South Africa travel tips when traveling in the Free State Province

The Free State Province of South Africa is arid, but far from boring, the Free State with its vast open spaces and cloudless blue skies offers those who like to explore, literally and figuratively, the ideal canvas.

Here, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy bird watching, animal watching, trophy hunting, hiking, horseback riding, biking, 4WD driving, white water rafting, fly fishing, camping , climbing, caving or simply relaxing in its more than 80 parks and reserves. like the picturesque Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

History buffs have plenty of important sites to delve into and those with geological interests will marvel at the Vredefort meteorite impact site, the oldest crater in the world.


The Free State is warm in summer (December-February) when most of the rain falls, but can be very cold in winter (April-July) with severe frosts in most of the province. Snow is often recorded in the eastern mountains and occasionally in the rest of the region.


Traditional dress; knitted slippers; painting on silk; beadwork; ‘mampoer’ (alcohol distilled from fruit); red meat, game and ‘biltong’ (dried meat); cherry or asparagus products; original art; beautiful handmade items from Phuthaditjhaba; mohair rugs and sandstone products.


Golden Door:

Highlands National Park In the Maluti Mountains, named for the golden sandstone cliffs; the scenery is magnificent incl. the imposing Brandwag rock and invigorating climate; overnight stays are a popular option for both humans and animals in this highland habitat


The ‘City of Roses’, Bloemfontein has cultural and political significance, with sandstone architecture, major museums and monuments and a busy calendar of events; don’t miss the Franklin Game Reserve, the only one in the world completely surrounded by a city; the Macufe Festival in September; the Loch Logan waterfront; the historical jazz performances of the municipality and the War Museum.

Parys and the Vredefort dome:

Named after Paris, Parys is situated on the Vaal River in the Vredefort Dome, a crater caused by a massive meteorite that struck the earth some 250 million years ago; in Parys, don’t miss Golf Island in the middle of the Vaal and other water activities and in Vredefort, adventure junkies can go hiking, see virgin Saint paintings and iron age settlement ruins, rock climb and abseil; the 200 km dome is best seen from the air.

The battlefields:

Many historical sites related to the Anglo-Boer War are located in the Free State. Explore 13 battlefields, 8 military monuments, 2 war museums, and 3 war cemeteries and concentration camps. Some of the major war battles in 1900 are: Paardeberg, Poplar Grove, Driefontein, Sannaspos, Mostertshoek, Jammerbergdrift, Sand River, Biddulphsberg, Yeomanry Hill, Roodewal, Surrender Hill, and Doornkraal.

Xhariep / Gariep:

which means ‘Great River’; a vast open grassland fed by the 2000 km Gariep Dam that offers travelers endless vistas of open blue skies, starry nights and unpolluted air; land of farms, parks and reserves ideal for hunters and eco-tourists.

Towns of Thabo Mofutsanyana:

Clarens is a picturesque town described as the ‘Jewel of the Free State’, artists and art galleries abound here and photographers find the scenery a magnet in autumn and spring; Memel is fast becoming a bird watching mecca with over 350 species including many “specials” and 15 Red Data listed species. Other attractions include the spectacular landscape and floodplain of the Seekoeivlei wetlands; Ficksburg is packed with adventure options, from the usual hiking, fishing and hunting activities to the unusual, such as scuba diving (2,650m above sea level) and oxen wagon adventures.

Eastern Highlands:

A breathtaking landscape in a pristine area with snow-capped mountains, densely populated valleys and wild gorges; ideal for romantic getaways, trout fishing, bird watching and walking; Don’t miss the bushman paintings.

Vaal River:

South Africa’s inland water mecca offering countless water sport opportunities including white water rafting, leisurely sailing, power boating and water skiing; they also have game farms, lodging facilities, camping sites and a casino; Deneysville and Jim Fouche Resort near Oranjeville are major locations.

Lejweleputswa (Free State Gold Fields):

Take underground mining tours of some of the deepest mines in the world on the Goldfields route; Visit Welkom, one of the few cities in the world planned to completion before construction where you can take a trip to the world’s deepest wine cellar 857m below the surface of the earth at the St Helena Mine and see the Gold Museum in the city, as well as Phakisa Freeway, one of the top 5 car circuits in the world; Virginia was home to the richest gold reefs in 1946 and is a nature lover’s paradise.

Basotho Cultural Village, Qwa Qwa National Park:

Qwa Qwa Scenic National Park offers an authentic traditional African experience in the form of its Basotho Cultural Village; see the reed and stick structures and mud huts, drink sorghum beer, gaze at the weaving and have a local medicine man predict fortunes for it.

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