Thabo Mofutsanyana in the north eastern Free State is a magical place where pre-historic animals, early tribes, forces of nature and time itself have all had a hand in sculpting this beautiful region. A bounty of natural, historical and cultural attractions lie waiting to be explored.

Did you know?

The world's oldest dinosaur eggs with embryos (estimated to be 200 million years old) were found in the area.

Thabo Mofutsanyana is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque regions in South Africa. Located in the north eastern corner of the Free State, Thabo Mofutsanyana borders the magnificent Maluti Mountains, which dominate its landscape.

These ancient mountains and the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, which rests along its foothills, are Thabo Mofutsanyana's biggest attractions.

The Golden Gate National Park is renowned for its impressive sandstone features which rise up from the valley and shimmer like gold in the afternoon sun.

The park holds many secrets; the oldest dinosaur embryos ever discovered were found here in 1978, fossilised pre-historic animal remains have been unearthed and San rock paintings uncovered. Activities such as hiking and nature trails, guided walks and horse riding encourage you to explore these and other wonders.

A few minutes' drive away is Thabo Mofutsanyana's Basotho Cultural Village. Here you can delve into the history and lifestyles of the South Sotho people, view traditional art and buy Basotho crafts. Enjoy the warm Basotho hospitality with an authentic meal and traditional entertainment.

Just west of Golden Gate is the delightful village of Clarens. It features picture perfect pastoral scenes, but its close proximity to the park means it also enjoys beautiful mountain views. Stop off for a meal at any one of its quaint restaurants or visit its many art galleries. Other activities available include bird watching, horse riding, river rafting, hiking and trout and bass fishing.

History buffs should definitely visit the nearby Surrender Hill, a national monument and the spot where the Afrikaners or Boers surrendered to British forces during the South African War.

Other historical gems include the sandstone buildings at Bethlehem and the battle sites, blockhouses and military cemetery at Harrismith.

Round off your trip with a visit to scenic Ficksburg, a pretty little rural town that hosts the popular Cherry Festival each November.

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