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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 134 km2 (52 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 white farm house just below the visitors' centre was built in 1850 by Jan Gabriel Marais In 1848 Jan Gabriel settled with his family on the farm Diepkloof, building the typical farmyard with homestead, barn, walls, kraals and a dam.

Wall paintings in the living room have been restored to their original splendor. Woodwork is proof of good workmanship.

The red brick building was built in the 1890's by Jan Gabriel's son Frans. The family graveyard is a few hundred meters from the house.

The restored farmyard is now a museum, offering the opportunity to experience the typical farm life of earlier days.

diepkloof farm house

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.

farm house suikerbosrand