Groot Marico, North West
Did you know?
You can take a mampoer tour in Groot Marico. Learn how famous South African peach brandy is made – and taste it if you dare!
The town of Groot Marico in South Africa takes its name from the Groot Marico River, which wends its way through the Marico District in North West province. Here, in a Bushveld setting that is truly African, the attitudes are down-to-earth and the sunsets heavenly.
The Groot Marico is renowned as a cultural attraction and is also known as ‘Bosman Country’ for it is here that the famous storyteller, Herman Charles Bosman, set most of his typically South African tales. Included in these are classics such as Willem Prinsloo’s Peach Brandy, The Traitor’s Wife and Peaches Ripening in the Sun.
The town is so laid-back that it seems as if time is a mere construct: a fact attested to by the clock face on the church steeple that has no hands! Groot Marico is one of the only towns in South Africa that still has a manual telephone exchange. While the area is fully automated, the locals decided that they wanted to continue using the manual exchange and so it remains to this day.
One of the main activities on the Groot Marico calendar is the Herman Charles Bosman Festival, which takes place every October. There is also the Herman Charles Bosman Living Museum, an exact replica of the local school where Bosman taught in 1926.
For the physically active there's the annual Marico Mountain Bike Classic and a number of hiking trails. There are also battlefield tours and the Marico Environmental Centre, which allows kids and adults to experience the great outdoors.
A number of art and craft outlets are housed in the tourism centre, including the Art Factory which showcases leather work, ironwork, pottery, paintings and other local curios.
There is a wide range of accommodation available in the area from guesthouses and guest farms to bona fide farming accommodation (where you might be roped in to do everyday farming chores).
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Groot Marico Information Centre
Cell: +27 83 2722 958 (Santa)
How to get here
Only two hours away from Gauteng you'll find Groot Marico on the N4 between the towns of Swartruggens and Zeerust, en route to Botswana. The town is located on the Marico River. The famous Groot Marico region, in the northern part of the North West province, borders Botswana.
Around the area
Strung along the railway line, just off the N4 that takes you to Rustenburg, Mafikeng and beyond, Groot Marico is the perfect pitstop en-route to places like the Madikwe Game Reserve, or beyond to Gaberone and the Botswana interior.
Fishing is good in the two dams on the Groot Marico River.
Scuba diving in the eye of Marico (a fresh fountain in the river) is another popular pastime.
Tours to do
For something a little different, this is the home of South Africa’s very own moonshine, known locally as mampoer. But be warned, it is firewater with an alcohol content often reaching a staggering 90% proof.
The small, picturesque town is easily accessible on foot.
Length of stay
Due to its distance from major centres, a minimum of a weekend is recommended to enjoy the area. Special events are planned most weekends to entertain visitors.
Where to stay
Consult the Groot Marico tourism office for access to more than 30 B&B's, guest houses and farm-style accommodation options.
What to eat
In Bosman’s stories, the local meeting place was Jurie Bekker’s post office. Today it is the Groot Marico Hotel, which would have pleased the writer because it attracts a wide variety of characters not dissimilar to those who people his tales.
In October every year the town honours the man who made it famous by means of the Herman Charles Bosman Festival. For the fitness fanatics the challenging annual Marico Mountain Bike Classic takes place annually, usually in July. There are four trails from 23km to 61km to choose from.
Beautiful paintings, arts and crafts on sale at the tourism centre and mampoer (peach brandy).