Kroonstad, Northern Free State

Despite its allusion to royalty (kroon is Afrikaans for ‘crown’) Kroonstad has far more humble beginnings, rumoured to have been named after a horse belonging to one of the Voortrekker leaders - the jury is out as to whether it was Sarel Celliers or Adriaan de la Rey - who may or may not have met with an accident in a stream named Kroonspruit.

Notwithstanding this, Kroonstad is said to be one of the Free State's loveliest towns and lies on the banks of the Vals River, a tributary of the Vaal, roughly two hours’ drive from Johannesburg.

Kroonstad lies in an area characterised by open spaces and an abundant variety of vegetation that makes it particularly beautiful. Kroonstad is a quaint town that serves as a good pit stop en route between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, lying as it does at virtually the halfway mark. The fine examples of Herbert Baker architecture such as the Post Office, the Standard Bank building and the City Hall, make a visit here almost obligatory.

Kroonstad offers an array of activities that include flea markets, a tea garden, fishing on the Vals River or at the Bloemhok Dam, walking trails and game viewing in Boskoppie game reserve.

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