Smithfield is the third oldest village in Free State. The town lies 132-km southeast of Bloemfontein and approximately 68 kmi west of Zastron on the national road to Port Elizabeth. The Caledon River bounds Smithfield on the east and south. The district is drained by various tributaries of this river, the Vinkel and Wilgeboom Spruits being the largest.


The main social and economic functions of the town include: key regional tourist destination, general agricultural service centre to surrounding farming areas, social functions such as residence, education and medical services, and transport support services on major routes.


Sir Harry Smith, a Governor of the Cape, founded this settlement in 1848 on the farm Waterval. Archaeologically, the name Smithfield is well known because one of the most important Stone Age cultures was named after the town. George Stow, a renowned scientist, excavated a cave near Smithfield in 1877 and discovered tools from the Late Stone Age.” Gen Christian de Wet (1854 – 1922) was born on the farm Leeukop and the house has been declared a national monument.


The town and surrounding areas offer a variety of tourism attractions. The well-maintained local nine-hole golf course, dating back more than 100 years, is and is widely rated as an unusually attractive country course. 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.

The Caledon River Museum includes a display in memory of General Christiaan de Wet, an 18th century kitchen and a wool-washery dating to 1866. The museum is also home to ‘Ou Grietjie’, a muzzle – loading ship’s cannon used by the Free Staters in all the Basotho Wars. It was last used in 1868 in the onslaught on Thaba Bosiu, stronghold of Moshweshwe.

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. A Basotho War Memorial has been erected in front of the City Hall in memory of those that lost their lives in the war.

The well-known mission stations, Carmel and Bersheba, are situated in the Smithfield district.

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