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Free State Province

Nelson Mandela said of the Free State: "The Free State landscape gladdens my heart, no matter what my mood. When I am here I feel that nothing can shut me in, that my thoughts can roam as far as the horizons."

The Free State Province lies in the heart of South Africa, with the Kingdom of Lesotho nestling in the hollow of its bean-like shape. Lying between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south, the region is one of flat, rolling grassland and crops fields, rising to lovely sandstone mountains in the northeast.

Golden Gate National Park

The Golden Gate National Park is a Free State Nature Reserve in South Africa, located in the north eastern part of Free State and derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park offers rejuvenation of the body and mind. You can spend time in the majestic Maluti Mountains, hiking, horse riding, exploring caves and The vulture’s bird hide welcomes birders to a proper vulture feast. You will be transported back in time at the Basotho Cultural Village and it take you on a journey where a chief offers you mqombothi (sorghum beer), his wives offer you the fruits of their labour and a traditional healer offers you insight into African spirituality.

Gariep Dam Nature Reserve

Gariep Dam is the biggest Dam in South Africa and attracts fishing enthusiasts and boat lovers. It is surrounded by nature reserves with wildlife running on open plains.

The Gariep Dam Nature Reserve has the largest population of Springbok in any nature reserve in South Africa.

Located on the Orange River in a gorge at the entrance to the Ruigte Valley, is the Gariep Dam Nature Reserve. The dam is the largest in South Africa expanding over 36 487 hectares. The dam is open to water sports including angling, canoeing, boating and skiing. The reserve has the largest number of Springbok in the country. The Gariep Dam Nature Reserve's tranquillity and beauty is a must for those seeking break from the rush of life.

Gariep Dam has many activities to keep visitors entertained. Water sport on the dam is a big attraction with people coming from all over to enjoy the facilities.

  • Dam wall tours
  • Nature reserve - Game drives, angling, water sport, bird watching, bush camp for picnic
  • Forever resorts - Putt-putt, tennis, fishing, bowls, hiking trails, volley ball, swimming pool, splash pool for the kids, kiosk at swimming pool, trampolines, golf, sailing (own equipment ), canoeing (own equipment ), motorboat launch (own equipment ), entertainment programmes in school holidays, picnic and braai areas
  • Siloam Village - Quad-bike game viewing trails, mountain bikes available for trails, boat available to drop you off at an island for the day, fishing, hiking, etc.
  • Orange Valley - River rafting, horse riding
  • Boat trips on the Dam


Situated in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains in the Free State Province, Clarens is known as the Jewel of the Eastern Free State.

Situated along the Highlands Route, a stone's throw from the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Clarens is blessed with soul-stirring views. The Golden Gate gets its name from the shades of gold and ochre cast by the sun on the sandstone cliffs for which the region is famous.

Clarens is known for its spectacular sandstone mountains and wonderful climate; it is one of the most picturesque spots in South Africa and has recently been acclaimed as the best Trout Fishing waters in South Africa.

Many of the homes, restaurants and shops in Clarens were crafted from sandstone, contributing to the town's appeal. Make a point of popping into the local arts and crafts stores. Ask about the Artists Amble, a fun route that incorporates a number of galleries run by local artists. If you're in the mood for shopping, make a point of addling the colourful traditional Basotho blankets, arts and crafts to your list.

Clarens offers a fleet of attractions and is an adventure tourism hotspot, with quad biking, paintball, abseiling and white water rafting all available nearby. So plan a trip to Clarens now and find out for yourself why is called The Jewel of the Free State.

Vredefort Dome

This World Heritage Site is called the Vredefort Dome - a crater formed when an asteroid struck Earth.

In the Free State you will also find the Vredefort crater which is the largest verified impact crater on Earth.

The Vredefort Impact Crater was formed when an asteroid struck Earth about two billion years ago in an area that is now the country of South Africa. At the time of formation, the crater is believed to have been about 300 kilometres across.

This is the biggest meteorite impact that geologists have yet found on Earth and it is nearly twice as big as the impact that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. This makes it a site of great importance for scientists. It is also the oldest impact crater that has been found on Earth. It is mainly for these reasons that it has been made a World Heritage Site.


Bloemfontein, the Judicial Capital City of the Free State Province in South Africa, is centrally situated in middle of the Province, as well as in the country. It is the sixth largest city in South Africa, and also known as the “City of Roses”, for its abundance of these flowers and the annual festival held there. The City’s Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning “place of cheetahs”

Museums and military buildings speaks of the history and remembering the Anglo-Boer War (also known as the South African War). The National Museum and Anglo-Boer War Museum are highly regarded among historians.In the South African Armour Museum you can see displays tanks, weaponry and an original military hospital. Naval Hill is overlooking the city with a striking white horse marking its slopes, depicting the Anglo-Boer War horsemen. This is also home to a statue of Nelson Mandela, placed to look directly at the birth place of the ANC in Bloemfontein. Bloemfontein is also home to the Free State’s only botanical garden – the tropical oasis, Orchid House. You can also visit the Windmill Casino and the Bloemfontein Zoo. This is apart form an array of historic buildings.