Bethulie is a small town 193 km south of Bloemfontein, established on 4 March 1863 and named Heidelberg; renamed after the nearby mission station in 1872 to avoid confusion with the Heidelbergs in the Cape and then Transvaal.

During the Anglo-Boer War (1899 to 1902) the third largest concentration camp erected by the British was also situated in Bethulie.


Gariep Dam

Experience the tranquility while on a sundowner cruise on the Gariep Dam. The Gariep Dam, which is the largest volume of water in South Africa, is ideal for water sports, such as fishing, boating, canoeing, rubber ducking, yachting and water skiing.

If you are a nature freak, you could visit two beautiful Nature Reserves, Gariep Nature Reserve, Oviston nature reserve and Tussen-die-Riviere Nature Reserve, where you could have a glimpse at herd upon herd of antelope roaming the Free State plains. Tussen-die-Riviere Nature Reserve also has rhino and buffalo, which are two of the great five.

Game Reserves

Bethulie has three Game Reserves in the area. These are the Tussen-die-Riviere, Oviston nature reserve and Gariep Reserve.

Burgher Monument and Graveyard

Apart from the Burgher Monument, the graveyard contains the graves of several British soldiers.

DH Steyn Bridge

The DH Steyn Bridge is a beautiful sandstone bridge near the town, spanning the Orange River at Bethulie, connecting the Free State with the Eastern Cape. It is a combined road and rail bridge, and the longest in the country (1,2km)

Dutch Reformed Church Is a stately edifice, completed in 1887 – now a national monument

Graves of Pelliser Family Graves of Pellisier Family (of whom five (5) children were buried there), are in the grounds of the Pellisier House Museum. The Rev Jean Pellisier (who died in Bethulie in 1867), was the first French missionary stationed in the town.

Grave of JJ Venter

The former acting president of the Free State Republic (1863) also the founder of the Dutch Reformed Church


Pellissier House Museum

Situated at no 1 Voortrekker street and housed in the original mission station building depicting the history of the whole Bethulie area


Patrick Mynhardt whose one-man shows featuring Herman Charles Bosman’s character Oom Schalk Lourens were very popular in South Africa. His autobiographical show Boy from Bethulie formed the basis for a book of the same name Louis du Plessis The owner of the Backstage entertainment, which produces and manages Snotkop, the famous South African Hip-hop artist. The recent video of Snotkop’s song “Dis ‘n land” was mostly filmed in the small and beautiful town of Bethulie. The young man does not only own the Backstage entertainment, but also owns “Die Ou Kar” restaurant and Karoo Pandok bed and breakfast Mzi Tyhokolo He was a contestant in the first season of the Survivor South Africa reality series, entitled Survivor South Africa: Panama Albertus Johannes Venter “AJ Venter” A former rugby player of the South African national team Mfundo Mkrola, Captain of the Bloemfontein-based Roses United.

Key Statistics 2011

Total population 2,100
Young (0-14) 24%
Working Age (15-64) 66,2%
Elderly (65+) 9,7%
Dependency ratio 51
Sex ratio 92,6
Population density 59 persons/km2
No schooling aged 20+ 7,1%
Higher education aged 20+ 13%
Matric aged 20+ 30,2%
Number of households 676
Average household size 2,7
Female headed households 38,8%
Formal dwellings 86%
Housing owned/paying off 71,5%
Flush toilet connected to sewerage 91%
Weekly refuse removal 92,6%
Piped water inside dwelling 77,7%
Electricity for lighting 95,1%