Everybody’s Heading to Heilbron

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Established as a settlement in the late 1800s, the small town of Heilbron in the Free State owes much of its history to the stream that runs through it and the spring which feeds it. Heilbron was officially recognised as a town in 1873 and has been regarded as a farming stronghold for more than a century. With an excellent water source and fertile soil, the area boasts large stock, dairy, wheat, sorghum and sunflower farms. One of South Africa’s leading producers and distributors of dairy products, Clover SA, has a large plant in the town and its labour force is made up mainly of local residents.

The town is steeped in Anglo Boer War history, with a battlefield monument and museum depicting the bloody clash between the Matabele and the Voortrekkers at Vegkop. Although the battle ended in victory for the Voortrekkers, it came at a price, with the Boer camp suffering the loss of many lives. It wasn’t the only time the town has had to face adversity. During the second Anglo Boer War, which was fought from 1899 to 1902, a concentration camp for Boer women was established in the town by the British in an attempt to stop the women from providing support to their men in the field.

The tragic and disastrous results are well documented. The Mother and Child Monument erected in the town after the war is a sad reminder of those dark days and pays tribute to the 787 Boer women and children who lost their lives in the camp at Heilbron.

The district, which is traditionally known as the Reimland, is noted for its good hunting and has become a popular destination for city dwellers. The area offers a plethora of game farms and accommodation and is ideal for those looking for the true African hunting experience. Many of the beautiful sandstone farmhouses that dot the area have been converted into guest lodges, but, despite the influx of tourists, most of these properties remain fully operational farms. Additionally, The Eeufees Dam just outside the town is the perfect spot for watersport and angling enthusiasts.

In terms of property transfers, recent statistics released by Lightstone reflect that a total of 12 transfers have taken place over the last 12 months, all of which fell into the freehold sector of the market. The average price paid for property in the area was R302 000. The sectional title sector made up a modest 5.52% of market stock, and no transfers in this sector have taken place since 2008. Interestingly enough, sectional title sales averages for 2007 and 2008 were higher than those of freehold transfers during the same period.

Although regarded as semi-rural, the town has a solid infrastructure, which includes most major retailers, banks and medical facilities. Recent articles reveal that property in the area is considered good value for money. No surprises there, as given its close proximity to some of the larger centres such as Bloemfontein, Sasolburg and Gauteng, the town and its surrounds have become an ideal - and accessible - weekend getaway destination.

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