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LOCAL TIME: 06:06 am | Sunday, 16 December
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Modimolle

Where it all began:

The "white church" in Modimolle

In the 1860s, a Voortrekker group of Dutch religious zealots known as the Jerusalem Trekkers set off for the Holy Land. After discovering a river flowing northwards, they consulted the maps at the back of their Bibles and decided that it was the Nylrivier (Nile River). They settled the town and called it Nylstroom in 1866. After discovering what they believed to be a ruined pyramid, they were convinced that they had found the Nile. It was in fact, a natural hillock, known to the locals as Modimolle. A Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1889 and is the oldest church in sub-Saharan Africa north of Pretoria. It was also used as a hospital during the Second Boer War.

Modimolle Train The first railway line reached Nylstroom in 1898, connecting the town to Pretoria. During the Second Boer War, the British operated a concentration camp in Nylstroom, where Boer women and children were interned as part of the British Scorched Earth policy. This subsequently led to the loss of 544 lives at the Nylstroom concentration camp. Strijdom Huis (Strijdom House) was the primary residence of the 6th Prime Minister of South Africa, JG Strijdom, and is situated in Nylstroom.

The South African government officially changed the name of the town to Modimolle in 2002.The name comes from the Tswana phrase, Modimo o lle, meaning “the forefather’s spirit has eaten”, or “God has eaten”. Apparently after some custom of an old local tribe who sacrificed humans to the ancestors by throwing the victims off a cliff of Kranskop (meaning “Cliff Hill”).

Modimolle today:

Kranskop Mountain

The charming town is the commercial centre of the Waterberg district. Amongst typical bushveld you will find vineyards, soft fruit farms and cattle ranches. Nylstroom / Modimolle is famous for its export grapes and soft fruits (peaches and watermelons). Other important products are cattle, game, peanuts and maize.

The pleasant climate with hot summers and moderate winters makes it a year-round holiday destination. Modimolle is popular for its birds, wildlife, hiking routes and hunting opportunities. Attractions include: A Dutch Reformed Church, Modimolle Museum, Nylsvlei Nature Reserve, and The Waterberg Biosphere.