Bethulie is located 30 min from Oviston and just 90 minutes south of Bloemfontein in South Africa’s Free State. It’s six hours’ drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, five from Port Elizabeth and East London, eight from Durban and nine from Cape Town. That makes it the ideal accommodation stopover between South Africa’s major cities – but it’s also a worthwhile destination in its own right.
The longest road/rail bridge in Africa; a clutch of well-stocked game reserves and the scenic splendour of Lake Gariep; site of the most infamous concentration camp of the Anglo-Boer War; the childhood haunts of actor Patrick Mynhardt, who won fame as the ‘Boy from Bethulie’ – these are just a few of the points of interest that give ethulie its broad-based appeal.
Bethulie is named after the apocryphal home of Judith, the beautiful young widow who saved Jerusalem by beheading an Assyrian general and putting his army to rout. Founded in the early 1830s, the town is close to where the Caledon and Orange rivers join forces and soon sprang to prominence as a key river crossing between the Cape Colony to the south and the Boer republics to the north.
The town retains a frontier feeling that conjures echoes of days long gone. For generations its chief role has been to serve the needs of hard-working sheep farmers and their families in the surrounding district; but in addition Bethulie prides itself on being a safe, friendly and peaceful oasis, offering attractions and diversions that excite discerning visitors from all over the world.