Free State DestinationsWepener, Motheo Region
Wepener gets a raw deal. It's usually no more than an afterthought in literature on the Free State, possibly because of where it lies at the foot of the Jammersberg (sorrow mountain), virtually on the eastern border of the province and right next door to Lesotho and its major city of Mafikeng.
Wepener is often also mentioned in the same breath as the Caledon Nature Reserve, a pretty reserve home to numerous types of game and over 200 types of birds that also serves as a popular fishing venue. But Wepener deserves more than a cursory glance. It lies on the banks of the Jammersbergspruit a tributary of the Caledon River and is regarded as a gateway to Lesotho and is thus part of the popular Transgariep Highlands Route.
The Transgariep Highlands is a vast, semi-desert landscape in the southern tip of the Free State where karoobossies and mesembryanthemums (rather a mouthful to loosely describe a group of typical South African succulent plants, grass and shrubs) cover the barely there undulations that pass for hills. This part of the Free State is unspoilt, sparsely populated and largely unpolluted, with effortless skies and quaint little towns that welcome people with unabashed hospitality typical of the region.
Major reasons for visiting Wepener include the Street Bridge, a national monument, the Jammerbergdrif battlefield, the Town Hall, the memorial gates and the statue of Commandant Louw Wepener (no prizes for assuming the town was named after him), various arts and crafts and the Welbedacht Dam, great for sailing, boating, hiking and other water sports. Also visit the nearby sandstone bridge over the Caledon River, also a national monument.