082 507 4155 Elaine info@ankerguesthouse.co.za
About our Town
Virtually smack bang in the middle of South Africa lies the little historical town of Philippolis, renowned for its hospitality and convivial atmosphere. It is not only considered the oldest settlement in the Free State, but Philippolis is also the birthplace of Laurens Jan van der Post, renowned author, political advisor to British heads of government, and godparent to Prince William. Philippolis initially lay right on the N1, before it was rerouted via the Gariep Dam and Springfontein, but the town, which has the highest number of national monuments in the province after Bloemfontein and Bethlehem, hasn’t suffered the loss, other than to rid itself of four of the five petrol stations that dominated the town. Philippolis began as a mission station for the Khois and Bushmen in the area, neither of whom was particularly interested based on their largely nomadic existence. Upper Voortrekker Street is a pine-lined avenue rich in historical buildings that include the Victorian Jacobson library and the Trans-Gariep museum. And there is plenty to do both in the little town and its surrounds. The Gariep and the Waterkloof dams are two of the largest dams in South Africa. Between them runs the Orange River, which offers some wonderful fishing opportunities. The Laurens van der Post memorial garden is worth a visit, and John Varty, well known filmmaker and conservationist, has established Tiger Canyons just 25 kilometres north west of Philippolis on the Van Der Kloof Lake in the Karoo, where the tigers roam free, and you get to view them from within a caged vehicle.
Philippolis, Free State
Upper Voortrekker Street is a pine-lined avenue rich in historical buildings that include the Victorian Jacobson library and the Trans-Gariep museum. And there is plenty to do both in the little town and its surrounds. The Gariep and the Waterkloof dams are two of the largest dams in South Africa. Between them runs the Orange River, which offers some wonderful fishing opportunities.
Monuments and tourist attractions
The town has several declared heritage sites including an historical jail that has been turned into a bed and breakfast guest house. Philippolis is a town rich in history: Bushman, Griqua, Englishmen, Boer and Jew – each one of them made sure to leave their mark.
Cannons
Two naval cannons stand on top of a small hill which were presented by the Cape colonial government in 1840 to Adam Kok III who was the Griqua chief at that time. The cannons are fired during the town’s Witblits festival held in April. These cannons may have been used during the various wars between the Griqua, Basotho and the Boers.
Emily Hobhouse memorial
Emily Hobhouse garden of remembrance Philippolis. This memorial commemorates Emily Hobhouse who helped improve the lives of the Boers during the South African War. After the war, she established a spinning and weaving school in Philippolis in 1905.
Transgariep Museum
This museum was opened on 2 March 1982. It focuses on the London Missionary Society (LMS), Adam Kok III and the Griqua as well as Emily Hobhouse and her weaving school.
The Philippolis Jail
The town jail was built in 1872 and served as a jail for 70 years. It was subsequently converted into a police station and several changes were made such as the repurposing of jail cells into charge offices. The SANDF (South African National Defence Force) used the jail as an army barracks from 1972 to 1982. The jail was abandoned from 1982 until 1998 when it was restored and turned into a bed and breakfast guest house.
Old Dutch Reformed Church
The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa (NGK) in Philippolis was opened in 1871. The church is famous for its pulpit which is carved from wild olive and erected with no nails, screws or bolts. This site is a declared Provincial Heritage Site.
Adam Kok House
Home of the famous Griqua leader. Adam Kok, a Griqua leader, settled here with his people in 1826, and was established as a protector of the mission. When the government of the Orange Free State agreed to sell the land to Britain for 400 pounds, Kok left with his people, and migrated 500km to Griqualand east.
Other declared heritage sites in the area

• Philippolis library Philippolis.
• The property with the Old Victorian Library building thereon, Voortrekker Street
• The property with the Dwelling-house thereon, 24 Tobie Muller Street
• The property with the Dwelling-house thereon, being certain Portion “C” of Erf 97, Tobie Muller Street
• The property with the Dwelling-house and adjoining building thereon, 26 Kok Street
• 26 Kok Street dwelling house Philippolis.
• The property, together with the Karoo styled Dwelling-house thereon, 4 Justisie Street
• The Old Pound, together with a portion of surrounding land, being 5 metres on the northern and western side of the structure, the land on the eastern site to and bordered by Justisie Street and the land on the southern side thereof to and bordered by Erf 129, Philippolis.
• The property, together with the Victorian House thereon, 7 Colin Fraser Street (Amended declared in 1990.
• The historic Old Power Magazine, together with 10 metres of surrounding land, situated on Subdivision 20 of the Town Lands of Philippolis 143, declared in 1991.
• The wagon house adjacent the Victorian House together with the property on which they are situated, at 6 and 7 Colin Fraser Street, declared in 1990.

 

More about Philippolis: https://www.getaway.co.za/travel-ideas/destinations-travel-ideas/secret-village-guide-to-philippolis/