Victorian Jacobson library building, the Trans-Gariep museum, and Adam Kok’s command post and cannons. Poding Tse Rolo, the local township, is also worth a visit as it too has an interesting history.

Back in 1972, the residents of Philippolis had a sad time. Until then, cars on the highway between Cape Town and Johannesburg had passed through their town. But overnight the taps were turned off as the N1 highway was re-routed via the Gariep Dam and Springfontein, only a short yet telling distance away. The economy of the town crumbled and the five petrol stations of those days became the one of today.

In the long run, Philippolis has seen a positive side to this rerouting of the national road – serious crime is rare, property prices have remained relatively low and national monuments have remained protected and cared for. Philippolis, the oldest settlement in the Free State, has the most national monuments in the province after Bloemfontein and Bethlehem.

Like Richmond, Aberdeen and Hanover, Philippolis has a namesake overseas – in Syria, of all places! The southern Free State town was named after a missionary, Dr John Philip. The London Missionary Society sent him to South Africa with two purchased medical degrees (from Stanton and Princeton), thinking that these “qualifications” would lend him more stature.

History of Jagersfontein:

Jagersfontein is situated 110km south west of Bloemfontein in the heart of the Transgariep Tourist Region. Diamonds were discovered here in 1869 and the mine was finally closed down in 1974. The town has a great mining history which is not well known in South Africa.  

In its heydays Jagersfontein was quite a town. It boasted with five big hotels, 17 boarding houses and 34 different bars. It also had its own stock exchange, race course, golf course, public swimming pool and even a theatre society. 

Jagersfontein is indeed the oldest mining town belonging to the great and famous South African diamond and gold mining industry. Towns like Pelgrimsrust and Barberton are actually much younger.

In terms of diamonds, Jagersfontein is also very special.  It is the home of the blue white diamonds known as 'Jagger' diamonds. Famous people like Al Capone and Elizabeth Taylor owned some of the diamonds discovered at Jagersfontein. The size of diamonds discovered in the Jagersfontein mine is remarkable.  Of the world’s 20 biggest diamonds ever discovered, seven came from this mine. The two biggest diamonds discovered in the mine were the Excelsior, measuring 995 carats that was found in 1893 and the Reitz, later called the Jubilee, measuring 630 carats that was found in 1896. Both these stones were blue whites and taken up as part of the British Crown Jewels.

Several famous people were part of Jagersfontein’s history. Sir Herbert Baker the designer of the Union Buildings in Pretoria designed four buildings in the town; The town hall, the Dutch Reformed church, the Standard Bank building and the shop next to it.  Bobby Lock, the famous South African golfer’s father had a shop in the town. So also was the father of General Hertzog, with their shop known as Hertzog & Wilcocks. This Mr Wilcocks later became the administrator of the Orange Free State.

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Open Africa Routes

A route is a cluster of travel attractions, accommodation, tour operators, local artisans, guides and restaurants. It brings people together from all levels of community to promote travel to their area. You select what interests you on a route and create your own itinerary.

South Africa - Free State

South Africa - Free State

South-western Free State, South Africa: A route that explores vast open spaces, complemented by small towns or villages that pride themselves on surviving in rural remoteness.

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Key Contacts

Gillian Vermaak

Telephone: Click here
Mobile: Click here

Dr. Doreen Atkinson

Telephone: Click here


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