Steeped in history and nestled in the Suikerbosrand hills, with the Blesbokspruit river flowing through it, Heidelberg borders on the 13 000ha Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve and offers visitors a taste of a picturesque country lifestyle. It's also among the attractions in Gauteng that pay tribute to the past with its well preserved Victorian architecture.
Only 50km from Johannesburg and 60km from OR Tambo International Airport, the town is located on the N3 highway from Johannesburg to Durban.
In 1862 Heidelberg began as a trading station built by German settler, Heinrich J Uekermann. Uekermann acquired part of Farm Langlaagte and established a general dealership there.
From 1880 to 1883, which included the years of the first Anglo-Boer War, Heidelberg served as the capital of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek under the triumvirate of Paul Kruger, PJ Joubert and MW Pretorius. In 1885 the Witwatersrand gold reef was discovered in the Heidelberg district and the office of the mining commissioner was set up in the area.
Heidelberg developed as a typical Victorian town, and many buildings dating back to the period between 1890 and 1910 have been well-preserved.
Visit the AG Visser House where the renowned Afrikaans poet Dr AG Visser lived and practised as the local doctor. The house was built in 1890 and Visser wrote all his poems in the house.
Another of the must-see places to visit in Gauteng is the Diepkloof Farm Museum established in the 1850s. The farmhouse is one of the buildings that still remained after the war and has been restored to its original state – with period furniture and crockery. The farm buildings include the original home, wagon barn and a school consisting of a classroom, storage and quarters for a teacher. Pop into the café situated next to the farm for some treats.
Also visit the Heidelberg Transport Museum that showcases the history of transport from penny-farthings to Model T Fords and Formula One cars. The museum reopened in 2010 and a restoration project has been restoring the building to its former glory.
The beautiful Klipkerk is one of Heidelberg’s well preserved stone churches. The cornerstone of the church was laid in 1890.