Jacobsdal/Ratanang is situated approximately 45 km northwest of Koffiefontein and only 15km east of the Northern Cape Provincial border. Access to the town is via the R705 between Koffiefontein & Modderrivier.

Although situated in a semi-desert area, four major rivers converge in the vicinity of the town namely the Modder, Riet, Vaal and Orange (Xhariep) rivers. The water from these rivers was harnessed via the Riet River with the help of the Sarel Hayward Irrigation Scheme. The Scheme, referred to as the “Oranje Riet”, provided life-giving water to crops such as grapes, grain, potatoes and lucerne, fruit, nuts and olives. In the ensuing years the community became the first outside the then Cape Province, to have its own wine cellar.


The main social & economic functions of the town include: regional agricultural services centre, key regional tourist destination, main regional agro-processing centre and social functions such as residence, education and medical services.

There are three processing plants, peanut butter factory, two wineries and abattoir (+/- 800 to 1000 sheep are being slaughtered daily). Approximately 160 000 tonnes of various crops are produced including;  grapes +/- 3000 ton, potatoes +/- 22000 ton, lucern 38 000 ton and ground nuts +/- 3000 ton.


The small town of Jacobsdal was laid out on the farm Kalkfontein in 1859 and was named after the owner of this land, Christoffel Johannes Jacobs.  The first residential stands were sold on 7 March 1859 and municipal status was granted in July 1860.  The town is situated in close proximity to the place where the Anglo-Boer war started and was the first town in the Free State to be occupied by the British. Many historic battles took place near the town.


The towns boasts a number of historical sites, including;

  • The British Block House (Fort)

It was declared a national monument in 1983. The rectangular blockhouse is one of only 12 built in this shape to have survived totally intact.

  • Jacobs Farmhouse

It is the first dwelling that was built in the area where Jacobsdal is today. It was build by Mr C.J. Jacobs. The house is situated in Sarel Cilliers St next to First National Bank.

  • The Dutch Reformed Church,

The church, located in Voortrekker Street, was built in 1879 and has a bullet hole in one of its front doors dating from the Anglo-Boer War. The building was used as a hospital during the war. All those wounded at the Battles of Belmont, Graspan, Modderrivier/Tweerivieren, Magersfontein and Paardeberg were nursed here. The beautiful trellis fence around the church dates from 1883. The old Vicarage on the corner of Voortrekker and Sarel Cilliers Streets was built in1866, even before the church was erected.

  • “Tuishuis”
    The old fashion dwelling, still with it’s original wallpaper, was used during religious ceremonies. It is situated directly opposite the southern entrance of the Dutch Reformed Church.
  • Burger Monument

The monument in front of the Dutch Reformed Church erected in memory of the deceased at the Battle of Roodelaagte in 1899

  • Jacobsdal cemetery

The cemetery features a number of British war graves and monuments dating from the Anglo Boer War (1899 – 1902),

  • Old Market Square

The market square was where the city hall is today and it was used as a British soldier’s lager. A big battle took place on 25 October 1900. Boers fired at the British from behind a stone wall which still stands today.

  • The Cairn Heap of Stones

Was erected by the Boers from Jacobsdal in November 1899 before departing for the battle of Roodelaagte (Graspan). Each boer engraved his name on a stone and these stones were used to build the monument. The monument can be reached by a walking trail from the Agricultural School.

  • Magersfontein Battlefield and Museum

The famous Magersfontein Battlefield, site of a conclusive Boer victory by the Boer General, Piet Cronje, and his men, over the British forces of Lord Methuen, lies approximately 20 km north-west of Jacobsdal. Lord Methuen was attempting to free Kimberley when the Boers engaged him in battle at Magersfontein. He made a dreadful mistake when he wrongly calculated that the Boers were entrenched in the hills. The Boers were, in fact, well camouflaged in trenches at the foot of the hills, from where they were able to inflict a great number of casualties on the British. The 482-ha battlefield has been marked with monuments, lookout points, trenches and a museum and is considered to be one of the ten best open-air museums/battle sites in the country.

  • Paardeberg (18 – 27 February 1900)

By means of a wide flanking movement to avoid the Boers at Magersfontein, Lord Roberts succeeded in relieving Kimberley on 15 February 1900. Due to his precarious position, Cronje was forced to fall back to Bloemfontein along the Modder River. He was denied crossing Vendusiedrif due to the British onslaught with the result that the Boers entrenched themselves on both sides of the river. 40000 British troops supported by 100 guns besieged the small Boer force of 4000 men, women and children. After 10 days of continious bombardment, the Boer force surrendered on 27 February 1900. Majuba was at last revenged.



Koffiefontein/Dithlake is situated on the Riet River and .serves as the municipal administrative seat within Letsemeng. The town is located approximately 125 km northwest of Trompsburg and an estimated 146 km east of Bloemfontein. Access to the town is via the R48 between Petrusburg and Luckhoff.


The main social and economic functions of the town include:  main LM administrative centre, regional agricultural services centre, diamond mining operations and regional social services centre.


