Ficksburg is the Cherry Capital of the World. Situated in the scenic panorama of the Eastern Free State, along the Highlands Route, Ficksburg nestles between the foot of the Imperani Mountain and the banks of the Caledon River, the border with Lesotho. Magnificent views of the majestic Maluti Mountains form a backdrop which changes with the seasons, from the purple haze of summer to the snow-clad slopes of winter.
Ficksburg was founded in 1883 and named after General Jan Fick, Commander-General of the old Orange Free State Republic. General Fick’s responsibility was to protect the border between the then Basotholand and the Orange Free State. The government encouraged settlers by offering them land, horses, guns and ammunition in return for settling along the border of the new territory. This discouraged the Basotho from crossing the border, burning farms and stealing cattle.
Today Ficksburg is known as the gateway to Lesotho and the Katse Dam and boasts a large cosmopolitan population. Ficksburg’s economy is based chiefly on mixed agriculture, concentrating mainly on asparagus, cherries and deciduous fruit. Other crops are farmed on a smaller scale. At present there is renewed attention being paid to apples, with more farmers than ever planting apple trees.
Ficksburg is a town in the so-called Conquered Territory, 203 km east north-east of Bloemfontein and 67 km south-east of Senekal. It was laid out in 1867 on the farms Generaalsvlei, Kromdraai, Losberg and Sikonjelasberg, and became a municipality in May 1891. It was named after Johan Izak Jacobus Fick (1816-1892), Commandant-General of the OFS, who played a prominent role in the Basuto Wars of 1865-1868.
Ficksburg’s economy is based chiefly on mixed agriculture, concentrating mainly on asparagus, cherries and deciduous fruit. Other crops are farmed on a smaller scale. At present there is renewed focus on apples, with more farmers than ever planting apple trees. The district is renowned for the breathtaking sandstone formations of the mountains and many of the older buildings in and around the town were built of sandstone. Interestingly, the Union Buildings in Pretoria are built from sandstone quarried in the surrounding area. Gumtree, the small settlement just outside Ficksburg, has the tallest sandstone structure in the world, an old mill which is sadly no longer in use. Although the number of craftsmen who are able to work in sandstone is dwindling rapidly, there remain a few people who still practise this unique craft.
Held in Ficksburg, the event draws a lot of people in the area. Ficksburg presents the spectacular Cherry Festival each November. This is the oldest crop festival in South Africa, having celebrated its 49th anniversary in 2016. With live entertainment provided by well-known South African artists, festival activities include cherry tours, a golf classic, a half marathon, cherry product competitions, veteran vehicle displays, equestrian events, beer fests and a food and wine fiesta. Watch the popular ‘ready, steady, bake’ competition and see how cherry ‘mampoer’ is made. The Festival attracts approximately 20 000 tourists annually to the Ficksburg community and is one of the key local economic development initiatives in the municipality.
2018 Ficksburg Cherry Festival will begin on Thursday 15 November and ends on Saturday, 17 November
Cherry Festival Info Office Contact Details
051 933 6486
Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve
On the R70 between Ficksburg and Rosendal, Ficksburg. The Moolmanshoek Valley surrounds you by majestic mountains. A beautiful wedding venue. Our sandstone lodge provides accommodation options, to suit every travellers needs.
A happy place of endless fields of grass and mountain streams, tumbling down. Herds of game roaring on the plains. Springbuck, Blesbuck, Blackwilde beest , Oryx, Eland and Zebra, to name a few. The Reserve was declared a Natural Heritage Site because of the indigenous Bamboo which grows in the area. Experience the view from Visierskerf(2407m), Sekonjella’s hoed or the Pyramid. Explore the Reserve through our different activities including horse riding, hiking, game drives, horse cart rides, fishing, 4×4 trails, mountain biking and bird watching. For the children, running wild and free, abundant open spaces. A piece of paradise.
Having peace and quite time at night? Moolmanshoek offers luxury modern sandstone suites matching the large sandstone manor house. With 14 ensuite rooms, you may choose between Cosy, Standard and Executive suites to suit your needs
Contact Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve
FICKSBURG HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
The Pinedene Small Arms Museum – Pinedene Small Arms Museum is an accredited private museum, privately funded and located on the farm Kromdraai in the Ficksburg district of the Eastern Free State. It came into existence in 1992 when it was registered as an Institutional Member of the South African Museums Association.
C R Swart Prison – The focus of the museum is, as the name implies, on military firearms and militaria, but also included and separately displayed, is a sizeable collection of Sporting weapons. The military display consists of infantry weapons from the various conflicts in which South Africa has been involved, including weapons from the opposing forces.
Gumtree Mill – An old mill which is sadly no longer in use. Although the number of craftsmen who are able to work in sandstone is dwindling rapidly, there remain a few people who still practise this unique craft.
Ficksburg is the place to be for steam train enthusiasts and plays host to a large collection of privately-owned locomotives and rolling stock, some of which may be seen from the road traveling towards Fouriesburg.
Ficksburg is part of the Eagle Route that follows the Free State’s southern border with Lesotho, the Eagle route runs from Ficksburg to Harrismith through some of the most picturesque landscape in the country. Activity highlights include cherry picking, seeing dinosaur fossils and rock paintings, arts & craft shopping, skiing in the winter slopes, horse riding and 4X4 trips.
FICKSBURG LEISURE ATTRACTIONS
The White Mischief – which has gained fame as the only floating cigar bar in Africa. The White Mischief is a cigar boat that floats down the Meulspruit Dam and through the Thaba Sediba private nature reserve.
Franshoek Polo School – As one of the more established polo clubs in South Africa, Franshoek offers a unique polo experience. Practice chukkas are usually played three times a week and, for the spectators, sipping ice cold champagne whilst watching the game, is nearly as exciting as being on the polo field itself.
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Key Statistics 2011
|Working Age (15-64)||70,7%|
|Population density||107 persons/km2|
|No schooling aged 20+||1,8%|
|Higher education aged 20+||28,2%|
|Matric aged 20+||41,8%|
|Number of households||1,719|
|Average household size||2,6|
|Female headed households||29%|
|Housing owned/paying off||43,9%|
|Flush toilet connected to sewerage||97,7%|
|Weekly refuse removal||94,9%|
|Piped water inside dwelling||94,1%|
|Electricity for lighting||97,7%|