Mahikeng, North West
Did you know?When Mafikeng was relieved after the siege, Londoners celebrated in the streets as they did 50 years later on VE Day.
Mahikeng – 'the place among rocks' – is the capital of the North West province and a predominantly rural region comprising hundreds of small villages that are home to 300 000 residents.
Frontier clashes between the British-controlled Cape Colony and the Boer-run Transvaal Republic led to Mahikeng (then known as Mafikeng) becoming known around the world. During the South African War (also known as the Anglo-Boer War) of 1899 a small British garrison under the command of Colonel Baden-Powell held out for 217 days against surrounding Boer forces during the Siege of Mafikeng. The efficiency of young cadets during the siege led to the formation of the Boy Scout movement.
Today Mahikeng is a vibrant city that proudly shares its history, culture and wildlife with visitors.
History buffs will delight in South African War exhibits at the Mahikeng Museum and the Kanon Kopje Fort. A monument honouring the Barolong people who died during the Siege of Mafikeng stands near the Mahikeng Siege Cemetery.
You can also learn more about journalist, human rights campaigner and translator Sol Plaatjie at a number of sites across the city built in his honour.
Keen to get a glimpse of wildlife? The 4 600ha Mafikeng Game Reserve – a white rhino breeding facility – borders the Scout Centre of Excellence for Nature and Environment, and Manyane Game Lodge is home to crocodile and lion. To the west, Botsalano Game Reserve offers a third game-viewing option.
To the east lies the inland diving venue of Wondergat where a vast underwater cave network lures divers to pristine waters.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
Mahikeng is about 300km west of Johannesburg – a comfortable three-hour drive. There are three main ways to reach the town: From Johannesburg via Ventersdorp and Lichtenburg; from Johannesburg via Magaliesburg and Lichtenburg; or from Rustenburg via Zeerust.
Best time to visit
The weather here is good all year round, but can get very cold at night in winter and very hot during the day in summer.
Around the area
Hone your golfing skills at the Leopard Park Golf Club or the Mahikeng Golf Club.
Tours to do
Take a tour to the Madikwe Game Reserve to see the Big Five or travel to nearby Groot Marico for a brandy tasting and mampoer tour.
Where to stay
Choose from a wide selection of guesthouses or two hotels: the Mmabatho Palms or the Protea Hotel.