Hiking in the Free State The Free State is great for hiking

Home to the Vredefort Dome - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, meetings in the Free State can be combined with many fun experiences. Learn about the customs and traditions of the Basotho people, enjoy a myriad of water sports, and stroll around artsy Clarens.

Did you know?

The Free State is South Africa's 3rd largest province, covering 10,6% of the country's surface area.

The Free State province is known as the ‘breadbasket of South Africa' due to its thriving agricultural industry. The main city, Manguang/Bloemfontein (meaning Flower Fountain), renowned for its spectacular gardens, is the country's legislative capital and also the Free State's meetings capital.

The Bloem Spa Lodge and Conference Centre, located on a secluded hillside, offers a tranquil setting for conferences of up to 200 delegates. Guests can enjoy spa treatments and walking trails.

The Southern Sun Bloemfontein, with its classic Cape Dutch architecture and landscaped gardens, is a great venue for small- and medium-sized conferences of up to 60 delegates. And Bloemfontein is home to many more quality venues of different sizes.

You can also explore the city's many lovely attractions. Enjoy the sights at the Franklin Nature Reserve or sip on sundowners at the well-known Naval Hill lookout point. For more traditional African flavour, visit one of the local townships and explore the local culture.

Just an hour's drive from Johannesburg on the Vaal river (known for its water sports) is the arty town of Parys with its plethora of antique shops, art shops, and eateries. There are good conference venues on the city’s outskirts, as well as team building adventure operators.

Khaya iBhubesi, for example, has a selection of meeting venues, the largest catering for 500 delegates. It also offers 5 accommodation options - from chalets and river lodges, to a guest house, log cabins and Zulu huts. The nearby Vredefort Dome, the world's oldest meteorite impact site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is definitely worth visiting.

Further afield there is much to be enjoyed in the Free State province and Free State meeting venues are plentiful - not only in the towns, but in the countryside as well. Small towns like Ladybrand, Clocolan and Fouriesberg offer fascinating insights into everyday life in the province.

In the serene surroundings of the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the eastern Free State, you’ll find the Golden Gate Hotel, formerly the Brandwag Hotel. It offers self catering accommodation options, hotel rooms and conference facilities for up to 150 delegates. The park has wonderful sandstone cliffs, rivers, wildlife, and a Basotho cultural village where you can see basket weaving, maize crushing and traditional Basotho dancing.

In the nearby Maluti Mountains you’ll find Maluti Mountain Lodge. A relaxing mountain retreat, it has conference facilities for 35 people and accommodation for 60. It overlooks the beautiful village of Clarens.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Free State Tourism Authority
Tel: +27 (0)51 411 4300
Email: info@freestatetourism.org

How to get here

If you're travelling to Bloemfontein, you can fly from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town international airports and also from some of the country's national airports.

Best time to visit

The Free State is a year-round destination with warm summers and mild winters.

Tours to do

If you're visiting the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, be sure to visit the Basotho Cultural Village in the park and the quaint town of Clarens located beside the park with its art and antique shops.

Get around

Travelling by coach, bus or car is the best way to see the Free State.

What to pack

If you're travelling to the Free State during July and August, do pack some winter clothes as temperatures can reach freezing point at night.

Where to stay

There are a wide variety of accommodation options in the Free State from quaint guest houses and hotels, to lodges and country houses.

Best buys

Pick up African arts and crafts at the Basotho Cultural Village in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.