Tucked into a re-entrant into the Balelesberg is the historical town of Utrecht. This quaint town is almost an historical monument and for any one interested in the history of South Africa this little town is well worth a visit.
After the British Annexation of Natal in 1843 nearly two thirds of the Voortrekkers left the colony. In 1847 a small group of Trekkers chose to settle in the beautiful area east of the Umzinyathi or Buffalo River.
The territory was granted to them by the Zulu King Mpande, first in a verbal agreement and later in 1854 in a written agreement. CJ van Rooyen, the man who concluded the agreement was an excellent Zulu linguist and well known by the Zulu King. It was van Rooyen who performed the ceremony of proclaiming Mpande King of the Zulus in 1840 after he had defeated Dingane.
The small republic became known as the “Buffaloriviersemaatschapij”. It was also often referred to as the “Old Republic” and was one of the 5 early Voortrekkers’ settlements the existed in 1850.
The Town was established in 1855 and 1856 adopted the name of Utrecht. In 1859 Utrecht became part of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek.
After the Anglo Boer War of 1899 – 1902 the region was incorporated into Natal.
The town has a number of attractive buildings and sites that give it a typical colonial era appeal and a real sense of history.
It also now has an attractive Game Park surrounding the town and one can picnic alongside the dam.