Modimolle, meaning in Thwana “the forefather’s spirit has eaten”, or “God has eaten” is a medium sized town located near the southern edge of the Waterberg Massif in Limpopo province, South Africa. The town’s economy focuses primarily on agriculture and farming (citrus, grapes, watermelons and cattle) as well as wildlife and tourism. Modimolle is also located approximately 135 kilometres north of Pretoria, South Africa’s capital city.

In the 1860s, a Voortrekker group of Dutch religious zealots known as the Jerusalem Trekkers set off for the Holy Land. After discovering a river flowing northwards, they consulted the maps at the back of their Bibles and decided that it was the Nylrivier (Nile river). They settled the town and called it Nylstroom in 1866. After discovering what they believed to be a ruined pyramid, they were convinced that they had found the Nile. It was in fact, a natural hillock, known to the locals as Modimolle.

A Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1889 and is the oldest church in sub-Saharan Africa north of Pretoria. It was also used as a hospital during the Second Boer War. The first railway line reached Nylstroom in 1898, connecting the town to Pretoria. During the Second Boer War, the British operated a concentration camp in Nylstroom, where Boer women and children where interned as part of the British Scorched Earth policy. This subsequently led to the loss of 544 lives at the Nylstroom concentration camp. Strijdom Huis (Strijdom House) was the primary residence of the 6th Prime Minister of South Africa, JG Strijdom, and is situated in Nylstroom.


Attractions & Adventures in the Area:

Modimolle Town:

  • STRIJDOM HOUSE & MUSEUM “ The house where the former Prime  Minister of the Union of South Africa lived for twenty years.
  • Old Church Buildings: Hervormde Kerk (S 24° 42.063′ E 028° 24.284′) and NG Church (S 24° 42.091′ E 028° 24.232′)
  • Concentration Camp Gates (Eenheid Primary School)
  • Concentration Camp Graveyard (S 24° 42.157′ E 028° 24.163′)
  • Moth memorial (S 24° 42.157′ E 028° 24.163′)
  • General Beyers Bust (S 24° 42.157′ E 028° 24.163′)
  • Totius Bust (At Nylstroom High School)
  • Wagon Wheel Tracks (S 24° 41.898′ E 028° 24.465′)

In the Area:

Over 50 Lodges, resorts, Campsites and Guesthouses within 50 km radius

Strijdom House en Strijdom Statue

(S 24° 41.945′ E 028° 23.897′)

Advocate J G STRIJDOM (1893-1958) resided in Nylstroom (now Modimolle), where he practiced as a lawyer. He was an ardent supporter of the Afrikaner Ideal of an Independent Republic and was known as “The Lion of the Waterberg”. He served the Nationalist Party as a Member of Parliament for the area from 1929 and after 1948 became Member of the Cabinet. From 1954 to his death in 1958 He was Prime Minister of the then Union of South Africa. His Residence is a National Monument and museum, with many of his household effects and memorabilia on display.


Concentration Camp Graveyard and Moth memorial

(S 24° 42.157′ E 028° 24.163′)

The graves of 544 woman and children tell the story of the suffering of woman and children during the Anglo Boer War (1189-1902). They died in the Concentration Camp established by the British Forces, in the town during the latter part of the War.

This historic graveyard is also the last resting place of Ernest Offerman Collins who initiated the development of the town of Nylstroom and many of the early pioneers who played a role in its development.

Next to the Graveyard is the MOTH Memorial honoring all soldiers of the area who fought and died in wars, with this striking inscription?

When you go home tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow we gave our today.”  



“Wit Kerk” of the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk

(S 24° 42.091′ E 028° 24.232′)

This Church was completed in 1899 and its design was typical of the Cape Gothic style that emerged in the 19th century in South Africa.  With its beautiful whitewashed walls and silver roof, which resulted in it being given the name “Wit Kerk” (White Church) it stands out as a beacon in Nylstroom.



