Free State DestinationsChristiana, Lejweleputswa
Set on the banks of the Vaal River, 70 km downstream from the Bloemhof Dam, the town of Christiana brings smiles to the faces of visiting Danes for whom Christiana is a semi-utopian community declared a 'free state' in 1971 in Denmark; a city that make its own laws and raises its own taxes – a 'social experiment' of sorts.
Whilst the Danish Christiana is only 40 years old, the Free State's Christiana has been here since 1869. It too began as a community that sprung up on the farm Zoutpansdrift. But this community was not a group of hippies intent on an alternative lifestyle. It evolved as a result of diamond digging in the area.
Christiana, named after the only daughter of President Pretorius (son of the more famous Voortrekker, Andries Pretorius), lies dead centre of three provinces: the Free State, Northern Cape and North West. Kimberley is 120 km south. As such it serves as an automatic stopover town; a town through which to pass and perhaps stay awhile.
Christiana even boasts its own mineral spring, discovered years ago when a goat herder returne done day talking of acidic smelling black water bubbling out of the earth. Today the Protea Hotel, just three kilometres out of town, features a natural heated mineral pool as part of its spa, and the Aventura Vaal Resort has a hot mineral spring and access to game viewing.
Visit the Christiana Diggers Museum to find out all the history of the town's diamond past, and the sinking of the Digger's Bell. The Vaal River serves as an excellent water sports venue whilst Stows Kopje, a national monument, is the site of prehistoric rock engravings.