Ventersburg is found on the N1 on the way from Johannesburg on the way to Bloemfontein. The R79 crosses the N1 at Ventersburg. Ventersburg is a very small town 50 km south of Kroonstad and 55 km north of Winburg. It was laid out in 1872 on the farm Kromfontein and proclaimed in 1876. Named after the owner of the farm, the Voortrekker P A Venter. It was the scene of fighting during the Basotho Wars of 1858 and 1865, and was destroyed by British forces during the Second Anglo-Boer War.
Ventersburg is located 55 km before Winburg on the way to Bloemfontein.
The beautiful Allemanskraal Dam, in the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve, is the ideal venue for birdwatching, angling and water sports.
There are hiking trails available in the nearby Bosrand Nature Reserve as well as in the vicinity of the town. The three easy routes on the farm Koolspruit will appeal to novice hikers.
The well-preserved ruins of a prehistoric settlement of the long-vanished Leghoya people can be seen on Doornberg, in the nearby Willem Pretorius Game Reserve.
Visit farms such as Strydfontein or Bundu Camp for a taste of farm life and the added attraction of 4×4 and hiking trails, swimming, birdwatching and angling opportunities.
FAUNA & FLORA
The Willem Pretorius Game Reserve
The Willem Pretorius Game Reserve is situated in the heart of the Free State with the Allemanskraal Dam (with a surface area of 2 771) forming the central part. The reserve itself covers some 12 005ha. It has a great variety of game and bird species. Among the many game species are the world’s largest herd of black wildebeest, as well as springbok, blesbok, gemsbok, kudu, red hartebeest, eland, zebra, white rhino and giraffe. There are no large predators in the park – caracal and blackbacked jackal are the two largest carnivores in the reserve. There is also a wealth of bird life, with a total of about 220 species. Martial and fish eagles and flocks of aquatic birds will be one of the highlights on the twitcher’s itinerary.
An extensive network of roads ensures excellent game viewing. Other activities include fishing, boat tours, a swimming pool, sporting facilities and picnic sites. A special feature of the reserve is the environmental education centre, controlled by the Directorate of Environmental and Nature Conservation.
Within the boundaries of the reserve there are ten fully-equipped chalets, a caravan and camping ground with ablution facilities, and a bush camp (sleeping sixteen people) with separate ablution and kitchen facilities. The contact numbers of the reserve are tel. +27 (0)57 651 4168.
Bosrand Nature Reserve
This reserve is a paradise for bird and nature lovers and also offers hiking routes and game drives. Accommodation is provided in a chalet with a “lapa” (an open, thatch-roofed enclosure) and “braai” (barbecue) facilities.
Visit the farm Rondebossie where you can view the lion, king of the beasts, and his pride, as well as many other animals. Day visitors are welcome.
Tara Game Reserve
The reserve has several eco-tourism opportunities, such as game drives and hunting facilities. Accommodation is available in a modern lodge, chalets, tents and log cabins. Tara Wildlife is situated near Ventersburg in the Free State of South Africa. Tara is set in the high lying grasslands of the Free State. This tranquil reserve has a number of animals and is a thriving lion sanctuary.
HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE
Basotho War Rampart
The Basotho War Rampart, built by Moshweshwe in 1856 as a defence against other raiders has been recreated next to the original wall, of which little remains, and is preserved as a monument to the great leader.
Dutch Reformed Church
Every small town in the Free State has a Dutch Reformed Church Building and Ventersburg is no exception. The original church, erected in 1890, was burned down by the British during the Anglo-Boer War and the present church came into use in 1913.
The police museum in Ventersburg is the only police station in South Africa which is fully restored and claims national heritage status as from 30 May 1987. This museum is the only of its kind in the Free State & one of four countrywide.
Sand River Convention Monument
The Sand River Convention monument is 15km from the town en-route to Winburg. It was at this spot that the legendary Sandriver-convention was signed between the Boers and the English proclaiming the local inhabitants independent from the crown.The Wildlife Festival Marathon is a unique marathon where the athletes run through Willem Pretorius Reserve during the annual wildlife auction. This is a qualifying event for the Comrades.
The tiny town of Ventersburg has a colourful history. Here you can see:
- The ruins of the Basotho chief Moshoeshoe’s Kraal.
- The country’s only fully-restored Police Museum.
- The remains of the Voortrekker hospital.
- The Skanskraal Monument.
- The graves of children who died in the measles epidemic of the 1830s.
- The well-preserved ruins of a prehistoric settlement.
- The Sand River Monument.
If you’re looking for a fun family outing, visit the popular Aldam Resort or the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve overlooking the Allemanskraal Dam.
Basotho War Rampart
A memorial to honour Moshoeshoe built it to protect his people against the Basothos in 1856.
Sand River Memorial Commemorates the signing of the 1852 Sand River Convention that gave the Transvaal its independence from the British.
Police museum. The police museum in Ventersburg is the only police station in South Africa which is fully restored and claims national heritage status as from 30 May 1987. This museum is the only of its kind in the Free State and one of four countrywide.
Ventersburg Police Museum contact: 057 651 5421
P.A Venter owned the farm Kromfontein until his death in 1857. His son allowed the land to be the site for a new town.