The German capital Frankfurt-am-Main was the inspiration for the name of the Northern Free State town of Frankfort. Positioned on the Wilge River, Frankfort is surrounded by maize farms and some livestock farms.
The river, as the Afrikaans name suggests, is dotted with willow trees making the most of this water resource, and when cosmos season breaks out in late summer (around the months of February to April), the scene is particularly pleasing. It makes for great picnic spots.
Originally laid out by Albert van Gordon in 1869 on the farm Roodepoort, Frankfort’s streets were noticeably wide to enable loaded ox-wagons to make comfortable turns.
The town received municipal status in 1896. An early visitor in 1883 was Sir Johannes Brand, the fourth President of the Orange Free State. The town’s main street was duly named Brand Street.
Look out for
Watersports – fishing, boating and waterskiing – take place on the Wilge River.
In the town, there are facilities for land-based sports such as tennis, squash and golf.
Annual events that attract visitors are the Elite Wilge Marathon and raft race in February and the Wilge Makiti in October. The latter includes a cattle show, sports, music and entertainment.
There’s a picturesque caravan park on the banks of the Wilge River, the Frankfort River Resort, which also offers chalet and rondavel accommodation at reasonable rates.
The Dutch Reformed Church in the main street has an interesting history. Destroyed by fire in the Anglo-Boer War, a clock embedded in its facade nevertheless survived. The church was later rebuilt and inaugurated in 1918.
National monuments in town include stately historical buildings such as the magistrate’s office, the post office and the police station.
Stone dwellings in the locale can be explored for evidence of Stone Age existence.