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Church Square, Kroonstad
Church Square, Kroonstad
Kroonstad is located in South Africa
 Kroonstad shown within South Africa
Coordinates: 27°39′S 27°14′E / 27.650°S 27.233°E / -27.650; 27.233Coordinates: 27°39′S 27°14′E / 27.650°S 27.233°E / -27.650; 27.233
Country South Africa
Province Free State
District Fezile Dabi
Municipality Moqhaka
Established 1854[1]
 • Total 89.1 km2 (34.4 sq mi)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 97,780
 • Density 1,100/km2 (2,800/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)[2]
 • Black African 85.2%
 • Coloured 4.0%
 • Indian/Asian 0.4%
 • White 10.1%
 • Other 0.3%
First languages (2011)[2]
 • Sotho 73.3%
 • Afrikaans 15.8%
 • English 3.1%
 • Xhosa 2.5%
 • Other 5.3%
Postal code (street) 9499
PO box 9500
Area code 056
The Sarel Cilliers memorial in the grounds of the NG Moederkerk, Kroonstad. Cilliers is depicted standing on a gun carriage, making the Blood River vow.

Kroonstad (Afrikaans for Crown City, pronounced [krūn'stät]) is the third-largest town in the Free State province of South Africa, and lies two hours drive from Gauteng.

Kroonstad was established in 1855[3] by the Irish pioneer Joseph Orpen, and was the first town founded after the independence of the Orange Free State. While "Kroon" means crown, this was in fact the name of a horse that had drowned in the nearby ford. A lover of animals, Orpen had witnessed the incident, and named the infant settlement in honour of the unfortunate creature. Similarly, the ford in question came to be known as Kroondrift.[3][4]

During the Second Boer War, from 13 March to 11 May 1900, the town became the capital of the Orange Free State, and subsequently the site of a British concentration camp to accommodate Boer women and children.

It is the second largest urban center in the Northern Free State, and an important railway junction on the main line from Cape Town to Johannesburg.


Kroonstad is the centre of a rich agricultural district, producing maize, wheat, dairy and meat products and wool. The main industry is agriculture. The Bloemhoek Dam lies just east of the city and supplies much of its water needs. A caravan park and many more camp sites on the banks of the willow-lined Vals River (Valsrivier) are frequented by anglers and watersport enthusiasts.


Leisure opportunities are plentiful in Kroonstad, where visitors can enjoy golf on the 18 hole course in the town, lion tours and interaction with lion and tiger cubs at the Boskoppie Lion and Tiger Park, fishing in the well stocked Vals River or on the Bloemhoek Dam, and boating on the Serfontein Dam. Horse riding, gliding and hiking trails are also available.[citation needed]


Kroonstad is an important rail junction, and the town lies directly on top of the N1, and bypasses the town to the east.

General attractions[edit]

Kroonstad is said to be one of the Free State’s loveliest towns and lies on the banks of the Vals River, a tributary of the Vaal, roughly two hours’ drive from Johannesburg. It is situated in an area characterised by open spaces and an abundant variety of vegetation that makes it particularly beautiful. Kroonstad is a quaint town that serves as a good stop over en route between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, lying as it does at virtually the halfway mark. Kroonstad offers an array of activities that include flea markets, a tea garden, fishing on the Vals River or at the Bloemhoek Dam, walking trails and lion tours and lion and tiger interaction at Boskoppie Lion and Tiger park. Today, as an important administrative, agricultural and educational centre, Kroonstad still boasts much of the inherent rugged beauty which led the Voortrekkers to establish the town where they did.

Sporting facilities of all kinds are well catered for as the headquarters of the SA Jukskei Council has been established here since 1951. The town is rich in historical sights; several historic buildings and statues, a former concentration camp, the Sarel Cilliers Museum (although currently inactive) and other places of national interest can be found here. Kroonstad is an important agricultural service centre in the Free State with a predominantly agricultural-orientated economy served by a modern toll-road. This brings the PWV Region within two hours drive from Kroonstad as well as being accessible from the North West, Bloemfontein and the Eastern Free State.

Historical sites[edit]

The Bloemspruit Monument 27°40′18″S 27°12′23″E / 27.67167°S 27.20639°E / -27.67167; 27.20639 commemorates those who died in the Kroonstad Concentration Camp, while the Garden of Remembrance 27°39′05″S 27°14′19″E / 27.65139°S 27.23861°E / -27.65139; 27.23861 commemorates Allied soldiers fallen in the two World Wars. A blockhouse south of town is a reminder of later stages of the Second Boer War. Stone corbelled huts, refuges for the prehistoric inhabitants of the region, occur in various locations about the town. In addition, San rock art and fossils are present in the region.

See also[edit]

  • Braşov - (German: Kronstadt) a city in Romania
  • Kronstadt - Russian seaport town, located on Kotlin Island, 30 km west of Saint Petersburg


External links[edit]