B E T H U L I E
Accommodation that's Halfway to Everywhere
North to South
or East to West –
You need a sleep?
News! The tar road linking Bethulie
Bethulie is located just 90 minutes south of Bloemfontein in South
Africa's Free State. It's six hours' drive from Johannesburg and
Pretoria, five from Port Elizabeth and East London, eight from
Durban and nine from Cape Town. That makes it the ideal
accommodation stopover between South Africa's major cities -
but it's also a worthwhile destination in its own right.
The longest road/rail bridge in Africa; a clutch of well-stocked
game reserves and the scenic splendour of Lake Gariep; site of the
most infamous concentration camp of the Anglo-Boer War; the
childhood haunts of actor Patrick Mynhardt, who won fame as the
'Boy from Bethulie' - these are just a few of the points of interest
that give Bethulie its broad-based appeal.
Bethulie is named after the apocryphal home of Judith, the
beautiful young widow who saved Jerusalem by beheading an
Assyrian general and putting his army to rout. Founded in the early
1830s, the town is close to where the Caledon and Orange rivers
join forces and soon sprang to prominence as a key river
crossing between the Cape Colony to the south and the Boer
republics to the north.
The town retains a frontier feeling that conjures echoes of days long
gone. For generations its chief role has been to serve the needs of
hard-working sheep farmers and their families in the surrounding
district; but in addition Bethulie prides itself on being a safe,
friendly and peaceful oasis, offering attractions and diversions
that excite discerning visitors from all over the world.
The Royal Hotel
GUEST LODGE & HERITAGE CENTRE
In recent times the most exciting development in the Lake Gariep
region has been the renaissance of Bethulie's famous Royal Hotel.
Founded in the 1880s, the Royal Hotel combines all that's best in
traditional South African hospitality with a keen understanding
of modern needs. It's currently benefiting from a far-reaching
makeover which has reinforced its reputation as
'the hotel that's better than home.'
Ensuite convenience and enterprising cuisine; access to a huge
Accommodation at Bethulie's Royal Hotel ranges from tourist
For more information on Bethulie's Royal Hotel, phone
The perfect stopover on the way to Lesotho or
Johannesburg, if you’re travelling from Cape Town
or Port Elizabeth or the South Coast.
Di Jones, Malealea Lodge, Lesotho
We loved the Royal Hotel, especially the dinner with
Vivaldi and the breakfast with blues and jazz.
Best of luck in everything you are doing
Kurt and Sabine Holtzhausen, Munich, Bavaria
Visiting Bethulie was the highlight of our South African tour.
You blew the other places away! The Royal Hotel deserves
to be world-famous.
Boris and Maria Mercorio, Richmond, Virginia
In Spain we don’t hear nearly enough about South Africa, but
Bethulie is a great introduction to the whole country.
Can’t wait to tell our friends!
Ramiro and Isabella Pontes de Leon, Barcelona, Catalonia
Twenty-Five Things to Do
IN AND AROUND BETHULIE
Bethulie offers visitors a greater range of activities than
any other town of similar size in South Africa. The selection
that follows is merely a sample of what's available. For more
information, contact the help desk at the Royal Bethulie.
1. Play golf, tennis, bowls and squash
2. Spot the rhinos in Tussen-die-Rivieren Game Reserve
3. Pay homage to bravery at the Louw Wepener monument
4. Travel the 134-kilometre circle around Lake Gariep
5. Request a recital from an internationally-acclaimed pianist
6. Prepare for heartbreak at the Bethulie Concentration Camp
7. Toast the sunset from the middle of Bethulie Bridge
8. See the black eagles nesting in the Old Quarry
9. Fish from the banks of the Orange River
10. Visit the oldest house in the Free State
11. Take a leisurely day-trip to Smithfield or Philippolis
12. Follow in the footsteps of Patrick Mynhardt
13. Ride a horse on the shores of Lake Gariep
14. Canoe, windsurf or power-boat on Bethulie Dam
15. Scan the night sky for marvels of the universe
16. Explore the Judith House collection of books and vinyl
17. Hunt for (mostly friendly) ghosts in unexpected corners
18. View the world from the summit of Krugerskop
19. Taste the finest Cape wines at a dedicated cellar
20. Visit a working sheep farm
21. Enjoy a walking tour of the Bethulie townships
22. Search for fossils that may be 250 million years old
23. Cycle the roads and off-road trails surrounding the town
24. Meet Bethulie's resident artists (and maybe ask for lessons)