Did you know?
Sharpeville township, a Sedibeng attraction, is where Nelson Mandela signed South Africa's historic democratic constitution.
Sedibeng, Gauteng, is a predominantly rural area south of Johannesburg. South African War sites and the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve are major Sedibeng attractions, while the Vaal River provides an endless source of activities in the Sedibeng region.
Heidelberg is a key town in Sedibeng, Gauteng, not only because of its agricultural richness, but also because of its interesting history. It started out as a trading station, but rose to fame on 16 December 1880 when the Boers (Dutch-speaking farmers) raised their flag here in defiance of British authority − the same day the South African War began.
The town later became the capital of the Boer republic and the British eventually established a concentration camp here for Boer women and children. These graves can be seen at the camp cemetery. Delve further into this history with a tour of old British blockhouses, battle sites, and war memorials.
Heidelberg lies at the foothills of the Suikerbosrand, a ridge that also features the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve. The reserve is home to 200 bird species and several mammal species, including wildebeest, hyena and a number of buck. Beautiful hiking trails meander through the ridge, offering breathtaking highveld views.
South Africa's more recent past is best explored at Sharpeville, the township that was the scene of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 when a peaceful protest turned violent. Visit the Sharpeville Memorial or the permanent exhibit at Vereeniging's Vaal Teknorama Museum for insights into this tragic event.
A visit to Sedibeng isn't complete without stopping at the Vaal River. This important provincial waterway is a leisure hotspot, with a range of watersports, as well as arts and crafts markets, galleries, restaurants, golf courses and a casino complex.
Round off your trip at the charming village of Henley-on-Klip. Its pretty, oak-lined streets are particularly stunning in autumn, while its riverside setting provides ample photographic opportunities.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
Fly direct from any of South Africa’s major cities into OR Tambo International Airport at Johannesburg.
If you’re driving, from Durban take the N3 motorway en route to Johannesburg direct to Heidelberg.
From Cape Town, take the N1 motorway to Johannesburg, and then the N3 to Heidelberg.
Best time to visit
Sedibeng is an all-year-round destination. Spring to autumn (September to May) is beautiful and warm, with hot summer days that usually bring rain. Winter days are mild, but mornings and evenings very cold.
Tours to do
Emfuleni Heritage tour of South African War sites; Vaal Teknorama Museum in Vereeniging; Vaal River and Loch Vaal; Sharpeville township and memorial; Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve near Heidelberg.
A river cruise on the Vaal is a great way to spend a couple of hours.
Where to stay
Emerald Casino resort; Riviera on Vaal Hotel and Country Club. There are numerous riverside guesthouses in the area.
The Vaal Show in Vereeniging in September; the Rotary River Festival on the Vaal in March; Vaal River Meander Wine Route in July and August.
A popular market is held at Henley-on-Klip on the last Saturday of the month.
Pottery and paintings by local artists.