Profile of the Municipality

Overview

The Naledi Municipality has also become known as “The Adventurous Weekend Destination”.  This Municipality is named “Naledi”, the Sesotho word for “star” and it is located in the eastern highland of the region and a border gate to Lesotho is just 7 km from Wepener. The municipality forms part of the central district municipal area (Motheo) within the Free State Province. The major towns that form part of Naledi are Dewetsdorp, Wepener and Vanstadensrus.

Towns of Naledi Local Municipality

Dewetsdorp

Dewetsdorp lies 75 km south-east of Bloemfontein on the R702. The town of Dewetsdorp is named after the father of the Anglo-Boer War General C R de Wet. It was laid out on the farm Kareefontein and was proclaimed a municipality in 1890. During the Anglo-Boer War the town was occupied by a British garrison after Bloemfontein had fallen. On 19 November 1900 General Christiaan de Wet attacked the garrison commanded by Major W.G. Massy, who surrendered four days later.

History and Architecture

The town is part of the Battlefields Route. One attraction is the British War Graves and Monument. The British Monument and War Graves lie on a hill at the entrance of the town from Bloemfontein and was erected in honour of the British soldiers who died during the Anglo Boer war. The Centenary Festival Monument in front of the town hall was erected in 1938 to commemorate the centenary of the Great Trek. The Twins Memorial was erected in the grounds of the Dutch Reformed Church in honour of a set of twins who both lost their lives during the Anglo-Boer War. There are also war graves of British soldiers in the English cemetery. The Morojaneng Ethiopian church has its own unique architecture and old history.

Adventure and Sport

The town has a beautiful 9-hole golf course.  Dewetsdorp is the home of the OSRAM Total Car rally which is held annually in August.  There are various hunting farms in the district. The Red Hill Hiking Trail is also a popular tourist attraction.

Wepener

The town was founded in 1867 on the banks of Jammersbergspruit, a tributary of the Caledon River, and named for Louw Wepener who was killed in 1865 while trying to storm Moshweshwe’s stronghold of Thaba-Bosiu in the Free State’s second war against the Basotho. During the Anglo-Boer War a British garrison of 2000 men under Col EH Dalgety was attacked by General Christiaan de Wet at Jammersdrift on the Caledon River. The siege lasted 17 days – until reinforcements arrived on 25 April 1900 to end the battle in favour of the British.

The district of Wepener was therefore the scene of many battles, raids and skirmishes during the early 19th century. Many graves, mostly without identification, still exist as reminders of the events in the valley of Jammersbergspruit during this stormy period.

Adventure and Sport

The Caledon Nature Reserve is about 15Km south of Wepener on the R701. It covers an area of 2300Ha.The reserve can be contacted on telephone +27 051 583 1920.  The Caledon River flows through the reserve, and the Welbedacht Dam is located in the southern region of the reserve. Its 2 300 ha has an almost tangible atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Apart from the splendid views and game such as black wildebeest, blesbok, springbok and zebra, the reserve is notable for its beautiful mountain vegetation. The fish eagle reigns supreme here and nearly 200 species of bird have been recorded, a large number of which are water birds.

Two floating bush camps serve as overnight spots for hikers and canoeists. The one camp is, however, only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles. Each camp can accommodate 16 people on four floating decks. On the shore there is a lapa with barbecue facilities, benches and tables and ablution facilities. Fishing is the main attraction. The river supports barbel, mudfish, yellowfish and carp. Record carp is regularly caught here. Canoeists and hikers are welcome.

4×4 Enthusiasts are regular visitors to the region. The 4×4 trail in the area is organized from the Lord Frasers Lodge, 4×4 Getaways to Lesotho (Malealea Lodge) can easily be arranged. There are several hiking trails in town, such as those in the Caledon Nature Reserve.

Archaeology and Paleontology

San Rock art can be viewed on Ventershoek Farm.

History and Architecture

  • Louw Wepener statue in front of Wepener City Hall
  • Thaba Bosiu Memorial stone at the entrance of the City hall
  • Jammerbergdrif Battlefield site near the Caledon River

  • The sandstone Dutch Reformed Church, in Kerk Street
  • The sandstone street Jammersberg Bridge over the Caledon River has been declared a national monument.

Van Stadensrus

The town of Van Stadensrus was established in 1920 and was named after the founder, Mr. M. H. van Staden. Van Staden owned the farm on which the town was built. The town is located between Wepener and Zastron and is one of the frontier towns on the border of South Africa and Lesotho. Its close proximity to the Egmont and Van Stadensrus dams guarantee continued entertainment.

Other places of interest include:

  • Traditional dancing
  • Anglo Boer War route
  • Egmont Dam
  • Van Stadensrus Dam
  • Birding