Maize Meander Tourism Route
The Maize Meander tourism route comprises 18 short routes from which visitors and tourists could choose. Divergent sites to be seen on these routes include agricultural attractions such as maize farms, dairy farms, horse farms and pig farming; arts and culture such as painters, pottery, home industries, the Maize Capital Museum, toys and authentic wire cars for children; environmental, outdoor and eco-sites; agro-processing; and, last but not the least, a tot of witblits with a breath-taking kick!
Agricultural attractions on the Maize Meander include the following: Nampo Harvest Day Farm, the Grain SA Head Office, Karookom Maize Farm, Winston Maize & Cattle Farm, Senwes grain silos, Thuso Maize Mills, Yukon Vegetable Farm, Rietvlei Dairy Farm, Nut Processors and Eendag Mills.
Another landmark development by the MCF has been the development and establishing of the Maize Museum, located at the Den Enkel Arcade. The museum contains a host of articles and artefacts from the portracted history of Bothaville and constitutes indeed an invaluable collection. The Museum is open daily and forms an important link in the sights to see on the Maize Meander.
The Maize Meander tourism route is available only on request. A minimum admin fee is payable. The Maize Meander is popular with women groups, school groups, elderly groups and particularly foreigners. It is, however, only available on booking and for that the office of the Maize Capital Forum should be contacted. More information can be obtained from the Maize Tourism Forum can be contacted at tel. (056) 515 3032 or www.bothavillemaizecapital.co.za
One of the largest privately organised and owned exhibitions in the world and the largest show of agricultural machinery and livestock in the southern hemisphere take place annually outside Bothaville.
Organised by Grain South Africa (GSA), it provides a unique opportunity to all manufacturers and distributors of agricultural machinery, products and services to exhibit as well as demonstrate their vast range of products to their targeted customers – the farmers of South Africa. Controlled practical demonstrations of machinery and implements are a unique feature of the Show which allows farmers to view demonstrations of an exhaustive range of machinery and implements, establish their performance and effectiveness and use this knowledge for product purchases in future. It is usually held during May of each year.
The attendance figure for the four days of the 2011 festival was 73 552, which is higher than last year’s figure. Wednesday 18 May – which was a public holiday owing to the municipal elections – saw a record number of visitors for a single day, while the other days showed lower attendance than last year.
Interest in the Harvest Day from international exhibitors, as individuals or as part of a government initiative, is still growing. The participation of a group of exhibitors from the US and Argentina achieved permanence this year, while Germany and Canada have already indicated that they intend becoming involved. The number of visiting groups from foreign countries, especially from Africa, also grows by the year.
History and Architecture
Bothaville offers a number of buildings of historical interest. The town hall was declared a national monument in 1995 and there is also a museum in President Street.
The oldest building in the Maize Capital is a small three-room sandstone building in President Street erected for the amount of £62 in 1894 by the first Town Council to serve as a police station and prison.
The second oldest building is the Dutch Reformed Vicarage – a beautiful sandstone building built in 1898. The same architect who designed the famous Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, Gerhard Moerdyk, designed the impressive Dutch Reformed Mother church, built with sandstone in 1918.
The granite Doornkraal Monument was built in honour of Boers who died in a surprise attack by British Soldiers in November 1900.
Hiking, Bird Watching and Angling
There are several hiking trails in the vicinity, including the Visarend and Mealie Trails. Wag-‘n-Bietjie Eco Farm also offers a hiking trail, as well as excellent bird-watching opportunities and fly-fishing from the banks of the Vaal River.
The town has facilities for basketball, bowls, cricket, golf, horse riding (gymkhana), karate, rugby, squash and jukskei. There is also a parachuting club and a marathon running club.
Various modern sport facilities are also available, including a 9-hole golf course, soccer and cricket fields and tennis courts. Angling and other water sports are catered for on the Vals River.
San & Bushmen Paintings
Well-preserved San Bushmen paintings can be seen on the farm Boskop.
The Wesselsbron Tourism Bureau can be contacted at tel. (057) 899-1818.
Fauna and Flora
Brakfontein Horse Breeding Station
Visitors are welcome at this well-organised horse breeding station. Apart from appreciating the beautiful horses, visitors will also enjoy the farm atmosphere.
This goose farm, close to the Vet River, uses goose feathers and down to make duvets, cushions, sleeping bags and other items. The geese are only plucked periodically from May to October and are allowed to rest during the cold winter months. Visits are by appointment only.
There are several water pans (shallow, water-filled depressions) in the immediate vicinity of the town, which attract a myriad of birds and other types of wildlife. The pans are aptly named and the names are descriptive of either the animals found there or of the local conditions, for example,
- Besempan (“Broom Pan”),
- Graspan (“Grass Pan”),
- Volstruispan (“Ostrich Pan”),
- and Ganspan “(Goose Pan”),
to name but a few.
History and Architecture
The oldest church in the town is situated opposite the Town Museum in Bredenkamp Street. The renowned architect, Gerhard Moerdyk, designed the church.
The Farm Museum has a display of farming implements and explains what life and work on a farm entails.
The museum depicts the history of the town and its early inhabitants, recorded and illustrated with the help of approximately 400 photographs and other items of historical value. The museum is housed in an old gabled house in Bredenkamp Street.
The biggest grain silo in the southern part of Africa is located in Wesselsbron. Conducted tours can be arranged to visit the huge Senwes Grain Silo complex and the large mill next to the complex. This complex can handle a massive 275 000 tons of grain.