There is a lot of open space around Phillipolis and a lot to do if you want to do it all in a sort of lazy, slack style. If you want to get around the roads are great and there is a lot to see. We stayed in a cottage rented via “Oom Japie se huis” and were put up in Sir Laurens van der Posts old house, complete with Nguni Cattle skins presented by Mangosutho Buthelezi, adjacent to an old church and maze.
It’s a small Free State town, which started life as a missionary outpost, Adam Kok the Griqua leader settled here and his house is still in the centre of town. We noticed interest from major estate agents and believe that the town will become a “weekend” destination for the wealthy, not bad if they put something back into development of the local communities.
One could spend a lazy winter weekend here but we were bitten by the explorer bug and had to explore the surrounds. After a stint at Jagersfontein where we viewed the mining excavations we then went through to Fauresmith where a train line actually went through the town. We then made our way through to Koffiefontein where some remnants of the WW2 Italian POW camp have survived in the form of murals of Mussolini painted by Italian prisoners ( interestingly enough BJ Vorster also spent time there as a prisoner), there is also a well preserved Boer War blockhouse, sadly fenced off to prevent damage from vandals.
By this stage we were ravenous and stopped for lunch in a quaint little roadside “diner” where each local stopped to greet us before going to watch rugby in the sports bar. Duly replete we made our way back to Philippolis in time to view the old powder keg situated on the outskirts and relax in the cottage with a book until moving on to dinner.
Ours is a country with diverse cultures and a rich history, well worthy of exploration, the roads are good and we made good time, in two short days we saw a lot and enjoyed ourselves. The trip home was long and as we hit the “big smoke” that is GP we wished that we had stayed a bit longer.