About Smithfield

Smithfield has a long tradition of hospitality to travellers, but these days the beds are more comfortable than those described in early accounts by explorers passing through. With its strategic position on the tourism route to unspoilt Eastern Cape Wild Coast beaches, Smithfield is often in the news. Typically, articles highlight the town's facilities, the state of the road and other information useful to tourists and locals.

Smithfield - named after Sir Harry Smith, governor of the Cape from 1847 to 52 - was founded in 1848, making it one of the oldest towns in the Free State. But its history goes back much further, with archaeological evidence of Stone Age occupation. More recently, Basotho, Boer and Brit have all contributed to the rich texture of life in the region.

Platteland Preview Arts Festival

Smithfield has a long tradition of hospitality for travellers but now we offer even more than good food and comfortable beds – a fantastic mid-winter boutique arts festival. Over the last weekend of June each year, Smithfield’s Platteland Preview offers performers on their way to the National Arts Festival a half-way stopover between Gauteng and Grahamstown plus a chance for a final technical rehearsal of work they are showcasing at South Africa’s oldest arts fest. For a whole weekend the town hosts performers, musicians and visual artists as well as guests from far and wide ...Read more

Uit vergange se dae

deur Hennie Prinsloo ~ As ‘n mens terugdink aan jou kind- en jeug-jare in Smithfield, gaan dit natuurlik uiteraard gepaard met nostalgiese en romantiese herinneringe. Gedagtes wat ook gekleur word met jeugdige verwagtinge en drome. Dan sien ‘n mens vol watervore – wat water aan elke erf in Smithfield-dorp voorsien en inwoners ieder en elk hul tuine kon verfraai en ook groente kweek. Daar was ook diegene wat groente en vrugte gekweek het vir die mark. Elke Vrydagmiddag was Markdag en is die heerlikste groente en vrugte-in-seisoen verkoop. ‘n Ou inwoner van Smithfield, ...Read more

Smithfield, the town that almost wasn't

by John von Ahlefeldt - Smithfield, so history has it, was founded in 1848. But like most truths, there’s more to it, and in fact the village founded that year was about 30 km away from the present site. The story began when Charles Halse, owner of a 1200 hectare property in a particularly attractive, hilly area of the southern Free State, had the commendably entrepreneurial idea of turning his land to account by establishing a township. Original site not accepted What seemed a sound idea to Mr Halse did not go down terribly well with certain of the more prominent locals for various ...Read more

Smithfield - Your Great Escape

Smithfield may not be the centre of the universe as some of its people would have you believe but it certainly does have a claim to being one of the most attractive and accessible small towns pretty well in the centre of South Africa – and an ideal weekend escape for the people of Bloemfontein. Halfway between Gauteng and the Sunshine Coast of the Eastern Cape and the Wild Coast, it is also on the shortest non-Transkei route between Cape Town and Durban. Vintage town with modern hospitality The third oldest town in the Free State has packed a lot of history into its 158 years. More ...Read more

Smithfield and a forgotten war

Almost buried in an oasis of trees, the farms of Beersheba holds more secrets than its ancient gables hint at. Set in the vast open plains and hills of the eastern Free State, this French mission station is 25 kilometres from Smithfield, the third oldest village in the province. A bloody past But once it was at the very centre of a battle that tore apart the community that lived at Beersheba tore apart the people living around the mission and in the wider region. It was here that a key confrontation took place between the Boer republic and the Basotho commanded by their legendary leader, ...Read more

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