A fountain in this area was a favourite outspan for transport riders in the 19th century. The riders’ habit of constantly making coffee is said to have led to the name Koffiefontein. In June 1870, one of these transport riders picked up a diamond near the fountain. This prompted the usual diamond rush and by 1882 Koffiefontein was a booming town with four mining companies. Koffiefontein was awarded municipal status in 1892.

The 2nd World War saw Koffiefontein as a prisoner-of-war camp for Italian soldiers. Pro-Nazi South Africans were also interned here. They left their mark in the form of large outdoor paintings of Victor Emanuele and Benito Mussolini. Amongst the 800 pro-Nazi sympathisers interned with the POWs at Koffiefontein was John Vorster, who would become an apartheid-era South African prime minister and state president.


Koffiefontein’s Bird Park, featuring indigenous and imported species, The Bird Park, in Engelbrecht Street, is home to various species of exotic and indigenous birds. Approximately seven km out of town, a man-made bird park in the open countryside attracts many water birds.


Anglo Boer War Forts

Several forts were erected by the British after Boer forces under the command of General Brand and Commandant Hertzog attacked the town and mine. The remains of the first fort built here lies on a hill behind the golf course. The 17 men who guarded this fort left their signatures on the rocks surrounding the fort.

Coffee Pot Fountain

The Coffee Pot Fountain, built in the shape of a coffee pot, symbolically welcomes visitors by “pouring them coffee”.

Etienne le Roux homestead and grave

The homestead and grave of renowned South African novelist, Etienne le Roux, is located in the district.

Guard House

The guard house that was situated at the entrance to the internment camp has been meticulously restored.

Historic Buildings

Like many other Free State towns, Koffiefontein also boasts a number of interesting old buildings such as the Town Hall, which was erected in 1896, St Mark’s Church, the old Presbyterian Church and the Dutch Reformed Church (all built in the early 1900s), as well as the house in which Mr GSF Rörich, who established the town, lived. Rörich’s barn, erected in 1877, is the oldest building in town and served first as a barn, then as a shop, a church and as the town’s first school.


The library exhibits numerous historical items donated by local inhabitants.

Mining traction engine

 A mining traction engine used in 1907 during the early mining days of the town stands at the entrance to the town.

Open-air Museum

The Open-air Museum is situated at the entrance to the town.

Town Monument:

A monument, situated on a small hillock behind the school was erected with funds from local inhabitants to honour local men and women who died during the First World War. The cannon next to the monument dates back to the same period.



Luckhoff lies on the R48, 50km south of Koffiefontein and is situated close to the Van Der Kloof Dam (Orange River) and the Rolfontein Nature Reserve.


The main social & economic functions of the town include: general agricultural service centre to surrounding farming areas and social functions such as residence, education and medical services. It is an important centre for the Merino Sheep farming of the surrounding districts.


The settlement of Luckhoff was named after the Reverend H J Luckhoff and was established on the farm Koffiekuil in 1892.


Historical buildings include the Dutch Reformed Church built in 1892 out of stones from the area. The primary school is also a 100 years old and “ossewa” tracks dating from the Groot Trek can be seen in front of the school. A monument commemorating the Groot Trek is located approximately 3 km outside the town on the Fauresmith road. There is also a gunpowder house dating from the Anglo Boer War. The gas lamp in front of the City Hall was used as a streetlight during bygone times.


There are numerous farms in the district that offer hunting opportunities.



It is situated approximately 12km west of Koffiefontein. Access to the town is via the S647 between Koffiefontein and Luckhoff.


Oppermansgronde serves as a general agricultural service centre within Letsemeng. The main social & economic functions of the town include: general agricultural service centre to surrounding farming areas and social functions such as residence, education & medical services. 



The small town of Petrusburg is situated 80 km west of Bloemfontein and serves an extensive farming community – mainly sheep, maize and potatoes.


The main social & economic functions of the town include: main regional agro-processing centre, secondary agricultural service centre, social functions such as residence, education and medical services and transport support services on major routes.

Mixed farming is practised in the 3000 square km which was excised from the Fauresmith district in 1863. The main activity is sheep farming. The main crops are maize and potatoes. Modest quantities of wheat are harvested in the rare season when enough rain falls in winter and early spring. There are numerous salt pans in the district.

The centre point of South Africa is situated approximately 20 km outside the town.


Petrusburg was named after Petrus Albertus Venter whose estate provided the money to buy the farm Diepfontein, on which the town was laid out in 1891 as a church and commercial centre for an extensive farming area.



At the entrance to the town stand two British-built blockhouses dating from the Anglo- Boer War.

Anglo-Boer War Battlefields:

Many battles, such as the Battle of Poplar Grove, during which the Boer General, Christiaan De Wet, and his men concealed themselves in a poplar grove near town to try to stop the British from advancing on Bloemfontein, were fought in this area.

Mission Church

The historic little Mission Church erected on the farm Kalvedon in 1885 and now a National monument, was used as a stable by British troops during the Anglo-Boer War.

Petrusburg Cemetery

A monument dedicated to British soldiers was erected in the cemetery.

Petrusburg Monument

This monument, at the entrance to the town, honours all the citizens of Petrusburg, both past and present.


The vast saltpans in the area produce large amounts of sodium chloride.