The small town of Brits is located about 50 kilometres from Pretoria on the way to Rustenburg. It was founded in 1924 on the farm, Roode Kopjes, owned by Gert Brits, and was given its first boost a year later when the Hartbeespoort Dam was filled.
Benefiting from the irrigation afforded by the dam, Brits became a booming agricultural area, where citrus, wheat, tobacco and vegetables flourished. Today it is also the site of varied industry and also profits from mining in the locale, notably platinum.
Proximity to the Hartbeespoort Dam further gives Brits access to a wide range of tourist amenities spanning adventure activities, water-based pursuits, animal and cultural attractions and shopping. It is also relatively close to the Vaalkop Dam Nature Reserve, about 54 kilometres away, but worth the fuel for a chance to see about 340 recorded bird species. Picnics, walks, cycling and canoeing and fishing on a local dam are some of the other activities to be undertaken here. There’s a camping site too.
Look out for
The Margaret Roberts Herbal Centre is located in Brits, established by the woman who is renowned in South Africa for her research into herbs and their health properties. You can purchase herbal plants and herbal products, or enjoy a light lunch of tea in the magnificent gardens. It is open on Wednesdays and the first Saturday of the month.
The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre, formerly known as the De Wildt Cheetah Centre, is a highly rated educational experience. The centre was founded by Van Dyk to breed endangered cheetah species. Guided tours are informative and a highlight is seeing a cheetah at full racing speed when exercised three times a week.
There’s no shortage of golf clubs in Brits – choose from the Brits Golf Club, the Sandy Lane Golf Club, the Magalies Golf Club and, closer to Hartbeespoort Dam, Pecanwood Golf Club.
Le Croc Crocodile Breeding Farm and Tannery offers the tourist insight into how threatened, wild crocodile populations were saved by commercial utilisation of crocodile products in a captive breeding environment.
A short distance east of the town, on the Silkaatsnek Road, is the Vredesboom or Peace Tree, a karee tree under which a peace treaty in the Transvaal Civil War was signed after the Battle of the Crocodile in 1864.