Philippolis, Xhariep Region

Virtually smack bang in the middle of South Africa lies the little historical town of Philippolis, renowned for its hospitality and convivial atmosphere. It is not only considered the oldest settlement in the Free State, but Philippolis is also the birth place of Laurens Jan van der Post, renowned author, political advisor to British heads of government, and godparent to Prince William.

Philippolis initially lay right on the N1, before it was rerouted via the Gariep Dam and Springfontein, but the town, which has the highest number of national monuments in the province after Bloemfontein and Bethlehem, hasn’t suffered the loss, other than to rid itself of four of the five petrol stations that dominated the town. Philippolis began as a mission station for the Khois and Bushmen in the area, neither of whom was particularly interested based on their largely nomadic existence.

Upper Voortrekker Street is a pine-lined avenue rich in historical buildings that include the Victorian Jacobson library and the Trans-Gariep museum. And there is plenty to do both in the little town and its surrounds. The Gariep and the Waterkloof dams are two of the largest dams in South Africa. Between them runs the Orange River, which offers some wonderful fishing opportunities.

The Laurens van der Post memorial garden is worth a visit, and John Varty, well known filmmaker and conservationist, has established Tiger Canyons just 25 kilometres north west of Philippolis on the Van Der Kloof Lake in the Karoo, where the tigers roam free, and you get to view them from within a caged vehicle.

Travellers' Reviews

2 Reviews from travellers. All reviews are verified.

Verified reviewvery good

Hello, I have just looked at the information and pictures of Southern Free State, Philippolis as there is a house there that I wish to rent. However, I am living in Johannesburg and would be relocating from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Can somebody please let me know if there is a junior school there, public transport, shopping malls and bottle store, swimming pool and braai places to visit, church horse riding etc. And if we move to there could you catch a train to Johannesburg CBD and how long is that trip. Also, I and my boyfriend would need to find jobs there as we are working in Joburg, how do I find jobs - what do I search for or is anybody aware of jobs available. I am in HR but have gained experience of a variety from being a Data Capturer up to an HR Manager. My boyfriend is a Goldsmith. Please can you email me with informration.

Alicia Prins (Philippolis)

Verified reviewexcellent

Philippolis is an absolute quaint and stunning place to visit. Philippolis is rich in history. The Philippolis Old Jail as well as the Memorial Garden for Emily Hobhouse and the 'Laurens van der Post Memorial Garden' are not to be missed. At the 'Laurens van der Post Memorial Garden' you can also walk the labyrinth.

Kirsten van Vuuren (Johannesburg)

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