Piet Retief is a reasonably large town situated in the lush green Assegai Valley of Southern Mpumalanga. It is a popular stopping point en-route to Swaziland or Kwazulu Natal and the holiday resorts of Southern Mozambiqueand Northern Kwazulu Natal.
It was founded in 1882 on land bought from the local Swazi chief and named Piet Retief after the Voortrekker leader massacred by Dingane in 1838. Piet Retief was laid out by the surveyour G.R.von Wielligh and the district contains the 100 square kilometre of the "Little Free State" which probably is one of the smallest independant states ever known. Between 1886 and 1891 this small pocket sized state , which only had 72 inhabitants had it's own president. but on 2nd May 1891 this little state was incorporated into the Piet Retief District as Ward One.
The Piet Retief Dutch Reformed Church was built by Gerard Moerdijk in 1921 who was the architect responsible for the Voortrekker Museum in Pretoria. Piet Retief is a centre timber and paper making and was almost completely destryoed by the British during the Anglo Boer War.Activities in and around Piet Retief include:
The south eastern area around Piet Retief offers much for the keen and amature bird watchers.
A charming collection of local designed and manufactured candles are for sale and can be viewed at Rohr's Country Guest
The many dams, rivers and streams in the Piet Retief area are well-stocked with a variety of fish species, particularly
the indigenous yellowtail and Natal yellowfin. These fish species offer excellent fly and coarse fishing.
There are many excellent trails in the Piet Retief area. These include the Assegai Hiking Trail, which is a popular trail
through lovely mountain scenery.
The Phongolo Highlands Hiking Trails, feature hikes from one to five days, with some longer ones through near pristine
rolling countryside,like the Ngcaka and Mpisi Routes.
The scenery of the Mpumalanga Wetlands and the beautiful rolling mountainsides can be enjoyed on horseback.
Mondi Forest Pulp & Paper Plant:
This paper company, whose environmental concern is well-known,have informative tours available for the overseas and local
tourist interested in the paper industry.
This is the only sanctuary in the country concentrating on the protection of this beautiful and graceful little antelope.
Piet Retief Game & Bird Sanctuary on the outskirts of town.
A wide variety of local fauna and flora can be seen here, as well as many indigenous aloe species.
Piet Retief Library & Information Centre:
An informative look at the history of Piet Retief, near the town centre.
The area features many commemorations, including the Zulu War Memorial, the Heinrich Filter and Nils Larsen Monument, and
the Monument and Gravesites of the British soldiers who died at the Battle of Intombe Drift on 12 March 1879, during the Anglo Zulu War
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