Top 10: Natural attractions in the Free State
Golden Gate Highlands National Park
© South African Tourism
1Golden Gate Highlands National Park
This spectacular national park is located in the scenic north east of the Free State province. The ochre and gold sandstone cliffs gave this park its name and the area is rich in San rock art.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is the oldest and largest meteorite impact site in the world – and a must-see natural phenomenon. The area is popular with hikers and adventure-tourists.
3Gariep Dam Nature Reserve
The largest nature reserve in the province, this nature reserve is situated along the Gariep Dam and the Orange River and is home to a wealth of animal, plant and bird-life
4Tussen Die Riviere Nature Reserve
Tussen Die Riviere Nature Reserve is situated in the southern Free State between the Caledon and the Orange Rivers – 2 of South Africa’s mightiest watercourses. It’s hard to find a more evocative setting for a nature reserve.
5Free State National Botanical Garden
Located on the outskirts of Bloemfontein the Free State National Botanical Garden has over 400 species of plants from the region including the vibrant red-hot pokers and wild dagga plants for which the province is renowned.
The Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve is a water wonder in the Eastern Free State, offering wildlife, birding, windsurfing and flyfishing with a magnificent view over the Drakensberg.
7Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve
Moolmanshoek is situated in the eastern Free State near Ficksburg, and is renowned for more than 230 species of birds as well as zebra, blesbuck and other plains game species.
8The Franklin Game Reserve
The Franklin Game Reserve in Bloemfontein is one of only 2 reserves in the world situated in a city (the other is in Hong Kong). For those who love nature, Hamilton Park on the reserve's west slope boasts more than 3000 orchid specimens.
9Willem Pretorius Game Reserve
Situated in the heart of The Free State – the reserve covers over 12000 hectares with the Allemanskraal Dam as a central feature. Excellent game viewing and birding on offer.
10The Maluti Mountains
The spectacular Maluti Mountains form the border between the Free State and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho. Pony-trekking with local communities is a popular past-time in these rugged mountains.