The following activities are available in and around Bethulie:

 Arts and Crafts
 Game Viewing
 Historical Sites

The Hennie Steyn Bridge across the Orange River is the longest road-rail bridge in the South Africa. It is the perfect place to watch the sun set and enjoy a sun-downer and to gaze at stars after dark..

Visit the Tussen-die-Riviere Nature Reserve with its  zebra and variety of antelope or the Mynhardt Game Reserve.

Sports facilities in Bethulie include swimming, tennis, golf, bowls and squash.

There are numerous hiking opportunities in the Bethulie area. There are also many areas ideally suited for mountain biking and 4x4 enthusiasts.

Bird watching, game drives, rock painting and star gazing are all available in the area.

The Tussen-die-Riviere (translated=Between-the-Rivers) Game Reserve is plush and rich in game It is located between two major rivers, the Caledon River and the Orange River also known as the Gariep River.

The nearby Gariep Dam, which is the largest volume of water in South Africa, is ideal for water sport, such as fishing, boating, canoeing, rubber ducking, yachting and water skiing.

Or you can simply go for a drive to any, or all, of the three Game Reserves in the area. These are the Tussen-die-Riviere, Oviston and Gariep Reserve).

From Bethulie you can take a drive to visit nearby Springfontein, Phillippolis, Smithfield, Burgersdorp and Aliwal North - these are all extremely significant historic places in their own right, mainly due to the Anglo Boer War.


Historical Sites
indicator Horse Monument
indicator Old Railway Station
indicator Hearse Garage
indicator Bethulie Cemetery
indicator The 1st Dutch Reformed Church
indicator The Reformed Church
indicator Lephoi Memorial
indicator Voortrekker Monument
indicator Ox Wagon Monument
indicator Pellissier House (Museum)
indicator Remains of the English Fortification
indicator Migrating Farmers Stock Camps
indicator Concentration Camp site
indicator The Adams' Well
indicator Water Reservoir serving British Horses
indicator Bethulie Concentration Camp Cemetery (Kampkerkhof)
indicator Louw Wepener Monument


Monument in honour of the Horse

Horse MemorialThis monument is situated at the western entrance of Bethulie (Springfontein / Gariep Dam road). It commemorates the role the horse played in the history of South Africa
The stone forming the base was mined near the Hennie Steyn Bridge.
It was sculpted by Laura Rautenbach. and unveiled on 23 April 1982.
Unfortunately, due to vandalism, the entire monument had to be enclosed in an iron cage.

The Pellissier House Museum

Pellisier House Museum This Pellissier museum was erected as the residence of the reverend J.P. Pellissier, the French missionary of the Paris Mission Society. The lifestyle of the period can be appreciated by visitors. Household items as well as clothes, vehicles, furniture, documents and a photo gallery are on display here.

The Pellissier House Museum, named after the first French missionary in Bethulie, houses an exhibition on the missionaries who worked here and on the history of the region.

This mission building is the oldest settler-built building still standing in the Free State.

The Museum was inaugurated on 20 July 1979.

It is located at 1 Voortrekker Street, Bethulie.

Visiting Hours: Monday to Friday 08:00 - 16:00

Saturdays and Sundays by appointment only

Ox-Wagon Monument

Ox Wagon MemorialThe Ox Wagon from the Monument Ox-Wagon Monument used to depict an ox wagon drawn by oxen and was made from molten discarded cartridge casings from the Anglo Boer War. It commemorates the 1938 re-enactment of the Great Trek.After the oxen were stolen in the nineties, the ox wagon was removed and displayed in the Pellissier House Museum, where it can still be viewed. Replicas of the oxen were made from the original mold and is now on display with the ox wagon in the museum.


Louw Wepener Monument

Louw Weppener Louw Wepener led the Free State commandos in the second Basotho war. He is honoured by this memorial where he is also buried, which was erected on his farm Constantia approximately 10 km west of Bethulie on the Springfontein Road (R715). Louw Wepener was killed while storming the Basotho mountain stronghold of Thaba Bosiu (also known as Thabo Bosigo).

Bethulie Concentration Camp Cemetery (Kamp Kerkhof)

KampkerkhofHeadstonesThis site is a sad commemoration of what was one of the largest of the camps used by the British in the Anglo-Boer War (1899 to 1902).

As there was a possibility that the area where the original concentration camp area was located would be flooded as a result of the construction of the Gariep Dam, a decision was taken to exhume, move and rebury 1 737 remains to the present cemetery location, 3 km out of town.
The original cairn and two monuments can still be seen where the new Concentration Camp Graveyard was unveiled by Ex-State President C.R. Swart in October 1996.

The Dutch Reformed Church

The Dutch Reformed Church was completed in 1887 and is now a national monument.

Burgher Monument and Graveyard

Apart from the Burgher Monument, the graveyard contains the graves of several British soldiers.

Recreational Sites

indicator The Bethulie Dam and Resort 
indicator The Mynhardt Game Reserve
indicator The Hennie Steyn Bridge
indicator Tussen Die Riviere Game Reserve
indicator Gariep (!Xhariep) Dam
indicator Gariep Nature Reserve
indicator Oviston Resort & Nature Reserve

The Bethulie Dam and Resort

It used to offer facilities for a variety of water sports and various types of accommodation for visitors such as camping, Caravan Site and Bungalows or Chalets. It is now, however, in disuse.

