Just off the N1 in the Great Karoo lies a small farming town named Philippolis. The town is fairly unassuming at first glance but is in fact full of history and, as is so often the case with small towns, interesting people. Situated in the Southern Free State, Philippolis also has its natural setting going for it - vast swathes of open farmlands, fresh air and big skies.
The town is situated on the R717 road, an off shoot of the big N1 freeway connecting Cape Town and Johannesburg via the interior. It lies between Colesberg and Trompsburg, in the heart of South Africa's interior and today serves as a hub for the surrounding farming community. When it was established in the early 1820's though, this wasn't the case.
Built in 1823, Philippolis is said to be the oldest settlement in the Free State. It was initially the brainchild of an organisation known as the London Missionary Society (LMS), who set it up in order to convert the Khoi people inhabiting the area, whom they perceived as heathen. It was named after John Phillip, the LMS representative stationed there at the time.
These days there aren't many physical remnants of these early missionary days - the old church was replaced by a Dutch Reformed Church in the 1870's. This church however, is home to a beautiful olive wood pulpit of which the congregation is very proud. Apart from the Dutch Reformed Church, other points of interest around the town include a museum (whose most noteworthy attribute is a display exploring the times of the Griqua people), a number of beautifully restored Victorian houses and the Lourens van der Post Memorial Centre - dedicated to the writer and intellectual, who was born here.
Surrounding Philippolis are spots like Springfontein, site of one of the largest concentration camps of the Anglo-Boer War, and Waterkloof, and almost-completely deserted settlement.
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Bankfontein is a family farm located in the southern Free State between Luckhoff and Philippolis, approximately 3km from the Vanderkloof dam . Bankfontein is about 55km from the nearest town and has l... More Info
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Otterskloof Private Game Reserve lies on the border of the Free State and Northern Cape along the majestic Van Der Kloof Dam. Set in an unique part of South Africa, this jewel of the Free State awaits... More Info
It's sometimes a blessing not to know what the future has in store for you, and other times you can surely benefit from knowing. The restored Groenhuis (which means 'green house') Guesthouse has one d... More Info
The Anker is the spot to stay in Philipollis as it is a tranquil and neat place
The Anker has 3 rooms in total. Your accommodation offers self catering as all rooms are equipped with small kitchen ... More Info
Cadeau Rus 'n Vree is a family owned farm just 21 km out of Philippolis. Here you can even explore nature more to the fullest. Enjoy a leisure walk or go for a hike, mountain biking. Check out on the ... More Info
In Philippolis in the southern Free State you can switch off completely and forget about rush-hour traffic and deadlines. The tree-lined dirt roads, simple Karoo-style cottages and pomegranate and qui... More Info
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Van Zylsvlei B&B is situated 6km north of Colesberg on the right hand side of the N1 highway. It is a small farm with very safe overnight accommodation and plenty of open spaces where the kids can enj... More Info
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Very quaint town.
- Dianne Connolly
We visited the town on an ancestral search... Apart from that- a visit to the NG church was interesting...especially as the organist was playing- magnificent sound! Nothing much was open as it was weekend. Try SielsKos- delightful little restaurant on the site of the Laurens van der Post memorial.
- Georgie Tasseron
We had a wonderful time. The children enjoyed it very much on the farm. Will definitely visit again!!!
- Maretha Marais
Delightful village and what a wonderful drive to get to the little dorp.
- Janine Wilson
Philippolis is one of those quaint and historic dusty towns that exudes charm and hospitality. It might be small, but it goes out of it's way to make sure there is plenty to see and do for a short stay - with a lot of emphasis on art and history. I was invited to a family braai by complete strangers and I could just feel their pride in their special little town.
- Paul Seggie