Hervormde Kerk

(S 24° 42.063′ E 028° 24.284′)

The first church building to be erected in Nylstroom was situated slightly East of the current Hervormde Kerk.  It was inaugurated in December 1873.  This building served the community for several years and was later broken down.  The current building was inaugurated in April 1922 and now serves two separate congregations.


Tamsens Corner Crossing (Gateway to the Waterberg)

(S 24° 42.005′ E 028° 24.342′)

Nylstroom\Modimolle was always regarded as the Gateway to the Waterberg.  This is the crossing of the original South- North Route (R101 along the Eastern side) and East- West Route (R33 to the Plato and the Western Bushveld).

The original Tamsens was one of the first shops in the town and on this corner we see that the historic name has survived the passage of time.

Wagon Wheel Tracks

(S 24° 41.898′ E 028° 24.465′)

In 1938 the historic Great Trek of the Voortrekkers from the Cape Province to the Northern Hinterland to establish an independent Republic free from British rule, was commemorated by a symbolic Ox Wagon trek over the same route.  When these wagons passed trough Nylstroom their tracks were imprinted in wet cement next to the road to the north.  Fifty years later at a similar commemoration ceremony another set of Tracks was added

Horse Rail (in front of Bakkers Pharmacy)

 (S 24° 42.109′ E 028° 24.455′)

Bakkers Pharmacy is one of the early establishments of the town, inside can be seen an interesting display of pharmaceutical and photographic antiques.

On the corner is an old Horse Rail reminding one that in the early days transport was tied up and not locked when parked.


Gen. C F Beyers Statue and Concentration Camp Memorial

(S 24° 42.166′ E 028° 24.420′)

During the early 1860s a need for a new Town and District north of Pretoria arose.  Ernest Offerman Collins an English Trader laid out a town called Nylstroom next to the Kleinnyl River, on his farm Rietvlei in 1865. The town and the New District of Waterberg were proclaimed in 1866.

For the first 65 years the town had no Town Hall or Municipal Offices.   Ludwig Field, a Norwegian national who had been a resident in the area for many years offered to sponsor the building of a Town Hall.  Following a competition for the design a freestanding Cape Dutch style Town hall was completed in 1931.  It still forms part of the current extended Municipal Complex.  Ludwig Field also made great contributions to the church and community development.  The street running past the Town Hall was originally named Field Street in his memory.

On the Square in front of the Town Hall stand a memorial for the woman and children who died in Concentration Camps during the Anglo Boer War and a Bust of Gen. C F Beyers, Assistant Commandant General of the Waterberg Commando during this war.



Gereformeerde Kerk

(S 24° 42.063′ E 028° 24.284′)

The Gereformeerde Congregation completed their first church building in 1889.  It served as a church for many years and when it became to small it was used for other community activities.  During the Anglo Boer War it also served as a sanctuary for displaced woman and children. Today it is the oldest church building north of Pretoria and still in daily use.  Plans are afoot to turn it into a museum.

The construction of the new church building was started on the same site in 1929  This building has the distinction of having been designed by Gerhard Moerdijk, who was a resident of the area and who later designed the Voortrekker Monument.


Concentration Camp Gates (Eenheid Primary School)

(S 24° 42.434′ E 028° 24.624′)

The Concentration Camp established by the British Forces to house the woman and children forcibly remove from their farms during the latter part of the Anglo Boer War (1899-1902) was situated on this site where Eenheid Primary School was later build.  The design of the gates represents canvass tents and the barbed wire fence of the Concentration Camp.


Nylstroom Station and the Steam Locomotive Called The Nylstromer.

(S 24° 42.490′ E 028° 25.315′)

The railway line from Pretoria to Pietersburg, now Polokwane, was completed in 1898.   Train enthusiasts will enjoy the original steam locomotive used and affectionately named  “The Nylstromer’ standing on a special platform at the station.