Free State DestinationsKoppies, Northern Free State
The little town of Koppies lies roughly halfway between the towns of Kroonstad and Vanderbijlpark on the N1. It is a little farming town that began its life as a railway station near the Renoster River.
It boasts clear, starlit skies and time away from the hectic lifestyle of living in the city and its access, less than two hours from Johannesburg and roughly three from Bloemfontein, makes it a perfect weekend escape town.
Its name is a derivation of its original name, which was 'Honing Kopjes' or 'honey hills' when translated from the Dutch that apparently referred to the inundation of bees in the rocky hills near the town whilst they were trying to build the railway line back in 1904. This name was given to the town by General Christiaan de Wet and Dirk Conelis Lourens who lived here at the time.
The town's connection with Christiaan de Wet is stronger than his having supplied the dorp with a name. It was he who was largely responsible for creating the town on his former farm Rooipoort, which he donated to those who had survived the Second Boer War (1899 - 1902) fought between the Afrikaners of the two Boer Republics and the British Empire
The war left a large number of people virtually penniless. The story goes that de Wet also supplied these individuals with a means to survive by giving them a few eggs each, and a paraffin lamp with which to hatch them. At this time he was involved in the peace negotiations of 1902 as Acting State President of the Orange Free State, and the plight of individuals was possibly more obvious as a result.
The Koppies dam, just east of the town, was built during the 1960s. The Koppies area has recently been part of an exploration for coal bed methane by Badimo Gas.