Ladybrand is surrounded by the beautiful hills of the eastern Free State at the foot of the majestic Maluti Mountains in Lesotho was founded in 1867 and named after Lady Catharina Brand, the mother of President Brand, then president of the Orange Free State Colony. Ladybrand, a frontier post, was established specifically to defend the conquered territory from the “marauding” Basotho.
Today, it is a cosmopolitan town serving as a trade and business centre on the border of Lesotho as well as being the administrative centre of Mantsopa District Municipality, which includes the towns of Tweespruit, Excelsior, Thaba Phatswa, and Hobhouse. Many of the inhabitants commute daily to work in Maseru, which is 18 km away.
The area is traversed by the Maluti Route on the R26 from KwaZulu Natal via the Eastern Free State, up to the Eastern Cape highlands and the Lesotho Kingdom.
Ladybrand especially is an economically bustling town with high property prices and sometimes being popularly referred to as the ‘capital’ of Lesotho.
Ladybrand is a 15-minute drive from Maseru, the capital of Lesotho. It's about 4 hours from Johannesburg, and 1.5 hours from Bloemfontein. The Bloemfontein - Durban Intercape bus stops here. One of the well-known writers in the town, George Rampai, has dubbed it The Vibrant Ladybrand due to its bustling life, though it is relatively small.
A pair of shoes is all you need.
The sandstone church in the centre of town is the main landmark. There is an old airstrip runway that makes for a nice perspective photo. As with many eastern Free State towns there are some pleasing old sandstone houses dotted around.
There are some nice walks around the edge of town – head west towards the hills behind Ladybrand. You can also play a round of golf at the club, horse ride, paintball, and other things, ask in the tourist information office. The Oldenburg Lodge 10km up the road offers horse riding, games drives, rock climbing, swimming and other activities.
For those reading this page before taking up a job in Maseru its worth noting that in general the prices of goods are the same or cheaper in Ladybrand, especially for white goods and furniture, however delivery charges may well exceed the savings compared to purchasing things in Maseru.
- Spar Supermarket. 9AM-7PM. Great supermarket for stocking up before heading in to the (Lesotho) mountains. Considerably better quality than Shoprite.
Ladybrand is a culinary oasis in this part of the Free State - driven mainly by the exacting standards of the many foreigners living in Ladybrand and Maseru. Prices are very reasonable also.
- Beef & Reef (opposite Spar) caters more for the Afrikaner crowd, but serves still excellent steak, fish and chips.
- Duck Pond Restaurant & Bar (Attached to Cranberry Cottage), 37 Beeton St, ☎ . Nice little restaurant dishing out items such as Balsamic Mushrooms with goat's cheese and Caramlized Onions on Bruschetta and Dill and Ginger Fish with Pineapple & Lime Salsa. A recent expansion now allows you to just turn-up-and-go rather than the previous practice of compulsory bookings.
- Fish Cafe (opposite the Church) offers a selection of seafood and fish, nice atmosphere and friendly owner (Munshi).
- Imperio Robertos (behind Shoprite) is perhaps the best restaurant in town, fantastic steaks, pasta and pizza dishes, nice atmosphere and friendly owner (Roberto) make for a consistently pleasant dining experience.
- Little Italy (Opposite Spar). A good place for lunch - reasonably priced pizza, pasta and salads. Outdoor seating and a takeaway menu.
- Spizzy Pizza (near the church) used to be a fantastic cozy little Italian place serving great pizzas. The pizzas are still good but the curiously stark grey interior is a little off-putting.
- The Siding (On the N8 to Maseru, at the bottom of the big hill), ☎ . Wholesome South African fare. Do an excellent Sunday lunch. Set in pleasant rural surroundings, with a few walks and nature trails starting from the restaurant grounds, the Siding has been a popular spot for a good few years now. Accommodation also available.
Cheaters (opposite Spar) offers the best place for a drink. Spizzy Pizza In summer makes a good place to sip a beer under the veranda, watching the sun set behind the church. Ciao Ciao Cocktail Lounge enjoy the chilled atmosphere.
Its worth noting that Ladybrand offers considerably better accommodation than Maseru. You will you pay on average twice as much for a room in Maseru.
- My Housy Guesthouse', 17a Prinsloo St, ☎ . From R225pps.
- Fort Amity, 18 van Riebeeck, ☎ . From R312pps.
- Ladybrand Guesthouse, 30 Nuwe St, ☎ . From R250pps.
- The Journey Guesthouse, 12 Church St (opp. Impero Roberto - behind Shoprite)), fax: +27 51 924-5004, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 13H00, check-out: 11H00. One of the pleasant old sandstone houses of Ladybrand. Soothing environment that caters for all - from backpackers to executives. Call us for a customised quotation. From R300pp.
- Twin Oaks Guest Farm, Orange Springs (18km west from Ladybrand), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 14h00, check-out: 11h00. From R240 pps.