Kroonstad is said to be one of the Free State’s loveliest towns and lies on the banks of the Vals River, a tributary of the Vaal, roughly two hours’ drive from Johannesburg. It is situated in an area characterised by open spaces and an abundant variety of vegetation that makes it particularly beautiful.
It is the third largest town in the province and has approximately 24 000 residents.
Kroonstad is a quaint town that serves as a good stop over en route between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, lying as it does at virtually the halfway mark.
Today, as an important administrative, agricultural and educational centre, Kroonstad still boasts much of the inherent rugged beauty which led the Voortrekkers to establish the town where they did.
Kroonstad was established in 1855 by the Irish pioneer Joseph Orpen, and was the first city founded after the independence of the Orange Free State. While Kroon means “crown”, this was in fact the name of a horse that had drowned in the nearby ford. A lover of animals, Orpen had witnessed the incident, and named the infant settlement in honour of the unfortunate creature. Similarly, the ford in question came to be known as Kroondrift.
During the Second Boer War, from 13 March to 11 May 1900, the town became the capital of the Orange Free State, and subsequently the site of a British concentration camp to accommodate Boer women and children.Kroonstad has a range of activities to keep all members of the family entertained. The Kroonpark is a definite stop for visitors. The pools and waterslides at this impressive resort are sure to produce hours and hours of fun.
Leisure opportunities are plentiful in Kroonstad, where visitors can enjoy golf on the 18-hole course in the town, lion tours and interaction with lion and tiger cubs at the Boskoppie Lion and Tiger Park, fishing in the well stocked Vals River or on the Bloemhoek Dam, and boating on the Serfontein Dam. Horseriding, gliding and hiking trails are also available.
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