Bethlehem, Free State
Bethlehem is a fairly large town situated in the Free State Province in South Africa. Other towns in the surrounding areas include Bloemfontein, Kroonstad, and Harrismith. The town is found on the Liebenberg River, north of the Rooiberg Mountains. Paul Naude, Daniel Malan, and Jan Muller were three locals who bought the farm known as Pretorius Kloof in 1864. The town Bethlehem was then established. Bethlehem is run by the Dihlabeng Local Municipality, which also falls within the Thabo Mofutsanyana District Municipality of the Eastern Free State. The Township called Bohlokong is combined with Bethlehem.
The town is growing rapidly and is aiming to become the fourth largest town in the Free State. The growth can be accredited to the fact that Bethlehem is connected by rail to Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Harrismith. The name Bethlehem was derived from the biblical town with the same name; in Hebrew it means “House of Bread”
The name also bears reference to the fact that the town is founded on very fertile land where there is an abundance of wheat and sunflowers. The sale of these products makes this town the biggest commercial centre in the area.
Just outside the town of Bethlehem, you will find a famous sight, a stack of stones. It has been said, in times past, that mineworkers would drop stones on their way to and from work to ask for the protection of their ancestors. There is plenty to do in and around Bethlehem and a visit to the Frontier Inn and Casino is a good place to start. Here you will be able to have fun with all the gaming that is made available. At the Inn, the children are not forgotten as The Magic Company offers children of all ages a variety of video games to keep them busy. There is also the Little Rascals Facility that caters for younger children, and a number of restaurants to satisfy your hunger.
If you have an interest in cultural history then a visit to the Bethlehem Museum is a must. The Museum is housed in the Nazareth Mission Church that was built in 1906. There you will be able to learn about the town’s history and culture, which is represented in old farming implements and furniture. There is also a section in the museum that has souvenirs of past wars that took place in the area. In the surrounding region you will be able to visit the Golden Gate National Park, the Sterkfontein Dam Reserve and the Pretoriuskloof Nature Reserve.
Bethlehem is the place that all people in the Eastern Free State come to, to do their shopping. Amongst the larger shopping centres you have the Bethlehem Mall, the Dihlabeng Mall and also the Maluti Square. There are many other smaller shopping centres spread throughout the suburbs. Bethlehem has 4 private and 2 public hospitals as well as clinics spread around the local townships.
The Bethlehem railway line is a link between Bloemfontein and Durban. There is also a small airport, which mainly caters for chartered flights. Property for sale in Bethlehem can vary from free-standing homes to houses in gated complexes and also smallholdings and farms. Some of the suburbs that you can buy houses in are Bohlokony, Phumlamqashi, Thorisong, Giyani, Eden Small Holdings and Mary Ann Small Holdings.