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Vrystaat Verblyf. Hanteer Direk, Betaal Minder
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Vrystaat Verblyf. Hanteer Direk, Betaal Minder

Harrismith, just across the KwaZulu-Natal & Free State provincial line  © Steve Slater, License
Kies 'n Dorp

Vrystaat Verblyf. Hanteer Direk, Betaal Minder

The Free State is the agricultural heart of South Africa. This vast grassy plain is where more than 70% of South Africa's grain consumption is produced. The Free State is also rich in mineral wealth, gold representing 20% of the worlds total gold production.

Impressive game reserves exist such as the Willem Pretorius. The grassy plains in the south of the reserve provides ideal conditions for large herds of plain game such as black wildebeest and springbok. The ridges, koppies and plains typical of the northern section are home to kudu, red hartebeest, white rhino and buffalo. The African wildcat, black wildebeest, zebra, eland, white rhino and wild dog can be seen at the Soetdoring Nature Reserve near Bloemfontein.

Probably the most scenically attractive of all the reserves in the Free State is the Golden Gate Highlands National Park dominated by spectacular sandstone mountains. The reserve derives it's name from two massive sandstone formations that face one another across the valley.

Apart from the splendour of the Free State's nature reserves, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy horse-riding, hunting, and bird watching. The rivers and dams offer a myriad of water sport opportunities such as challenging river rafting or canoeing. Day and overnight hiking routes vary from educational tours to rough mountain treks. In addition, a large variety of festivals and events are held throughout the year with some characteristic only to the Free State.

To visit South Africa's Free State is to be touched by its rural charm, to be one with nature and where one can experience the freedom of true wide open spaces.

The Free State province of South Africa, known for its vast open plains and rich cultural heritage, offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors.

Here are 15 things to do or see in the Free State:

  1. Golden Gate Highlands National Park: Explore the stunning sandstone cliffs, diverse wildlife, and scenic hiking trails in this national park near Clarens.
     
  2. Clarens Village: Visit the charming village of Clarens, known for its art galleries, craft shops, and beautiful surroundings.
     
  3. Gariep Dam: Enjoy water sports, fishing, and boat cruises at South Africa's largest dam, located on the border between the Free State and the Eastern Cape.
     
  4. Basotho Cultural Village: Experience the traditional culture and lifestyle of the Basotho people through guided tours and cultural demonstrations in the QwaQwa region.
     
  5. Naval Hill: Visit this hill in Bloemfontein for panoramic views of the city, a statue of Nelson Mandela, and the Franklin Game Reserve.
     
  6. Boyden Observatory: Stargaze at this astronomical observatory near Bloemfontein, which offers public viewing nights and educational tours.
     
  7. Free State National Botanical Garden: Explore indigenous flora and beautiful landscapes in this garden located just outside Bloemfontein.
     
  8. Vredefort Dome: Discover the world's largest meteorite impact site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with guided tours and hiking opportunities.
     
  9. Anglo-Boer War Museum: Learn about the history of the Anglo-Boer War through exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia presentations in Bloemfontein.
     
  10. Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary: Visit this sanctuary near Bethlehem to see rescued lions, tigers, and other big cats in a natural habitat.
     
  11. Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve: Enjoy hiking, fishing, and water sports in this scenic nature reserve near Harrismith.
     
  12. Franklin Nature Reserve: Located on Naval Hill, this reserve offers wildlife sightings and walking trails with views over Bloemfontein.
     
  13. National Museum Bloemfontein: Discover a variety of exhibits on natural history, cultural history, and paleontology in this comprehensive museum.
     
  14. Phakisa Freeway: Experience the thrill of motorsports at this racing circuit near Welkom, which hosts various national and international events.
     
  15. Maloti Route: Drive along this scenic route that connects the Free State with Lesotho, offering breathtaking mountain views and opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking and birdwatching.

These diverse attractions highlight the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities available in the Free State province of South Africa.

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