Beitbridge is a border town to South Africa. - Province Matabeland South. At this point, there is a bridge across the Limpopo which is used both by cars as well as trains dating from 1995.  Altitude 460m  - ca. 40 000 inhabitants.  The temperatures can reach around 35 degrees in summer.  In winter they can a fall to about 5 degrees at night. Some of the things to see and do in Beitbridge include:Beitbridge Border Post: The Beitbridge Border Post is one of the busiest land border crossings in Southern Africa, and it is an interesting place to observe the comings and goings of people and goods between Zimbabwe and its neighboring countries. The town itself is small, but has some interesting architecture and historical sites that are worth visiting.

  • Limpopo River: The Limpopo River, which forms the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa, is a popular spot for fishing, swimming, and boating.

  • Crocodile Ranch: The Beitbridge Crocodile Ranch is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can see crocodiles and other reptiles up close.

  • Rourou Dam: A man-made lake that offers a variety of water sports and recreational activities, including fishing, boating, and picnicking.

  • The Limpopo Valley: The Limpopo Valley is a beautiful area of natural beauty with many species of wildlife.

  • The border with South Africa and Botswana: Beitbridge is located near the border with South Africa and Botswana, so you can take a day trip to the neighboring countries and experience their culture and customs.

  • Shopping: Beitbridge is a great place to shop for traditional Zimbabwean crafts and souvenirs, with many markets and shops selling everything from textiles and pottery to jewelry and carvings.

  • Beitbridge Museum: The Beitbridge Museum is a good place to learn about the history and culture of the area and the people who live there. Apart from paintings to remind you of your visit, you will find many different shona sculptors in Zimbabwe such as Sam Kuve (Sampson Kuvenguhwa) from whom you can buy beautiful sculptures depicting animals, or life in general in Zimbabwe.


Zimbabwe Map

The town of Beitbridge was named after Alfred Beit, the founder of the De Beers diamond mining company and a business associate of Cecil Rhodes. He was also a director of several companies, including the British South Africa Company and Rhodesia Railways. The Alfred Beit Road Bridge, which is a prominent feature of Beitbridge, was constructed in 1929 and financed jointly by the Beit Railways Trust and the South African Railways. This bridge, and subsequently the town, were named in honor of Beit's significant contributions to the region's infrastructure and economic development.

Alfred Beit, born on February 15, 1853, in Hamburg, German Confederation, was a notable figure in South Africa's history, renowned as an Anglo-German gold and diamond magnate. His legacy extends beyond his business acumen, as he significantly contributed to infrastructure development in Africa and various educational and scientific endeavors.

Beit's early life in Hamburg marked the beginning of a journey that would see him become a central figure in South Africa's diamond and gold industries. Apprenticed to Jules Porgès & Cie, a diamond firm, he honed his skills in stone examination. His initial venture into property speculation in South Africa laid the groundwork for his future successes. After moving to Kimberley, Cape Colony, in 1875, Beit quickly became intertwined with the diamond business, collaborating closely with Cecil Rhodes and playing a vital role in the Kimberley Central Company. His focus on the Kimberley mine and subsequent involvement in the goldfields of Witwatersrand in 1886 marked significant expansions of his business interests.

In 1888, Beit shifted his base to London, better positioning himself to manage his financial empire and support Rhodes' ambitions in Southern Africa. His life in London was characterized by significant real estate acquisitions, including Tewin Water near Welwyn, a large Regency house with Victorian additions. However, Beit's involvement in the controversial Jameson Raid of 1895, aimed at triggering a coup in the South African Republic in the Transvaal, resulted in both him and Rhodes being found guilty in a House of Commons inquiry. Despite this setback, Beit continued to exert considerable influence in Southern Africa.

Beit's personal life was marked by his decision never to marry, and he had no children. He passed away on July 16, 1906, at Tewin Water, leaving behind a substantial estate. His philanthropic legacy is profound; he established the Beit Trust, which provided significant funds for infrastructure development in former Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi), focusing later on university education and research. Notably, one of the major projects financed by the Beit Trust was the Birchenough Bridge in former Southern Rhodesia. Additionally, in recognition of his generous donations, the Royal School of Mines at Imperial College London erected a memorial to Beit, and the Imperial College residential halls on Prince Consort Road were named Beit Hall in his honor​

Beit's contributions to infrastructure and education, along with his central role in the diamond and gold industries, have left an indelible mark on the history and development of Southern Africa. His legacy continues to be felt in the region, notably in the form of educational and infrastructural developments funded through his philanthropic endeavors.

Hippo 1200 x 900 px 1050 x 900 px 1250 x 800 px

Market Scene

Painting by Barry Lungu