Harrismith is a small, charming country town, founded in 1849, but discovered by tourists only recently. Visitors remark on its cleanliness, and the friendliness of its inhabitants.
Harrismtih is the ideal destination to break a long trip, hold a conference or escape from the stresses of city living and recharge batteries in tranquil surroundings and excellent facilities.
Indulge in open air hobbies like birding, biking, 4x4, hiking, climbing, golfing, history, water sport and lots more.
The town is well known for its factory shops, gardens (both domestic and wild flower gardens), golf course (the oldest in South Africa) and links with the South African War, with close by battle sites, blockhouses and a military cemetery.
There are also Boer, Brit and sandstone architecture to be seen.
Activities include trout fishing, water sport on the Sterkfontein Dam (the third largest dam in South Africa), bird watching and visiting well stocked game farms.
The Drakensberg range and Maluti Mountains provide a spectacular backdrop to Harrismith.
Day visit opportunities include: Royal Natal Park, the base of the Drankensberg Sentinel, Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Basotho Cultural Village, Boer War battlefields and hiking trails.
CraftsDistinctive southern African curios anf arty things are available at Marqwahouse.
Debora Retief GardenA 250 million-year-old, 33m fossilised treelies in this garden next to the town hall.
Golf coursesThe 18 hole course is the third oldest in South Africa.
Harrismith Wildflower GardensFounded in 1967 as a botanical garden these contain about 20% of the Drakensberg region's flora.
KerkenbergThe Voortrekkers camped in the area, whilst their leader, Piet Retief, negotiated with the Zulu leader Dingane. After receiving reports of what the Voortrekkers interpreted as successful negotiations Rtief's daughter wrote his name, and the date, which was also his birthday, on the rock where they held a church service.
MuseumA small community museum in the Market Hall at the back of hte Town Hall.
PlatbergThe 2 394m 'flat mountain' is Harrismith's landmark. A famous race, claimed by some to be the toughest in South Africa.
President Brand ParkA picnic area along the tranquil banks of the Wilge River.
Sterkfontein DamThe third largest dam in South Africa, and unusual as practically all the water is pumped up the escarpment from KwaZulu-Natal. Built before the Lesotho Highlands water scheme was developed, this was a vital source of water for Gauteng.
SwinburneNow looking insignificant compared to larger brothers, the second oldest bridge in the Free State, a National Monument, spans the Wildge River. At the official opening in 1884 it was claimed that, as it wat the furthest of its kind towards the interior, it marked a distinct advance of the forces of civilization.
Town HallA graceful sandstone and brick building built in 1907, and a National Monument.
Township ToursSelf drive day tours or overnight stays enable visitors to experience what was described in the dark days of the early 1990s as a township which was a haven of peace.
Van Reenen Llandaff OratoryNational Monument which seats eight people, and was built in honour of Llandaff Matthew who tragically lost his life in an act of bravery in a coal mining disaster.