Profile of the Municipality


The Mohokare Local Municipal area is situated in the south-eastern Free State and forms part of the Xhariep district municipality. The towns in the Mohokare Municipal area are Zastron, Smithfield and Rouxville. Zastron/Matlakeng serves as the municipal administrative seat within the Mohokare Local Municipality. It is situated approximately 158 km east of Trompsburg and an estimated 181 km southeast of Bloemfontein.

Statistics by Global Insight (2008) estimated the population of Mokohare at 37 378 people living in 11 070 households. This population figure indicates a slight growth of 3% from 2001. The average household size in the municipality is 3 people per household. The gender distribution analysis of the Mokohare population reflects an inverse pattern to that of the country with females accounting for only 44% and males 56%.

The main social and economic functions of the town include: main local municipal administrative centre, regional agricultural services centre, regional social centre for health services, social functions such as residence, education and medical services, as well as transport support services on major routes. 



Zastron is situated in the South East Free State, surrounded by picturesque mountain scenery.  It is situated at the foot of Aasvoëlberg, 4 km from the R26 route between Bloemfontein and Aliwal North via Dewetsdorp and Wepener and 180 km from Bloemfontein and 70 km from Aliwal North. The surrounding mountains each have their own claim to fame.  Aasvoëlberg is crowned with a kranz known as Aasvoëlkrans and depicts the head of the Cape Vulture for which it is known to be the home of this species for many decades.  Aasvoëlkrans is also the highest point in the Free State situated outside the Drakensberg range, the height above sea level being 2200 metres.  Spitskop is a large koppie with a solid kranz on its crown.  It is similar in stature as Teebus near Steynsburg, but its peak is the highest above sea level in the Southern Hemisphere.

The area between the Caledon and the Orange Rivers was extremely fertile and revered. It was once the home of the nomadic San and was later declared no-mans land due to the many clashes between Basotho tribes and the Voortrekkers over ownership. Vegkop and Charlottenberg was the stronghold of the farmer son of Moshesh and his tribe.  Poshuli and his warriors, from time to time, raided the white stock farmers who crossed the Oranje River and settled in the area. The De Winnaar brothers, Jan and Renier, settled in this district in 1838 and had precariously made a life here until they were forced to leave due to the general insecurity of the area. They were eventually allowed back into the region in 1869 and were given a portion of land that was known as Verliesfontein. The town of Zastron developed on this piece of land and was named after Johanna Zastron, the wife of Jan De Winnaar. Zastron was proclaimed a municipality in 1881.

Tourism attractions include:

  • Anglo-Boer War Monument in front of the town’s Dutch Reformed Church.
  • A cable car built in 1957 by Charles Moss. It was used as a way of entering the mountain kingdom of Lesotho.
  • Eeufeeskloof Dam – Recreation on the water and in the sun on this well-equipped resort west of the town.
  • Eye of Zastron – A curious formation in the Aasvoëlberge.

Glen Rosa Farm

 A cave on the farm features a 5m-high, perfectly preserved polychrome San Frieze. It is one of the world’s most important pieces of historical artwork.

Hippopotamus Cave

Named for the predominance of hippo drawings in its San art, including evidence of life of the area’s early inhabitants, including pots shards, cooking implements and other relics.

Mayaputi Nature Reserve

Angling bird and game watching, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, river rafting, 4×4 routes.


The 2 072m peak and historic battle site that dominates Zastron’s eastern horizon.


Sir Harry Smith, a Governor of the Cape, founded this settlement in 1848 on the farm Waterval. It became the third town to be established in what today is the Free State.  Over the years it established itself as a source of fine quality Merino wool produced by the many sheep farmers in the area. This reputation has persisted throughout the years, with the ultimate compliment being paid to local farmers by sheep farmers in Australia upgrading the quality of their stock by buying stock from the Smithfield area. It was essentially wool that stimulated the economic growth of the town and for as long as the international wool market remained strong Smithfield thrived and attained an enviable prosperity. A worldwide setback in the price farmers were paid for their product brought serious consequences for the town and its environs, but in the mid-1990’s tourism was identified by government as a significant potential source of foreign exchange and job creation.

Both the timing as well as Smithfield`s position on the Friendly N6, between Bloemfontein and East London tourist route, were crucial for the success of its entry into this new industry.  It has gone on to entrench its popularity among visitors from all over the world.  It is situated 130 km south of Bloemfontein, only 75 km from Aliwal North and 130 km from the Gariep Dam. Situated almost halfway between Gauteng and the Wild Coast or Southern Cape coast, Smithfield offers the ideal overnight stop on a journey from the north or the south of the country. The town`s position halfway between Cape Town and Durban on the shortest (and most beautiful) non-Transkei route is a further string to its bow.

The town and surrounding areas offer a variety of tourism attractions. The well-maintained local golf course, dating back more than 100 years, is a nine-hole gem, while the tennis and bowls clubs are delighted to welcome visitors.

Hills surrounding the town are considered well suited to hiking, walking, horse riding and bird watching in relative isolation.   Blesbok and some Zebra are to be found in the open savanna.

Caledon River Museum


The well-known mission stations, Carmel and Bersheba, are situated in the Smithfield district. Their activities are represented in the museum as well as those of leading personalities such as general General Christiaan de Wet (1854-1922),the late P.G. Hoffman, president of the Free State Republic, an 18th century kitchen and the wool washery dating back to 1866 and `Old Grietjie’ , a muzzle-loading ship’s cannon used in most of the wars against the Basotho. The museum is located at 5 Douglas Street and can be contacted on telephone: +27 (0)51 683 1105 and fax +27 (0)51 683 1143.


Rouxville, one of the lesser-known towns in the Xhariep, now forms part of the Maloti Route that claims the status of the longest signed tourism route in Southern Africa spanning over parts of Lesotho, the Eastern Cape and Xhariep. The town is situated approximately 30 km west of Zastron. The settlement of Rouxville was named after the Reverend Pieter Roux who ministered to the local communities in this area. The settlement was originally formed on the farm Zuurbult by Petrus Wepener. The town was developed in 1863 on the farm Zuurbult to provide a central location where the farming community could gather to worship.

The Dutch Reformed Church that was built in 1879 by Mr. Wocke is the oldest north of the Orange River that is still in use.  The organ was imported from England and only 3 of its kind can be found in the country. The pulpit is also unique and worthwhile seeing and on the grounds of the church many monuments and gravesites dating from the Anglo Boer War can be visited.

Sterkstroom is located between Rouxville and Aliwal North has a spectacular 18m long wall of Bushman rock paintings. Baboon, eland, elephant, hartebeest, monsters, spirit world beings and much more are depicted in the paintings. Look out for the famous rain-animal of the Bushman chief Baartman as well as the smallest known painting of a buck in South Africa. Look also at the Khoe geometric motifs at the far end of the shelter. Visit the waterhole 300 m downstream where the spirit world rain-animal was believed to live.

Municipal Manager