Maria Moroka Game Reserve, Free State
Did you know?
Dr Maria Moroka, after whom the reserve is named, was a Struggle hero from Thaba Nchu.
Almost all nature reserves in the Free State province are created around large, scenic dams, and the Maria Moroka Game Reserve is no exception.
But one of the things that sets this park apart is that it is close to a very special mountain, called Thaba Nchu mountain, the spiritual homeland of the Basotho people who have lived here for hundreds of years, first under Chief Moroka in 1830, and later under the more famous Chief Moshoeshoe.
The mountain, only about 70km from the provincial capital (and airport) of Bloemfontein, rises above the Maria Moroka Game Reserve.
The large body of water at its centre is the Moutloatsi Setlogelo Dam, which is popular with anglers (and those who love sundowners on a boat).
You can walk or drive and see herds of eland, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, springbok, blesbok and zebra. Sometimes there are spectacular sightings of birds – hundreds of blue cranes at times – plus the cheerful common or garden birds chirping at dawn.
But they are not the only attraction; there’s also the setting. As all the websites carrying any information Maria Moroka will tell you, this is 'Big Sky' Country. The air here is clear, the horizons are wide, and the nearby mountain Thaba Nchu (Black Mountain) makes it all jump into focus.
Interestingly, the large hotel within the game reserve used to be a casino, and has a swimming pool, putt-putt course, jacuzzi, sauna and a few other glitzy attractions – completely different to the standard little self-catering chalets you find at a provincial park like this.
You’re less than an hour’s drive from the city of Bloemfontein, but it feels as if you’re far, far away. As a bonus, this is a great stopover point if you’re travelling to the Lesotho border post and Maseru.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Black Mountain Hotel
Tel: +27 (0) 51 871 4200
Fax: +27 (0) 86 601 2838
Maria Moroka Game Reserve
Tel: +27 (0) 51 873 2427
Fax: +27 (0) 51 873 2466