Smithfield, the province’s third oldest town, is tucked away in savanna country amongst wide open spaces and vast expanses of nature. If one continues on the national road on which it lies, you’ll land up in Port Elizabeth. It is nestled at the foothills of the Maluti Mountains and affords visitors view that are almost too good to be true.
The fresh air and the Karoo hospitality slots visitors right in to the sleepy pace of the town that rushes for no one. Those visitors with a sense of adventure don’t have to look far for an outlet with the town’s surrounds providing an abundance of trails and paths for hikers and mountain bikers.
Like all of the best quaint towns, Smithfield has a colony of artists who dwell in town and an abundance of historical buildings, both of which make for exploration of the town and its art, fascinating. There are some highly regarded guest houses and restaurants that should be explored.
The town of Smithfield began in 1848, the year in which Sir Harry Smith, the then governor of the Cape Colony, annexed the land between the Orange and Vaal Rivers to Britain in order to re-establish British authority over the Voortrekkers. He laid the foundation for a church that was to be the centre of a town that he would name after himself. This site was 24km southwest of Smithfield’s present location. When residential stands went on sale, none of the locals bought any because they knew of the serious lack of water at the site. About a year later the town was moved.