"Harrismith" Harrismith by mvtouring
Harrismith Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 27 photos
I had no idea where this place was in my country bar that it was near the Drakensberg Mountains and that is where I wanted to go. More than 1600km away from home, I think it was worth the effort to get there. We drove over 3000km on this holiday moving through the various provinces of my country.
Harrismith is the centre of one of the five wool producing districts in Southern Africa. It was established in 1849 and was named after the glamorous and hard riding British Governor, Sir Harry Smith. Unfortunately, the first location for Harrismith proved to be deficient in water and the town was moved to the present site, in January 1850. During the diamond rush at Kimberly, the town became a busy staging post on the Natal transport route and hotels, stores and public buildings sprang up. In 1892 the railway from Natal to Harrismith opened but due to politics, did not go any further for several years. A major base during the Anglo Boer War, Harrismith has progressed since then to a delightful, spacious town, with several handsome churches and public buildings. The Plattberg is the location for the annual Berg Marathon, one of the most prestigious cross-country running events in Southern Africa. The race began when a Boer War Major referred to the Platberg mountain as “That little hill of yours”. One of the locals took exception and challenged him to reach the top in under an hour.
Major Belcher accepted and won easily and donated a floating trophy to the first person to reach the top in a race every year. It now covers several peaks in the area.
Harrismith is among the best places in the eastern state to stock up on provision for outdoor adventures, including steaks; the town is the capital of the country's top red-meat producing region.
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