The Free State town of Smithfield was founded by Sir Harry Smith, governor of the Cape Colony and was at the centre of much conflict between the Free State burghers and the local Basotho in the mid 1850s.

There are many excellent examples of Bushman rock art in caves in the surrounding hills and watersports and outdoor activities can be enjoyed along the Caledon River and at the nearby Gariep Dam. Smithfield is also an ideal stop-off en-route to Lesotho.