View Of Diepkloof - By Friends Of Suikerbosrand
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Suikerbosrand is a prime choice for the Gauteng ecotourist. The fauna and flora of the rocky Highveld grassland biome is accurately reflected within the >220 km2(85 sq mi) of unspoiled natural environment.
A long-lost ancient Tswana city
Roughly built stone structures can be seen on several locations throughout the reserve. Pottery designs and other objects such as copper ornaments, iron spears, iron rods and hoes, indicate that the inhabitants of the area were Sotho-Tswana. The village layout and social organization is characteristic of Sotho-Tswana settlements throughout Gauteng.
Judging by the dated architectural styles that were common at Suikerbosrand, it's estimated that the builders of the stone walled structures occupied this area from the fifteenth century AD until the second half of the 1800s.
The biggest cluster of circles on the reserve form part of a much larger settlement, with what appears to be a royal kraal with commanding views of the surrounding area.
Using recent laser technology (LiDAR), researchers were able to recreate the remains of the city. The evidence gathered by researchers from WITS university suggests that the area was certainly large enough to be called a city measuring nearly 10km (6.2 miles) long and about 2km wide.
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Diepkloof Farm Museum
The Diepkloof Farm Museum offers a first-hand experience of activities found on a typical South African farm of the 19th century It is a live and functional farm museum situated on the original site amidst tranquil natural beauty.
A modern information centre with a small museum and archaeological exhibition which portrays Diepkloof's history from prehistoric times to 1900.
Historic elements such as two period-correct restored residences, a farm school constructed on its original foundation, hand stacked stone walls, agricultural lands, an herb garden with more than 40 varieties of herbs, 150-year-old pear trees, a "kapstyl" house, a wagon shed and a smithy.
Demonstrations of traditional activities can be arranged on request. These include processing of skins and hides, distilling mampoer, playing clay stick, making soap and candles, milking cows, making butter and baking bread. Curriculum orientated farm programmes for learners including learners with special needs are offered.
The Blockhouses on the reserve
No official history of the blockhouses on the eastern side of the reserve can be traced. According to "Heidelbergers of the Boer War" by I. Uys, the blockhouses on the eastern side of Suikerbosrand probably form part of the British network built to entrap Boer commandos.
Hendrik Potgieter and his party visited the Heidelberg district for the first time in 1836. They named the ridge Suikerbosrand. The first commando in the district was established in 1837, under the combined leadership of Hendrik Potgieter and Piet Uys. A small, informal town was established and when Heinrich Ueckerman visited the town, he named it Heidelberg, after his university town in Germany.
After October 1899, Boer Commandos from all over the country crossed the borders of the old Transvaal and one of history's most bloody wars began. When the British troops first arrived in Heidelberg on 23 June 1900, the Heidelberg Commando took position in the ridges north of the town, possibly the "Suikerbosrand". However, the bombs were falling dangerously near the town and General Piet Viljoen surrendered to save it.