Set on the Friendly N6 highway between Bloemfontein and East London, the little Free State town of Smithfield markets itself as being “halfway to anywhere in South Africa”.
Indeed, one of the guest houses in the town has become internationally famous for its “Smithfield Omelette” – it has special ingredients, two of which being simple good cheer – and hospitality.
One of the main attractions in the Smithfield area is the huge Gariep Dam, which is a prime recreation area for Free Staters and overland tourists. A major feature of the dam area is the Gariep Nature Reserve, which boasts a vast springbok population.
In the town itself is a most memorable cannon called Ou Grietjie, a muzzle-loading ship’s piece that was used in various wars by the Boers against the Basotho.
Smithfield has an active accommodation group of b&bs, guest houses and farm stays. It is perfect for long-haul overnighters, even for a two-day stay during which one can explore the Gariep area at leisure.
Up to mid-2013, Smithfield was beset with roadwork projects which choked local tourism to a degree. However, the Smithfielders rallied and launched a special ‘Come to Smithfield’ incentive to get the world heading its way again.
Apart from being a super hideaway from city streets, the main appeal of Smithfield lies in its array of outdoor activities. This is a good area for birding, hiking and cycling the back roads of the southern Free State.
Smithfield also lies a ‘friendly distance’ from its sister towns of Bethulie, Springfontein, Philippolis and Jagersfontein. Whenever there’s an event of some kind in one of these towns, the others all attend. And while there’s a welcoming smile, Smithfield will always remain on travellers’ itineraries.
Find our newly-released e-Book, 101 Karoo Towns, HERE.