Klerksdorp – it’s not really the name on everybody’s lips when it comes to great getaway destinations, but if you take a closer look, Klerksdorp definitely has something going on!
Not only is this North West town the birthplace of Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, but it is also rich in South African cultural heritage.
It is the site of several Boer monuments and old battlefields, as well as gold mines and a spectacular nature reserve. In its early history, it nearly became a second ‘Johannesburg’ but the gold rush was short-lived.
Klerksdorp is not just a ‘dorpie’ in the middle of nowhere. It’s a must-see destination especially for South African locals who will learn a lot about their history from the town.
While Magaliesberg and Harties are the most common go-to destinations for weekend getaways, it’s time to take a sho’t left towards Klerksdorp in the North West province, just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the big city of Johannesburg.
Here are 5 fab reasons you should take a trip to Klerksdorp:
1. Visit a museum that was once a prison
The Klerksdorp Museum, located in the suburb of Pienaarsdorp, offers a glimpse into early town life and social as well as geographical history of the Klerksdorp area and wider province.
The beautiful sandstone building, on the corner of Margarieta and Lombard streets, dates back to 1891 and was once a prison built in response a rise in crime rates after the discovery of gold in 1885. Today, the building houses archaeological and geological exhibitions, as well as a variety of displays based on the region’s cultural and agricultural past, as well as the town’s heritage.
2. The Oudorp hiking trail
The 12 km trail winds its way through the oldest parts of the town. Visitors can see the remains of prehistoric kraals and Voortrekker families. The trail includes the Goudkoppie (‘Gold Hill’) mentioned below.
3. Goudkoppie (‘Gold Hill’) is the city’s latest tourist attraction
Goudkoppie Hill is a Provincial Heritage Site is situated near both the N12 highway and the Johannesburg-Cape Town railway line. The hill is the site of the remnants of 19th-century mining. There are also the remains of Sotho and Tswana homesteads and stone-age tools scattered across the hill.
Visitors can explore a replica of a British blockhouse used in the second Anglo-Boer War.
4. Stay at a carnival-themed hotel
If you’re tired of the same old dull and dreary accommodation, then Rio Hotel, Casino and Convention Resort is your best bet. Decorated in bright, vibrant colours from the lobby right through to the rooms, Rio is a carnival-themed hotel inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s annual event, offering a fun-filled escape from everyday life for the whole family.
Grab a bite at one of the many tempting restaurants on the property, including the Karamba Grillhouse (a treat for meat lovers) and a delightfully quirky cow-themed restaurant called Moo Bar for cocktails and snacks at any time of the day. Rio also features go-kart rides on a 500m-long rack track, a fully kitted out casino and children’s entertainment facilities. Book at www.riocasino.co.za.
5. Spot antelope and bird life at Faan Meintjies
Faan Meintjies is ideal for a day trip in Klerksdorp. With a variety of different bird species (including the chestnut-backed finchlark, the melodious lark, and the spotted eagle owl) that call the reserve home, Faan Meintjes is considered the ideal spot for serious bird-watching and casual visits alike.
There are also 41 species of large mammal to look out for, including Oryx, waterbuck, impala and red hartebeests, as well as other Acacia bushveld species such as giraffe. That being said, there are no large predators within the reserve.