Ixopo, immortalized in Alan Paton’s “Cry the Beloved Country” is the main centre of the Southern Midlands. Although originally named ‘Stuartstown’, the original onomatopoeic Zulu name has prevailed. When pronounced in Zulu, the ‘click’ letter (letter ‘x’) is reminiscent of the cattle’s hooves moving through the local marshes. Ixopo’s countryside is very attractive, ranging in height from 400m to 1800m and therefore, give Ixopo a very distinct and diverse landscape.
The C J Rhodes 1870 National Heritage Site is situated on a Farm, in the Umkamaas Valley. This is where Cecil John Rhodes and his brother Herbert, first farmed cotton in 1870. The first wagon road from Pietermaritzburg to Cape Town was found in what now is a, nature reserve. In October 1871 Rhodes left the colony for the diamond fields of Kimberly.
There is a very distinctive floodlit cross, bestowing peace and goodwill on the Town and the nearby Buddhist Retreat Centre. For over twenty years people of all religions, have been visiting the Buddhist Retreat to experience total peace and tranquility. Different paths meandering through the 300 Acre property each bring their own revelation: follow the pine-scented path to the Dam; walk past ancient cycads to the tracks of early Voortrekker wagons; or make your way to the rocky outcrop that provides a perfect seat for contemplating the Valley below. Nearby are the breeding sites of the rare Blue Swallow - the Endangered Wildlife Trust has appointed the Buddhist Retreat Centre a custodian of these rare swallows. Their presence, together with the Buddhist Retreat Centre's commitment to encouraging the indigenous biodiversity of the Area, has led to the Centre being declared a Natural Heritage Site, by former President Nelson Mandela.
Justice Raymond Mnyamezeli Mlungisi Zondo (popularly known as Judge Raymond Zondo) was born in this rural town, in 1960. South African president Cyril Ramaphosa announced on the 22 of March 2022, the appointment of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo as the next chief justice of the Country's Constitutional Court.