Springfontein, Xhariep Region

The little town of Springfontein, lying in what is largely farming country, derives its name from an artesian well on the original farm Springfontein.

Despite the fact that the little farming community today suffers from something of an inferiority complex and isn’t exactly ‘on the tourist map’ so to speak, it used to serve as an important railway junction between Gauteng and the Eastern Cape. With the decrease in the number of trains and trucks through Springfontein its growth came to a rather abrupt halt, and today it is given over to mixed farming and an outdoor lifestyle, worth a stopover if only for the number of Anglo-Boer War historical sites, which include a concentration camp just east of the town. The concentration camp’s cemetery houses some 700 Boer and British victims’ graves.

Springfontein does still serve as an ideal place to overnight, roughly 140 kilometres south of Bloemfontein and about 80 kilometres north of Colesberg, and as an aside, truckers still regard the local garage as having some of the best facilities in the country - thus a good place to top up your tank.

De Bome is also worth a visit. The house next to the concentration campsite was where Emily Hobhouse, the Cornish woman who campaigned for better conditions for Boer women during the Boer War, stayed during her visits to Springfontein.

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