The Heritage History & Red Wine Tour to Fouriesburg
We do provide bottles of water in the vehicle for your refreshment. All our vehicles are air conditioned and comfortable and we carry the necessary permits and authorities, Personal liability insurance and Medical Evacuation insurance for your safety in the unlikely event of needing these. Our drivers are well experienced in the conditions you will be driven through, are knowledgeable about the culture and places you will go to and they are certified with their Public Drivers Permits.
In the light of a very busy day ahead, the Tour departs from Clarens early. Driving in our luxury 12 Seater bus on the R711 towards Fouriesburg, the 35 km trip is one of the most scenic drives in the area. The road is filled with breath-taking views of sandstone outcrops and valleys and the mountains in Lesotho, that are a photographer’s delight!
Our first stop will be at Surrender Hill. It commemorates where the Free State Boer Commandos surrendered to British troops on 31 July 1900. More than 4,300 Boers laid down their arms and were sent to India as prisoners. Surrender Hill was proclaimed a national monument in 1986.
We now follow the route to visit Queen Victoria, one of the largest freestanding sandstone formations in the Free State. The profile of the formation looks like the silhouette of the good lady herself!
We are now heading for the next stop, Union House. The house was originally built in the 1870’s and was burnt down twice during the Anglo Boer war. Union House was beautifully reconstructed and restored in the traditional style to commemorate the signature of the Union of South Africa on its front lawn on 31 May 1910. To commemorate peace between the Boers & British, President Brand of the Free State, planted two oak trees on the front lawn to symbolize the Union between Afrikaans and English inhabitants.
We also pass by Destiny Castle, built in a medieval style entirely from sandstone is perched on the top of a sandstone mountain. Building started in the seventies and was finished thirty years later.
Stopping at Jenlees Country Shop, we have almost reached Fouriesburg. In 1891 it was decided to establish a service to new settlers and negotiations were held with Mr Christoffel Fourie (known as Rooi Stoffel after whom Fouriesburg is named), and his 146 morgen farm ‘Grootfontein’ was bought. During the Anglo Boer War, it was declared the capital of the Orange Free State Republic – a proclamation yet to be rescinded!
The little town of Fouriesburg lies just 10 kilometres from the Lesotho Border. Surrounded by glorious mountains, Fouriesburg lies in the so-called Brandwater Basin, formed by the Witteberge (west), the Rooiberge (north) and the Maluti Mountains.
The Dutch Reformed Church (Brand Street), sitting majestically on an enormous town square, was built in 1893. The sandstone church was built on the site of the graves of those who fought with Paul Kruger during the Basotho wars. The cornerstone was laid on 31 Dec 1892. The church was inaugurated in 1894 and the congregation ceded from Ficksburg in 1894. The imposing Church, with a magnificent inside, has a different façade on each side.
The Block House, a remnant from the days of war, is situated in the church ground. The galvanised iron blockhouse (one of the types used by the British Army), can be seen in the south-west side of the church grounds. It originally stood at Retiefsneck but was re-purposed to be used as a store room on a farm. In 1980 it was moved to the church ground. Also in the church grounds is the Burger Monument to the men who lost their lives during the Anglo Boer war.
The Fouriesburg Town Hall (Martin Street) is situated across the road from the Municipal Offices and is a beautiful example of sandstone architecture. The cornerstone of the building was laid in 1926.
The Old Magistrate’s Building (Reitz street) was built in 1936. The Methodist Church, now home to the United Church, was built in 1911. This is a multi-denominational church serving religions such as Anglican, Methodist and Catholic. Lastly, there is St Mary’s (Fleck Street), the little Anglican Church.
The Intermediary School (Steyn Street) was originally named ‘Die Goewermentskool’. The original building was first used in 1903.
President Steyn House (cnr Du Preez & Robertson) was home for the President of the Orange Free State Republic, Marthinus Theunis Steyn, during the Anglo-Boer War. Theunis Steyn, and wife Tibbie, are depicted in photograph right.
Die Ou Pastorie (Rectory in English) on the corner of Heyns & Noorder streets was built in 1896 and is considered to be one of the most attractive and pleasant sandstone dwellings in Fouriesburg. Now run as a guesthouse.
All of the above are heritage sites.
Maxine Kroukamp is the owner of Lemon Tree Lodge (6 Reitz Street). The delightfully quaint sandstone cottage was built during the Boer War and was the 6th property built in Fouriesburg.
The Fouriesburg Cemetery is where many of the town’s leaders are buried. The earliest grave is that of J C van den Berg who lived from 1818 – 1896.
Also in this cemetery is the grave of the first preacher of the NG Church, Michiel Heyns (left). The other picture is that of a single British war grave of Bombr.F.H.Owen. In the light of the war action in this area, it is surprising to find here only one grave for a British soldier.
Next we are going “gift” shopping at Doherty Sentrum for Arts and Entertainment (37A Reitz Street). Various businesses such as restaurant, art gallery, home crafts, coffee shop and gift shop and The Swedish Rooster gallery are located in the centre.
Almost at the end of our tour, we are now going to shop at The Orange Apple Country Shop and Tea Garden (28 Theron Street). This is a country shop and tea garden for crafts, gifts, gift boxes, art, clothing, jewellery.
Our last and very popular stop is at the Fouriesburg Country Inn (17 Reitz Street), a sandstone and Oregon pine building, was established in 1892 and revamped in 2016.
With 127 years of history within its walls, this is where we now go for the best Belgian waffles in town. Searching for a decent red wine, we are going to explore their underground cellar which dates back to early 1900’s. The ladies bar is known as the Clock & Train and boasts historic train memorabilia.
In the Inn’s cosy lounge, enjoying a glass or two of red wine or a drink or two from the Inn’s Clock & Train Bar around the warm log fire in the Inn’s lounge, our Heritage Sandstone & Red Wine Tour to Fouriesburg is concluded and we are now ready to return to Clarens. We hope you enjoyed this tour of discovery with us.