Phuthaditjhaba, Thabo Mofutsanyana

Phuthaditjhaba is a Sotho town in the province of the Free State. Flanked by the drama of the Drakensberg Mountains and the Maluti Mountains, Phuthaditjhaba is nestled within a part of the Drakensberg, giving the vistas around it a special kind of wonder that resonate with visitors and make for excellent photographs. On its south-eastern border lies the province of KwaZulu-Natal; while Lesotho is on the south-west of the town.

It was established in 1974 as the capital of QwaQwa, and was originally known as Witsieshoek to European settlers and Qwaqwa to locals. Its current name is a seSotho word that means 'meeting place of nations or tribes'. Long before this, though, the area was inhabited by the San, who were hunter-gatherers, living off the rich abundance of the land and infusing it with their culture and customs.

The area is one of undeniable beauty. Snow on the peaks of the Drakensberg Mountains around the town is always impressive, and transforms the landscapes. In fact, it was this snow that led to the San folk calling it Qwa-Qwa, which means ‘whiter than white’.

Because of the mountainous nature of the area, service delivery in Phuthaditjhaba is sometimes compromised. But, this is scarcely an issue when compared to the gorgeous natural surrounds and the deep, touching cultural variety. The people here are known for their friendliness and warm smiles.

Phuthaditjhaba is about 255 kilometres from Bloemfontein, and around 350 kilometres from Durban. Durban is home to the King Shaka International Airport, which is the landing base of millions of tourists from around the world.

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