Did you know?
Burgersdorp residents and local farmers regard their well-equipped schools as the town’s most valuable assets.
Burgersdorp, the little village tucked into a hillside in the northern reaches of the Eastern Cape, is the perfect getaway for hikers, fishermen, museum nuts and ghost hunters.
The San (also sometimes known as 'Bushmen') lived here first, and left artistic evidence of their lives and visions in many caves throughout the area. European explorers like Robert Gordon came nosing around here in the late 1700s and by 1835 more than 350 farming families of settlers were well ensconced in the foothills of the Stormberg range.
Burgersdorp by night cannot be compared to Kowloon, Times Square or Piccadilly Circus. It does, however, have the quiet charm of open skies, friendly publicans and the distant howl of a hunting jackal to recommend it. A good night’s rest is practically guaranteed.
On a hill overlooking Burgersdorp is a blockhouse from the South African War (previously known as the Anglo-Boer War). The major encounter that took place in these parts was the Battle of Stomberg, in which 400 Boer soldiers fought a much stronger British contingent and won, taking possession of Burgersdorp.
Their joy was short-lived, however. Four months later, Burgersdorp was re-taken by the British.
As a result, a short town walk will reveal an interesting array of monuments.
A memorial to the people of Burgersdorp who died in the South African War was unveiled by legendary Boer general Koos de la Rey in 1908.
There is also a language monument dedicated to ‘the triumph of the Dutch language’ and an extraordinary ‘Jubilee Fountain’, erected in 1897, to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria – supposedly the arch-enemy of the local Boers. The inscription at the top of the cupola reads: ‘Keep the pavement dry’.
Activities outside the town include fishing and hiking. And if you’re into ghosts, then you should visit the De Bruin House (part of the museum complex), take a photograph and re-play it on your digital screen. You may just jump out of your skin…