What to do

What To Do in the Mantsopa Local Municipality



The Ladybrand area is renowned for its rock art sites and fossils and it is also well known for its well-preserved course in town. It is rich in sandstone buildings and exotic restaurants and guesthouses. There are three major hiking trails in the area, namely the FanieTerreblanche hiking trail, the 8-km Melrose Holiday Farm hike and the Steve Visser hiking trail with indigenous vegetation and past several historical sites. Leliehoek Holiday Resort offers several nature walks and offers camping and caravanning facilities. The town’s lovely surroundings of mountains, ravines and rivers also make it an ideal eco-tourism destination.

Adventure and Sport 

Angling and canoeing

The Cathcart Drift Dam, in the vicinity of the Melrose Holiday Farm, offers opportunities for angling and canoeing.


There are three major hiking trails in the area, namely the FanieTerreblanche hike, the 8-km Melrose Holiday Farm hike and the 18 km Steve Visser hike. The latter starts at Leliehoek Holiday Resort and takes you through areas grown with indigenous vegetation and past several historical sites.

Horse riding

The area is ideal for horse riding and there are many “bridle” trails to choose from.


The Ladybrand area is a well-known mountain -biking venue with many well marked routes and trails. Endurance races are staged in the area at regular intervals.

Archaeology and Palaeontology

Fossilised remains

The fossilised remains of a Diathrognatus, a pre-historic animal believed to be the link between reptiles and mammals, were found near the Leliehoek Holiday Resort

San Rock Art (Replace existing paragraph with the following)

Several caves in the vicinity of the town house San rock paintings. This district probably has the largest concentration of San rock art in the world. The images cover a 10-m section of wall and have been copied onto seven lecterns at the site. People are also taken at the site so that the images can be explained to visitors. Tripolitana/Tandjiesberg became famous when the celebrated French historian Abbé Henri Breuil visited the site during the 1940s. This is one of the few sites where visitors can see how researchers decipher highly complex panels. A boardwalk has been constructed to protect the excavations that are still going on beneath the floor of the cave.

The Modderpoort Mission Station site also has San rock art and Iron Age remains and has been of significance to a succession of South African people. In fact, Modderpoort is one of the few places in southern Africa where the name of the San Community who lived there and painted vibrant images of their spirit world on the Caves walls is known. They were the Makhomokholoor the people ‘great at cattle. The diversity and beauty of the Modderpoort paintings indicate that the Makhomokholowere strongly attracted to Modderpoort at both earthly and spiritual levels. There are a number of images of eland antelope as well as one depicting two eland butting heads. There is also a depiction of a cattle raid and images of birds with zigzag which are used on Olympic symbol. Zigzag images almost always refer to Shaman trance dancers in altered states of consciousness. The paintings were declared as national monuments in 1936.

History and Architecture

Catharina Brand Museum

The Catharina Brand Museum houses records depicting the province’s newspaper and publishing history as well as other items related to the history of the Boer, British and Basotho inhabitants of the area. The exhibitions in this museum depict different aspects of the cultural development in the region: a bushman in a shelter, early administration of the border and police, as well as the different churchgroups in Ladybrand. The museum also features a realistic reconstruction of the Coaker’s Chemist.


Heritage Museum

The Heritage Museum in Kerk Street concentrates on local history and also has exhibits of vintage farming implements. Bread is baked the “old fashioned” way in an outside oven that stands on the premises of the museum.

Modderpoort Mission Station

The former Modderpoort Mission Station is a major tourism attraction. Bishop Edward Twells bought the Modderpoort farm in 1869. The property was situated within the so-called ‘Conquered Territory’ lost by the BaSotho through conquest in the years 1843-1869. It was in fact not before 1869 that Canon Henry Beckett, the Superior of the Society of St Augustine, accompanied by four brothers, set up the mission, initially in a cave converted as church and dwelling. The priory was built in 1871 and the sandstone church was completed in 1902. In the pale of the church are the graves of the Anglican brothers of the society of Saint Augustine and the Society of Sacred Mission who lived and worked in the area. Their graves are capped with beautifully carved sandstones quarried in the surrounding hills – the same place the sandstone for the union buildings in Pretoria was quarried. The sparrow that features in some of the carvings has reference to St Matthew 10:29-30.


Mantsopa’s Grave

Another historical interest is that of a Basotho prophetess, MantsopaMakheta, a cousin to the Chief of the Basotho, King Moshoeshoe. She predicted the victory of the Basotho over the British and the rich harvest that would then follow. When this prophecy happened exactly as she said, her fame and reputation were established. Mantsopa’s grave continues to be revered and each weekend sees new offerings placed on her grave, in the cave church where she sometimes worked and at the spring where she bathed. It is considered good manners to place a stone on or near her grave.

