The Northern Free State
Did you know?
The Northern Free State attraction, Vredefort Dome, is two million years old, the oldest meteor impact site in the world.
The Northern Free State is a portrait of golden fields of maize, wheat and sunflowers, waterways, heritage sites and historical haunts. The list of activities and Northern Free State attractions leaves visitors spoilt for choice while exploring the region.
To jumpstart your discovery of all the activities in the Northern Free State, begin at the Vaal Dam, the biggest dam by area in the country.
As the home of inland sailing, you can expect to see hundreds of boats moored at the dam. Stop off at Deneysville for a bite to eat and enjoy this little town, with its galleries and arts and crafts markets. For the more adventurous, there are plenty of watersports on offer, from sailing to water skiing.
The Northern Free State is renowned as the home of the Vredefort Dome, the world's largest and oldest meteorite impact site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can hike the mountains surrounding the dome, abseil or rock climb or view some prime examples of San rock art.
Dip into the region's cultural heritage at Frankfort, and visit the Namahadi Arts & Crafts Centre. Here you can pick up exquisite, handmade African curios including traditional crafts and beadwork.
If you're looking for a wildlife experience, take a trip to the Koppies Dam Nature Reserve. This 4 000ha reserve features white rhino, a large buffalo herd, a number of smaller mammals and abundant birdlife. Anglers will love the Koppies Dam with its bountiful yellowfish, carp, mudfish and barbel populations.
Venture slightly south to Kroonstad and take in the historical sights and sounds of this town, where the British built a Boer (Afrikaans) concentration camp during the South African War. There are numerous historical sites in the area with fascinating tales to tell. Some are national monuments.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Free State Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)51 411 4300
How to get here
Fly direct from any of South Africa’s major cities to Bloemfontein Airport. If you’re driving; from Johannesburg and Cape Town take the N1 south and north respectively to Bloemfontein. From Durban, take the N3 out of KwaZulu Natal, and pick up the N5 at Harrismith to Bloemfontein. From Bloemfontein, continue north on the N1 motorway to Kroonstad, from where you explore the Northern Free State.
Best time to visit
The Northern Free State is generally an all-year-round destination. Spring to autumn (September to May) is warm and hot, while winter (June to August) is mild, with very cold mornings and nights.
Tours to do
Namahadi Arts & Crafts Centre at Frankfort, the Vaal Dam, the Vredefort Dome at Vredefort, Koppies Dam Nature Reserve at Koppies.
It is best to explore the region by car
Length of stay
While great day trips can be organised, it is best to spend around a week exploting the region fully.
Where to stay
There is a range of accomodation available in the area from hotels to B&B, guest houses and backpackers.
What to eat
Mielies (corn on the cob), traditional boerekos (farm-style food) with mieliepap (maize meal).
Handmade African curios and crafts from the Namahadi Arts & Crafts Centre at Frankfort.