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Trip Planner Africa  /  South Africa  /  Free State  /  Harrismith

Harrismith

4.3
Harrismith is a large town in the Free State province of South Africa. It was named for Sir Harry Smith, a 19th century British governor of the Cape Colony. It is situated by the Wilge River, alongside the N3 highway, about midway between Johannesburg, about 300 km to the north-west, and Durban to the southeast. The town is located at the junction of the N5 highway, which continues westward towards the provincial capital Bloemfontein, some 340 km to the south-west. This important crossroads in South Africa's land trade routes is surrounded by mesas and buttes. It is located at the base of one of these called Platberg (i.e. "flat / flat-topped mountain" in Afrikaans).HistoryThe town was founded in 1849 and named after British Governor Harry Smith, who tried to persuade the Voortrekkers not to abandon the Cape Colony.The town was initially laid out by Robert Moffat about 25 km from the present location, in present-day Aberfeldy on the Elands River. That site however proved to be deficient in water and Harrismith was shifted to its present site in January 1850. Twenty-four years later it became a municipality and during the diamond rush at Kimberley, the town became a busy staging post on the Natal transport route. As a direct result of this, hotels, stores and public buildings sprang up.
Harrismith is in Free State. Use our South Africa online travel route builder to arrange your visit to Harrismith and other destinations in South Africa.
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