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LOCAL TIME: 06:28 am | Sunday, 18 November
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Paul Roux, Eastern Free State

Paul Roux, Eastern Free State, South Africa

Paul Roux is a tiny Free State ‘dorpie’ (village) in the Eastern Free State, not far from Bethlehem. Named for the well-known Dutch Reform Pastor who founded the village in 1909, Paul Roux hasn’t grown much in the interim, and has managed to retain the unique rural charm of the area.

The village has a population if around 6000 people, many of them living and working on the surrounding farms. Poplar trees are plentiful in the area, and as definitive of the northern part of the Eastern Free State as the surrounding flat-top sandstone mountains of the Malutis and Witteberg, wheat fields and farmlands, and the little church-dominated villages themselves.

Besides the very clear and very impressive 3-toed prints from a T-Rex type dinosaur that lived over 150 million years ago, which can seen on the Uniondale Farm just outside Paul Roux and are clear enough to impress anyone, Paul Roux features some very worthwhile outdoors attractions, such as the Holhoek Hiking Trail.

The entire area has been proclaimed a conservancy, and nearby wetlands, currently being restored, attract a huge number of bird species. The town too is being restored by the community, with building getting fresh licks of paint, gardens and trees being planted and other measures taken by the Paul Roux Resident’s Forum to promote Paul Roux as an eco-tourism destination.

In the words of the Forum’s Chairperson: Paul Roux is a unique farm village…(where) peace, friendliness, the love of people, nature, and the arts and crafts all blend into tranquil harmony, with low levels of crime, causing residents to be exceptionally proud of their village, and bidding visitors a hearty welcome.

Getting there: Paul Roux is situated just south of Bethlehem on the N5. Look out for the Rock with the town name on it…and ask a local how that rock got there…its a delightful little story, but no-one really knows if its true…