Klerksdorp is a mining and agricultural city of 186,000 people (2011) in North West Province. Together with Rustenburg, Klerksdorp forms the economic heart of North West Province. It is one of the hubs of the South African gold mining industry, although its importance has declined. It is expected to be a large uranium producer in the future.
Klerksdorp dates back to 1837 when the Voortrekkers settled along the Schoonspruit, and is the oldest European settlement north of the Vaal River in South Africa. Like other localities in the former Transvaal, it had its share of engagements between the Brits and the Boers, particularly during the Second Boer War, where the latter struck a decisive victory at Ysterspruit (Iron Stream), but still lost the war. It was the site of concentration camps too.
In 1995, a tragic accident in nearby Vaal Reefs where an elevator plunged down a mine shaft taking 104 lives became the worst elevator accident in history.
Apart from mining, Klerksdorp is positioned as a notable medical, retail and educational centre for North West Province and Northern Free State.
The Klerksdorp district is a major contributor to South African agriculture; maize, sorghum, groundnuts and sunflower are important crops farmed in the district. Klerksdorp has the largest agricultural co-op in the southern hemisphere, named 'Senwes'.
The farming district is also known for its Sussex cattle herds. The city is the headquarters of the South African Sussex Cattle Breeders Association.
Klerksdorp is about 175 km west of Johannesburg via N12.
Long-distance trains between Johannesburg and Cape Town calls in Klerksdorp.
- 1 Klerksdorp railway station, Delver St.
- 1 Klerksdorp Museum, Lombaard St, ☏ +27 18 487 8900. M-F 10:00-16:00, Sa 09:00-11:30, Su 14:00-17:00. Delves into the history and culture of Klerksdorp. It was built in 1891 as a prison and served as such until 1973. The house of the warden hosts period exhibitions. It exhibits the Klerksdorp sphere, spherical to subspherical objects that pseudoarcheologists consider to be man-made.
- 2 Goudkoppie Heritage Hill (Gold Hill), on N12 (near the N12 highway and the Johannesburg-Cape Town railway line), ☏ +27 18 487 8900. M-F 09:00-16:30. A climbable hill with remains of late 19th-century gold mine. It is a Provincial Heritage Site with a replica of an Iron Age village, some original Khoesan rock art and stone tools, Boer War-era graffiti, and an Anglo Boer War blockhouse.
- 3 Faan Meintjes Nature Reserve, 31 Doctor Yusuf Dadoo Road (15 km north of Klerksdorp), ☏ +27 18 487 8781. M-Sa 08:00-17:15, Su 08:00-16:45. Zebra and rhino and other wildlife viewing, though animals are somewhat sparse. It has 30 species of game and 150 species of birds.
- 4 Klerksdorp Konsentrasiekamp Monument (access Golden Way from either R30 south or Lombaard St, then Old Cemetery Rd from Golden Way to destination). To honour those who succumbed in the Klerksdorp concentration camps during the Second Boer War. Also here is the Ysterspruit Battlefield Monument.
- The Klerksdorp Dam, 10 km outside Klerksdorp on the road to Ventersdorp.
- The Klerksdorp Air Show is organised and run by pilots, including South African Aerobatic Championship winner Clifford Lotter, at the PC Pelser Airport annually and remains one of the best air shows in South Africa.
- 1 Rio Casino (off of N12 west of downtown), ☏ +27 18 469 9100. Has theater and go-karts and arcade, restaurants, and, naturally, a gaming area. It is said to be the biggest casino in the whole of Africa.
- The Oudorp hiking trail is a 12-km-long trail that winds its way through the oldest parts of the town.
- 1 Matlosana Mall, on N12 (Joe Slovo Rd) (just east of downtown), ☏ +27 18 487 6340. M-F 09:00-18:00, Sa 09:00-17:00, Su 09:00-15:00. The largest shopping centre in the North-West Province.
- 1 Jumbo Fish & Chips & India Cuisine Halal Food, 29b Kock St, Klerksdorp Central, ☏ +27 71 111 3030. Good place for kebabs.
- 1 Harmony Place Bed and Breakfast, 22 Hartley St (across the street from Anncron Hospital on north side of town), ☏ +27 18 468 3282. A pleasant guesthouse with a pool and landscaped grounds and dogs. R 697.