Philippolis is located 65 km’s from Colesbur and 56 km’s from Trompsburg. It was founded in 1823 as a station of the London Missionary Society and became a municipality in 1862. Named after Dr John Philip (1775-1851), Superintendent of the London Missionary Society, who selected the site.

Philippolis is part of the Kopanong Local Municipality is a Category B municipality situated within the Xhariep District of the Free State Province. It is the largest of the three municipalities in the district, making up almost half of its geographical area.
Basic agricultural products are exported from the area for processing and re-imported into the area as consumer products. Historical events that took place in the municipality, aspects of the natural and man-made environment and local activities may form the basis for promoting tourism as a significant economic activity.
Some of these events, and man-made and natural environment aspects are: ‘Lake Gariep’ and the Gariep Water Festival; the game reserve at Lake Gariep; Jagersfontein Mine; the ‘Tiger Project’ in Philippolis; the Orange River Ravine from the Gariep Dam wall to the PK le Roux Dam wall; battlefields of significant battles conducted during the Anglo-Boer War, e.g. Mostert’s Hoek; Philippolis ‘Witblits’ Festival; historical buildings in Philippolis, e.g. the Dutch Reformed Church, library, old jail, the house where Lourens van der Post was born, Adam Kok’s house (the Griqua leader) and a kraal and structure where gunpowder was kept; and Fauresmith horse endurance run.
The name is a Sesotho word meaning ‘meeting place or where people are invited’. The name earmarks unity and seeks to encourage cooperation.

Area: 15 645km²

Cities/Towns: Bethulie, Edenburg, Fauresmith, Gariep Dam, Jagersfontein, Philippolis, Reddersburg, Springfontein, Trompsburg, Waterkloof

Philippolis Tourism

Take a trip up past Philippolis to visit the tigers at Tiger Canyons on the Van Der Kloof Lake in the Karoo. The Laurens van der Post Memorial Centre, the Emily Hobhouse Memorial and the Old Jail are other attractions worth seeing.

Tiger Canyon

Tiger Canyon is located in the Great Karoo, just 25km from the pastoral town of Philippolis in the Free State Province of South Africa, on the banks of the Van der Kloof Dam.

The beauty of the Karoo occupies an important place in the spiritual psyche of South Africa. Many of South Africa’s great artists originate from, or were inspired by, the Karoo: the playwright Athol Fugard’s Road to Mecca was a study of the famous Nieu-Bethesda artist Helen Martins, while our own town of Philippolis was home to world-renowned author Laurens van der Post. It is a place of old folktales inspired by the ancient landscape.






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Laohu Valley Reserve

The Laohu Valley Reserve is a nature reserve located near Philippolis in the Free State and near Vanderkloof Dam in the Northern Cape of South Africa. It is a roughly 350-square-kilometre private reserve.



Key Statistics 2011

Total population 950
Young (0-14) 29,3%
Working Age (15-64) 59,1%
Elderly (65+) 11,6%
Dependency ratio 69,2
Sex ratio 89,2
Population density 25 persons/km2
No schooling aged 20+ 10,6%
Higher education aged 20+ 9,9%
Matric aged 20+ 32,7%
Number of households 298
Average household size 3,1
Female headed households 46,6%
Formal dwellings 99,3%
Housing owned/paying off 57,7%
Flush toilet connected to sewerage 80,5%
Weekly refuse removal 99%
Piped water inside dwelling 74,5%
Electricity for lighting 99%