Mahikeng, also known as Mafikeng and Mafeking, is a town of 15,000 people (2011) in North West Province, South Africa. The town has many resorts, popular around the summer season. It is famous for the Siege of Mafeking, in which Robert Baden-Powell rose to fame.
Mahikeng's main claim to fame is the fact that Robert Baden-Powell, who would become well-known as the founder of the scouting movement, defended the city ingenuously during a siege (in 1899–1900, in the Second Boer War), by making his defending force appear larger than it really was. The 217-day siege was followed in the British press, making B-P a national hero and his book on (military) scouting a best-seller among boys. When he later founded the scouting movement, he wrote Scouting for Boys.
The name Mahikeng means "the place of rocks" in the classic Setswana language of the people of the North West province of South Africa and the surrounding country of Botswana. However, the city is commonly pronounced as Mafikeng, in the vernacular of the Batswana people of Mmabatho. Most local residents still refer to the town as Mafikeng both informally and formally. Historically it was also known as Mafeking, and is still referred to as such historiographically in the context of the Siege of Mafeking and Relief of Mafeking during the Boer War.
The weather is highly changeable, fluctuating between continental and equatorial climates.
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- 1 Botsalano Game Reserve (48 km north of Mahikeng via N18/R503). Bushveld and acacia and karee woodland where a lot of rhinos and antelope are found, as are 200 bird species.
- 2 Mafikeng Game Reserve (Just east of Mahikeng). See rhinoceroses, giraffes, gemsboks, buffaloes, wildebeests and springboks in this 46 km² park of Kalahari and acacia bushveld.
- Mafikeng has Ocean Basket, a restaurant in Dr Nelson Mandela Road.
- Mmabatho Palms Hotel Casino Convention Resort is at Dr Nelson Mandela Road as well.