Wildlife wonders in the Free State
1Golden Gate Highlands National Park
This 11 600 hectare reserve situated in the Eastern Free State highlands supports thriving populations of wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok, Burchell’s zebra and many birds (notably the rare bearded vulture and bald ibis).
2Tussen Die Riviere Nature Reserve
3The Franklin Game Reserve
Located some 20km from Harrismith, the area around Sterkfontein Dam is characterised by rugged mountains and an abundance of water. Here you can view black wildebeest, plenty of antelope and a great variety of bird species including bearded and Cape vultures.
5Maria Moroka Game Reserve
Situated at the foot of the Thaba Nchu Mountain (close to the Thaba Nchu Sun Hotel and Casino), this reserve is home to a large variety of indigenous game and exquisite birdlife, including South Africa's national bird, the blue crane.
6Seekoevlei Nature Reserve
Seekoevlei Nature Reserve near Memel is known as 1 of the finest birdwatching spots in the country. The wetlands here attract a number of birds, including crowned and blue cranes, yellow-billed storks and wattled cranes. Hippos have also been introduced to the wetland.
7Willem Pretorius Game Reserve
Covering 12 005 hectares, at the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve you can see the 1 of world’s largest herds of black wildebeest, as well as springbok, blesbok, gemsbok, kudu, red hartebeest, eland, zebra and white rhino.
8Sandveld Nature Reserve
The Sandveld Nature Reserve is a top Free State birding spot, with one of the main attractions being the pygmy falcon. Here, you’ll also find sociable weavers, fawn-coloured larks, waxbills and white-backed vultures.
9Soetdoring Dam Nature Reserve
10Rustfontein Dam Nature Reserve
A well-known area for angling, the Rustfontein Dam Nature Reserve also offers excellent birdwatching and game-viewing (you'll find a wide variety of antelope).