The Mynhardt Game Reserve (area 160 ha/395 ac), which adjoins the Bethulie Dam, was established in 1937, in which various species of game use to roam. Currentlythereare noanimals to view.

The Hennie Steyn Bridge
The D.H. Steyn Bridge or Hennie Steyn Bridge is a combined road- and rail bridge which spans the Orange River just outside Bethulie. It is 1,121 m (1260 yds) long, and 51,5 m high and thereby the longest bridge in South Africa. It is also claimed to be the longest in the southern hemisphere.

The Hennie Steyn Bridge is a beautiful arched bridge near the town, spanning the Orange River at Bethulie, connecting the Free State with the Eastern Cape. It is a combined road and rail bridge, and the longest in the country (1,2 km).

Tussen-die-Riviere Nature Reserve

The Tussen Die Riviere Nature Reserve was established in 1972 and is situated where the Caledon River joins the Orange River to the north east of Bethulie, hence the name "Tussen-die-Riviere" (Between The Rivers) Nature Reserve. It encompasses 22,000 ha.

The reserve with its wide open plains is home to large herds of blesbok, black wildebeest and springbok. Other antelope include eland, grey rhebok, gemsbok, mountain reedbuck, impala, kudu, red hartebeest and zebra, while buffalo take shelter along the bushy river banks. Warthog are always a treat to look at and small nocturnal mammals, such as porcupine, aardvark, aardwolf and bat-eared fox, make night drives and unforgettable experience.

In days gone by San (Bushmen) and Cape vultures took refuge on the rocky ledges of Aasvoëlkop. Today, only paintings and whitewashed ledges bear witness to their existence.

Majestic animals, interesting rock formations, beautiful grass plains and river gorges truly make this reserve on the southern tip of the Free State a destination not to be missed. Recreation on the reserve include game viewing, hunting and an adventurous 4x4 route. For more information contact 051 - 763 1000.

From September to the end of April it is run like any other game reserve and is open for visits daily from sunrise to sunset. During the winter months however, hunting is permitted in order to regulate the stocks of game and the reserve is then closed to the general public during the week..

Gariep Dam (previously Hendrik Verwoerd Dam)

Southwest of Bethulie is the Gariep Dam (Hendrik Verwoerd Dam), an artificial lake over 100 km (62 miles) long, with an area of 374 (44 sq.miles), which was built in 1971 by the damming of the Orange River. The fourth largest artificial lake in Africa, with a dam wall 90 m (300 ft) high and a maximum capacity of 5 958 million cubic meters (1 314 billion gallons), it is part of the Orange River Project, a large and complex irrigation scheme for the distribution of water from the river. In 1975 the 82.5 km (51 mile) long Orange River Fish Tunnel was opened. The world's longest water tunnel, with a diameter of 5.35 m/17.5 ft, it conveys water from the Gariep Dam into the valley of the Fish River and thus ensures an adequate water supply for Port Elizabeth.

The lake offers excellent facilities for water sports.
On the north side of the lake is the Gariep Dam Nature Reserve (area 36,500 ha/90,000 ac). Many species of game, including wildebeests and the largest population of springboks in South Africa can be found here. In town, next to  the western part of the park is a holiday center with various types of accommodation for visitors, sports facilities, a shopping center and a restaurant.


Maximum height above foundation
Crest length of dam
Gross storage capacity
Final area of lake formed
Construction started
Construction completed
Official opening (HF Verwoerd Dam)
Renamed as Gariep Dam
88 m
914 m
5,673.8 million cubic m
360 km²
435 km
18 November 1966
4 March 1972
1 April 1995

Gariep Nature Reserve

The Gariep Dam which is the largest area of water in South Africa, is a 54 km drive south from Bethulie along the R701. It also has a Game Reserve with antilope and other wild life.

This reserve, covering an area of about 12 000 hectares, extends from the Gariep Dam wall all along the Free State border to Bethulie. It is a reserve of contrasts, where open plains, dominated by mixed Nama Karoo vegetation, link many koppies and ridges to one another. The beautiful Karoo landscape adjacent to the water wonder-world of the Gariep Dam creates a tranquil atmosphere that could only push you into a perfect relaxing mode.

If you set your scope on green issues, then Gariep Nature Reserve has a lot to contribute. A few years ago there were less than one hundred of the beautiful Cape Mountain Zebra left in the world. During the late nineteen seventies a breeding programme was started with twelve Cape Mountain Zebra that were received from the Cape Mountain Zebra park near Cradock. Currently there are more than seventy of these animals in the Gariep Nature Reserve. Some have already been transferred to other destinations. It is also the northern point in the world where one will find Cape Mountain Zebra.

Other animals that you can feast your eyes on include the majestic kudu, gemsbok, springbok, blue wildebeest, the second largest herd of black wildebeest in the world, impala, blesbok, red hartebeest, steenbok, eland, mountain reedbuck and klipspringer. At dusk you could be lucky enough to find a few small predators such as aardwolf and bat-eared fox as they search for a juicy meal of termites and other insects. During a game drive in the Gariep Nature Reserve you could encounter herds of up to a few hundred antelope at a time. This is a thrill that you will experience at only a few places in South Africa.

For more information on the reserve, its animal and plant life, or accommodation, phone 051 - 754 0026/48