Heilbron that means “source of well being” is a farming town situated in the Northern Free State. The Le Goya people were the first to inhabit this area, but years later it served as the grounds for a battle. In 1836 the Voortrekkers decided to invade the area, but Chief Mzilikazi and his people fought them off at Vegkop. This region serves as a farming district for cattle, wheat, dairy, sunflower and maize. Clover SA forms an important part of Heilbron’s history.
Game farming in the district grew to the extent that it is believed that game numbers reached an all-time high, evident in visiting tourist numbers. Due to its close proximity to Gauteng (60 km) the town became ever more popular to weekend tourists and city dwellers in need of a relaxing weekend filled with peace and quiet with lots of fresh air.
Heilbron offers exciting outdoor activities that will ensure tons of fun in the sun. Popular activities are horse riding, off road cycling, fishing, game drives, utilizing both motor vehicles and quad bikes, historical tours and affordable sporting facilities. Tourists are encouraged to visit the Eeufees Dam, there are water sports and fishing activities all year-round.
Other attractions in Heilbron :
Riemland Museum – The Riemland Museum is housed in an old Jewish Synagogue, which in itself tells the story of the Jewish influence on the history of the town. The museum tells the rich history of the early hunters in the Riemland, as well as the early pioneers and settlers.
Mother and Child Memorial – The Mother and Child Memorial commemorates the 787 Boer women and children who died between 1899-1902 in the British concentration camp at Heilbron during the Anglo-Boer War. The large cemetery serves as a stark reminder of the tragedy.
Vegkop Battlefield Monument and Museum – In 1836, the Voortrekkers fought off the local people of Ndebele Chief Mzilikazi at the Battle of Vegkop near the present town of Heilbron. This historical site boasts a monument and a contemporary museum which are both popular stops for battle field tourists.
Leeuwpoort of the Weilbachs Farms – During the Anglo-Boer War Heilbron was for a few days the capital of the Free State. One of the houses was built by a Scottish building contractor for Johan Frederik Weilbach and his wife Catharina Johanna in 1894. During the Anglo-Boer War the house was not burned down as many of the others were. Colonel Delzeal, the commanding officer in Heilbron, had given instruction that Johan’s wife and 12 children still lived in the house and that they should not be harmed. Winston Churchill visited the farm Leeuwpoort, which was used as a base for the British officers during the war. The farms are provincial heritage sites.
NG Church – The congregation of Heilbron was first established in 1874, it was seceded from Kroonstad. The sandstone building of the Dutch Reformed church was inaugurated in 1885, the cornerstone was laid by President Brand in 1880. On its grounds is a monument to the Heilbron burgers killed in the Anglo-Boer war.
Heilbron train station – Heilbron railway was first laid in 1899 and connects to the link in Wolwehoek. Later the line was extended to Petrus Steyn and Lindley. The old sandstone building is a provincial heritage site.
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