Harrismith Tourism Bureau
Phone number: 058-622-3525
Fax number: 058-623-0923
Harrismith is named after Sir Harry Smith, Governor of the Cape
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An annual mountain race, the Berg Marathon, is held in October. The origin of this marathon is as follows. After the Anglo-Boer War a Major Belcher referred to Platberg as That small hill of yours. The locals bet him that he could not reach the top under an hour, whcih he did, and then donated a floating trophy to the winner of the race to the top. The Drakenberg Botanic Garden (114Ha), also known as the Platberg Wild Flower Gardens, conserves the plants of the area. There is a 30m long petrified tree next to the Town Hall (built in 1907). The Sterkfontein Dam in the 18'000Ha Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve, is about 15Km from town, offers watersport.
Harrismith was first laid out in 1849 at a location with poor water, about 25Km from the present town. It was relocated in 1850 and became a municipality in 1874. It has always been a busy stopover between the interior and the coast. Heavy traffic is not only the result of automobile transport. In the old days as many as 50 wagons passed through the town every day.
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