Motheo and Xhariep region
Did you know?
Lord of the Rings author, JRR Tolkien, was born in Bloemfontein, Free State, on 3 January 1892.
The Free State's Motheo and Xhariep regions are the two most southern districts of this wonderfully diverse province. The majestic Maluti Mountains on the Lesotho border; cultural villages; historical sites and pristine game reserves are among the top Motheo and Xhariep attractions visitors seek out.
The Motheo and Xhariep regions are anchored by Motheo's pretty city of Bloemfontein, nicknamed the ‘city of roses'. Bloemfontein was established in the 1800s by Dutch and British settlers and was a key player in the South African War. Its rich history is reflected in everything from its architecture to its museums and tours, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in its past.
East of Bloemfontein is Thaba ‘Nchu, a town with a strong Basotho cultural influence. Pop in and visit the Mmabana Cultural Centre where you can view and buy local African art. You can also catch up on some game viewing, fishing and bird watching at the nearby Maria Moroka Game Reserve.
If you're after scenic beauty, you can't go wrong with the Maloti Tourism Route, which traverses this area before heading out to the eastern highlands and Maluti Mountains.
The Xhariep region too is deeply etched with history. The largest concentration camp erected by the British during the South African War was located at Bethulie and the area is dotted with graves, monuments and memorials from this era.
Xhariep's cultural heritage is remembered in its San rock art sites, notably around Bethulie, and San and fossil exhibitions such as those at the Pellissier House Museum.
Reserves like Tussen die Riviere Nature Reserve and Mynhardt Game Reserve feature game and abundant birdlife, providing perfect backdrops for afternoon picnics.
Pick up the Diamond and Wine Route and visit the world's oldest diamond mining town at Jagersfontein. The mine produced 2 of the 10 biggest diamonds in the world and is a must-see in this region.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Free State Tourism
Tel: +27 (0) 51 411 4300