Pioneers to progress
Historical sites in the Free State
2Dinsoaur fossils of Clarens
3Bloemfontein's history and culture
The City of Roses - Bloemfontein - is the historical "heartland" capital of South Africa's Free State province. From Boer War monuments to historic art galleries, fascinating townships, indigenous cultural villages and even a museum dedicated to the game of rugby, Bloemfontein has it all.
Philippolis, founded in 1823, is the oldest town in the Free State. It has a rich history, having been home to Griqua leader Adam Kok and writer Sir Laurens van der Post, as well as the location of British welfare campaigner Emily Hobhouse's first weaving and spinning school.
5Sandstone Estates, Ficksburg
6Free State goldfields
The southern Free State town of Koffiefontein was once a rural stopover for transport riders. It later became a diamond boom town and a WWII prisoner-of-war detention centre. See artworks left behind by the Italian prisoners.
If you want to tour the eastern Free State and parts of the Drakensberg, an ideal base for these adventures is Harrismith, on the N3 between Durban and Johannesburg.
Precisely because of its location, Harrismith was a pivotal centre during the South African War (also known as the Anglo-Boer War). Held by the British, the town was also at the apex of a series of blockhouses initially built to defend the railway line.