Kroonstad is the third largest town in the Free State, roughly 2 hours’ drive from Johannesburg. It’s a great pit stop when travelling between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. Loved for its wide open spaces and abundance of vegetation, Kroonstad is a paradise for nature lovers.
Despite its name being symbolic of royalty (“Kroon” is Dutch for crown), Kroonstad has very humble beginnings. It was named after Voorktrekker Sarel Cilliers’ horse, who drowned in a stream here. The town lies on the willow-lined banks of the Vals River, a tributary of the Vaal.
During the Boer War, the British built a concentration camp in Kroonstad to house women and children. The Boer War Concentration Camp Cemetery offers an emotional experience where over 2000 Boer women and children were laid to rest as a result of the British scorched earth policy. Today the town supports over 110,000 inhabitants and the main industry is agriculture, specifically maize, wheat, wool, meat, and dairy products.
The town has some fine examples of Herbert Baker architecture which can be seen in the Post Office, Standard Bank, and City Hall. Don’t miss a visit to Boskoppie Lion and Tiger Reserve where you can enjoy guided tours to see lion, tiger, jaguar, leopard, and more. Kroonpark is an impressive resort with a variety of swimming pools and water slides for all ages.
Activities include fishing on the Vals River or Bloemhok Dam, hiking trails, golfing at the 18-hole Kroonstad Country Club, horse riding, and boating on Serfontein Dam.
Whether you visit for a short or long stay, you’ll find the beauty of Kroonstad extremely rewarding.