Vryburg, or “Fort of Freedom”, was established in 1882 as the capital of a short-lived independent republic called Stellaland, established by Boers escaping the clutches of the British in the Cape Colony.
Its residents called themselves vryburgers (free citizens) and appointed their own president, designed their own flag and postage stamps. However, less than two years later, Stellaland became a British Protectorate and was later amalgamated into the Cape Colony.
Today Vryburg finds its significance as an agricultural and industrial centre halfway between two modern-day provincial capitals - Kimberley in the Northern Cape and Mafikeng in the North West province. It can also be reached via the N14 from Gauteng and is situated on the railway line that runs from Cape Town to Botswana.
Sometimes called South Africa’s Texas, Vryburg is an important producer of beef and its annual agricultural show also serves as one of the country’s largest cattle sales. Its location on the banks of the Huhudi River makes the town fertile, and crops such as maize and peanuts are grown.
There are a number of guesthouses and bed-and-breakfast properties for those who wish to stay the night in Vryburg, as well as self-catering and camping accommodation.
Look out for
A mission station called Tierkloof or Tiger Kloof was set up south of the town by the London Missionary Society in 1904. It still operates as an education institute. The stone church on the premises is a national monument.
On the farm Armoedsvlakte, eight kilometres west of Vryburg, is the Theiler Museum, which houses a collection of equipment utilised by Sir Arnold Theiler, the veterinarian who established Onderstepoort at Pretoria for animal research.
The 3000-hectare Leon Taljaard Nature Reserve on the road to Tosca is home to antelope and other game.
There is a Voortrekker Monument on the Kuruman Road outside Vryburg, erected to commemorate the Great Trek of 1935.
Vryburg’s first police station opened in 1875 in Vry Street. This national monument is now a modernised guesthouse called Die Kliphuisie.
The Kinderdam Rock Engravings can be viewed halfway between Vryburg and Madibogo.
A Concentration Camp Cemetery from the Anglo Boer War in Hartbees Road can be visited at any time of day.