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St Augustine’s Guest Estate, Modderpoort, Ladybrand, Eastern Free State.
“…and I never remember in Europe, neither among the Alps, nor in north Italy, to have witnessed the same rich violet and orange tints in mountain scenery, which bathe the whole eastern side of earth and sky within one’s view just before an African sunset…No words can possibly convey the idea of the peculiar glory that the eye then drinks in. Nothing in oil colours and only occasionally something in water colours seems to come up with it.” Canon Beckett, Modderpoort, September 1869
It was a Mission Station of the Mission Brotherhood of St Augustine of Hippo and St Paul. It was started by Canon Beckett, who arrived in Bloemfontein in 1869. The farm was in so-called “conquered territory” and a Free State commando was for a time camped on the farm, making it impossible for the mission party to settle there. On April 14 1869, Canon Beckett reported that at last peace had been made between the Free State and the Basotho. Together with Br. Wilfred and Br. John, they made their way to occupy the farm and start the Mission Station. Initially they moved into the cave where they lived and worked. After enclosing a garden (the first seeds were sown on St Augustine’s Day in 1869), they started rolling stones down from the Platberg with which to build the chapel and the other buildings. The large Missionary School and Teachers Training College (Now Modderpoort Conference Centre) was closed in 1955.
The priory, guest cottages and part of the old school have subsequently been converted into guest accommodation, with several en-suite rooms, cottages, a self-catering flat and backpacker accommodation. Meals and teas are served in the Priory Dining Room or on the sandstone verandah with its beautiful view of the Maluti Mountains. Enjoy hikes to the Bushman (Bushmen) paintings or the historical cave church. Excellent bird-watching. Reading in the attic library or be revitalised in the Health and Beauty Spa. Horse riding can be arranged. A small entrance fee is charged of day visitors.
It is an ideal stopover and a good base from which to explore the Eastern Free State and Lesotho.
6-km west of the R26 between Clocolan and Ladybrand, which is on the N8 southeast of Bloemfontein, which is the intersection of the N2 with the N6 and the N8. Turn off the R26 towards Marseilles. Cross the railway line and turn left a few hundred meters further on at the St Augustine’s signpost. BSStaugustine
Contct: Box 28 Modderpoort 9746
+27 (5191) 4 0738 telephone and fax
3349/3%Last update: 2014-03-06 14:57
Author: Alan McIver
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