Free State – Wide Open Spaces, Majestic Mountains and the City of Roses
Characterized by flat, wide open spaces, broken by majestic mountains, the fertile farming area of the Free State Province of South Africa is often referred to as the ‘bread-basket’ of the country. The Free State lies in the heart of the country, bordering the Kingdom of Lesotho to the south east – a landlocked independent country entirely surrounded by South Africa. The province is not only rich agriculturally, but in mineral deposits as well. However, many would agree that the Free State’s true wealth lies in its natural beauty and its hospitable people.
Bloemfontein, translated literally as “flower fountain” and referred to as the “City of Roses”, is the capital of the Free State as well as being the judicial capital of South Africa. Located in the middle of the province, this vibrant city offers the perfect base for exploring the surrounding area. The Golden Gate Highlands National Park, situated in the northeastern region of the province, is the Free State’s main tourist attraction. Taking its name from the dramatic golden, orange and ochre hued sandstone cliffs that are a dominant feature, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park incorporates superb examples of San rock paintings and hiking trails to suit all abilities. Other attractions that highlight the natural beauty of the Free State are the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve, Gariep Dam nature reserve and the Soetdoring Nature Reserve.
With the Free State lying in the middle of the country, many travel through the province on their way to other destinations, but an increasing number of holiday makers are taking the time to explore this stunning region of South Africa – why don’t you?