Cave Church

Another interesting feature at Modderpoort Mission is the small rock shelter known as Cave Church or Rose Chapel. This cave shelter, probably first occupied and painted by the San, was used as a place of worship by the Anglican Brothers of St. Augustine before their church and priory were built. From the 1970s onwards members of the Zionist Christian Church used the shelter. The cave church is considered a place at which the presence of the ancestors are particularly strong. Annually Both South African and Lesotho Women celebrate their Women’s day celebrations here at the Lekgalong la Ha Mantsopa [Mantsopa s Valley]

Railway Station Buildings

The original ticket office and waiting rooms of the old Railway Station can be viewed at 37 Beaton Street.

Stables Rock Crevice

The rock crevice in the mountainside near Leliehoek, called the Stables, is well worth a visit. According to local folklore, the Boers used this deep rock fissure as a stable for their horses during the Basotho War of 1858.

Oldenburg Lodge and Game Park

Oldenburg Resorts and SBH African Tours and Safaris combine to bring you the very best of hospitality, accommodations, guided tours and wildlife safaris from a central location outside Ladybrand in the eastern Free State. Oldenburg Lodge is a historic mountain lodge overlooking the rolling savannahs of the Modderpoort Valley and the high Maluti Mountains of Lesotho. It was designed to bring guests the feeling of peaceful heritage and beauty belonging to the site. The theme is a blend of Sandstone Colonial and Ethnic African. Facilities include our full-service Lodge, a variety of self-catering cottages and chalets, camping facilities for the adventurous and a large Convention and Entertainment Centre. The Lodge itself is situated in our nationally recognised Oldenburg Game Park which contains an exceptional collection of native plants, animals and birds. This includes the previously endangered Black Wildebeest, a large herd of Africa’s greatest antelope the Eland, which are indigenous to the area, and many other species of importance. The Game in the Park consists of Giraffe, Black Wildebeest, Eland, Red Hartebeest, Gemsbuck, Blesbuck, Impalaand Springbuck. Oldenburg is also home to several heritage sites including our unique Bushman cave paintings and farm buildings going back to the English period and earlier.



Pointers Hunting Lodge has accommodation in a beautifully restored old farmhouse and offers bird-hunting opportunities accompanied by trained dogs. Patrysvlug Hunting also offers bird-hunting packages, especially partridge shooting, with the necessary accommodation options included.

4×4 routes

There are 4×4 routes laid out on the farm Vrugbaar and a 4×4, two-hour endurance race is hosted here every year, during June or July. The 4×4 trail at Excelsior was voted one of the Top 10 in the country.


Several hiking trails have been laid out in the district. These include the Merrimetsi and Korannaberg Trails.

Horse riding

Horse riding can be done on several private farms in the district.


Excelsior has facilities for badminton, bowls, squash and tennis and golfers are welcome to a round of golf at the Excelsior Golf Club.

History and Architecture

The Anglo-Boer War Monument commemorating all of those who lost their lives during the wars.

The town has two sandstone churches and a historic old sandstone reservoir. The striking Dutch Reformed Church was designed by architects Moerdyk and Louw and built out of local sandstone. The unique church organ is one of only six of its kind in the country.

San Rock Art

Good examples of San rock art can be seen at Korannaberg. Contact the Municipality for more details.

Hunters Taxidermy

The taxidermy business is located in an old renovated sandstone building. Visitors are welcome to visit and view the many mounted animal heads (trophies) and to learn more about the art of taxidermy.


Archaeology and Palaeontology

Many San rock paintings adorn the walls of the numerous caves in the mountains above the Caledon River.

Adventure and Sport

The Armenia Dam and Game Reserve and the Leeu River Dam offer angling opportunities to both locals and visitors.


Mabula Game Lodge is located about 20 km from Hobhouse and it offers variety of wild species, game drives are also arranged for groups. Polo is a popular sport in the district and the town hosts a local gymkhana every September. Venues, such as Alzoo Farm offer hunting packages in season.

History and Architecture

A miniature church was built in the grounds of the local school in 1938 to commemorate the centenary celebrations


Adventure and Sport

There are several well marked hiking trails in the area. Visits to the Catholic Mission Station, may be undertaken by appointment. Tweespruit is also the venue for the Caledon 400 off-road championship held annually in September.


Awimaweh Resort & Conference Centre

Awimaweh Holiday Resort offers the following facilities a golf course, putt-putt, quad and mountain biking, house trails, swimming pool and angling and water sport facilities. Game drives and water raft deck restaurant are available on request. * The town has its own bowling green and golf course.

Arts and Craft

Visit the art gallery of Father Claerhout, the Belgian priest who came to South Africa in 1947 and passed on in 2006. He was a self taught painter working in oil, pastel, ink, pencil and charcoal. As expressionist he focused on landscapes and figures, showing off warm colours, impasto and elongated human forms. Over the years his work has gained world stature and recognition.

History and Architecture

Sir Herbert Baker, architect of the Union Building in Pretoria and The National Afrikaans Literary Museum in Bloemfontein, also designed the Agricultural School building. * There is an informative dairy museum which depict the rich history of dairy farming in the area.


Adventure and Sport

The ThabaPatchoa hiking trail is one of many attractions in the area.