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Amersfoort, which is named after a city in central Holland, welcomes curious Dutch tourists eager to learn about its beginnings as a Dutch Reformed Church settlement. Yet the town, located in the Vaal River basin, also tells tales of the hidden Kruger Millions and the Afrikaans heroine Racheltjie de Beer.
Despite its fairly small size the farming town of Amersfoort has its fair share of history to showcase to all who visit. It was established in 1876 when two Dutch farmers in the region donated 426 hectares of land that stretches along the banks of Schulpspruit River, located in the upper reaches of the Vaal River basin, for the establishment of a new Dutch Reformed parish. Reverend Frans Lion Cachet named the parish after the farmers’ hometown of Amersfoort – a city in central
Holland. Locals will tell you that to this day many Dutch tourists visit the town when travelling through South Africa. The town was proclaimed in 1888 and has retained parts of its Dutch heritage – its most recognisable feature is the Cape Dutch house with its characteristic gables in the centre of town, which has been granted national monument status. Today, it houses the Home Affairs office.
Although it doesn’t see as much traffic as it used to when it was built in 1896, the sandstone Paul Kruger Bridge that arches over the Vaal River – found on the outskirts of town, along the road between Amersfoort and Ermelo – has also been proclaimed a national monument. One aspect of the life in Amersfoort that hasn’t changed much is that the town is surrounded by vast open spaces that are predominantly used for sheep rearing and maize farming. The surrounding terrain is ideal for an off-road driving and biking experience. The 600-hectare Country Trax site has everything from sand tracks, steep uphill ascents and downhill ruts to water passages, rocky terrain and gravel tracks. It’s monster truck heaven for any 4x4, bundu-bashing junkie.

While it appears humble at first glance, Amersfoort reveals numerous facets of South Africa’s history – there are rumours that the Kruger Millions lie hidden somewhere in the surrounding area and it’s not unheard of for ‘gold hunters’ to spend the night in Amersfoort when they go in search of the elusive treasure. Another legend associated with the region – formerly known as the South Eastern Transvaal – is that of the Afrikaans heroine Racheltjie de Beer, who has become a bit of a protagonist in South African culture. She gave her life to protect her younger brother from a sudden change in weather that brought with it harsh cold. So you see, Amersfoort is just what you're looking for, if you're after a bit of history and peaceful solitude.

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