Mahikeng is in the Dr Ngaka Modiri Molema District, (Central Region).
The area was named in 1852 by early BaRolong chiefs. Mahikeng was founded in the 1880’s.
The original name of the city, Mahikeng, literally means “the place among rocks”. The name refers to the volcanic rocks that provided temporary shelter to Stone Age humans in their hunt on animals drinking water in the Molopo River. This name was given to the area in 1852 by early BaRolong chiefs who had settled along the river, near the present day village of Rooigrond, after the upheaval of the “Difequane”. The “Difequane” was a period of intertribal war, aggravated by the passage of the exiled Zulu chief, Mzilikazi, through the area.More about the early history
Mahikeng later attracted the attention of the world during the Anglo Boer War/ South African War of 1899 to 1902 as the small British garrison under the command of Colonel Baden Powell held out for 217 days against Boer forces who had surrounded the town.
More about the Anglo Boer War / South African War
Today Mahikeng is a vibrant provincial and commercial capital and a major tourism attraction for the aspects of the history, culture and wildlife of this unique region of South Africa.
Most visitors to Mahikeng are surprised to find there is more to the town than the Anglo Boer War, the Mahikeng Siege and the Boy Scouts. Although the city prides itself on these three historically important events, all of them well documented, there is much, much more to he seen.
For many years the mentality of Empire and Colonialism predominated Mahikeng’s place in history and little relevance was placed on the role of black people in the town’s history. Since 1995, much has been done to correct this imbalance and the predominant tribe in the area, the BaRolong-Boora-Tshidi has done much to change these perceptions.
Visit the Mahikeng Museum to view the extensive ethnographic and Anglo-Boer War exhibits. To the south east of Mahikeng is Kanon Kopje, a defensive fort built during the Warren Expedition of 1885. Nearby the Kgotla of the Barolong Boora Tshidi, the tribal meeting place of Chief Montshoia. A monument honouring the Barolong who died during the Mahikeng siege stands beside another in recognition of Kgosi Besele Montshoia, head of the Barolong Regiment during the siege. Also nearby is the Mahikeng Siege Cemetery.
There are a number of sites linking the famous Sol Plaatje, South African politician, journalist, campaigner for human rights, novelist & translator, to Mahikeng at the time of the siege. These sites include his residence, his newspaper office and printing works.
The 4600 ha Mahikeng Game Reserve hosts a wide variety of game and is on the principal breeding parks for White Rhino. The Manyane Game Lodge features a lion enclosure and crocodile camp. 30 km west of the city, the Botsalano Game Reserve is a popular weekend attraction for game viewing.
Heritage House, is located at the entrance to Mahikeng on the Lichtenburg Road (R503), housing the Head Office of the North West Parks and Tourism Board at Cookes Lake.
To the south of the road to Vryburg is the Lotlamoreng Cultural Reserve and Montshiwua Dam where there is a cultural village, recreational area and a demarcated waterfowl sanctuary. Nearby is the Modimola Dam, an angling and weekend picnicking site.
The western suburbs of Mahikeng house the provincial parliament at the impressive government offices known as the Garona. The Mmabana Cultural Centre nearby promotes music and many artistic disciplines through numerous practical workshops and exhibitions. The Mmabatho Conference Centre has facilities to host up to 6,000 delegates and is centrally located for transport and hotels.
The North West Institute of Hotel & Tourism Management is located in Mahikeng.
Moving to the east the inland diving venue at Wondergat, a vast underwater network of caves used principally for diving instruction.
The Scout Centre of Excellence for Nature & Environment is located on the borders of the Mahikeng Game Reserve. This international scouting centre provides skills training in management, leadership and team building to both the local and international students.
Mahikeng is served by excellent hotels, guesthouses and bed & breakfast establishments. There is a casino located at the Tusk Mmabatho Casino Resort.
There are two golf courses: the Leopard Park Golf Club, located in the western suburbs and the Mahikeng Golf Club.
The International School of South Africa, which attracts students from all parts of Africa, is located on extensive grounds in Mahikeng.