Top 10: Wildlife wonders in the Free State

BBT Heritage Route, Free State Buffalo in the Maria Moroka Nature Reserve.

1 Golden Gate Highlands National Park

This 11 600 hectare reserve situated in the Eastern Free State highlands supports thriving populations of wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok, Burchell’s zebra and many birds (notably the rare bearded vulture and bald ibis). more more more

2 Tussen Die Riviere Nature Reserve

In this scenic 22 000-hectare reserve, outside the rural town of Bethulie, you will come across many different types of antelope, zebra, and black and white rhino, among other species. more more

3 The Franklin Game Reserve

The only reserve of its kind in the world which is completely surrounded by a city (Bloemfontein), the Franklin Game Reserve has zebra, blesbok, springbok and giraffe. more more more

4 Sterkfontein Dam

Located some 20km from Harrismith, the area around Sterkfontein Dam is characterised by rugged mountains and an abundance of water. Here you can view black wildebeest, plenty of antelope and a great variety of bird species including bearded and Cape vultures. more

5 Maria Moroka Game Reserve

Situated at the foot of the Thaba Nchu Mountain (close to the Thaba Nchu Sun Hotel and Casino), this reserve is home to a large variety of indigenous game and exquisite birdlife, including South Africa's national bird, the blue crane. more more

6 Seekoevlei Nature Reserve

Seekoevlei Nature Reserve near Memel is known as 1 of the finest birdwatching spots in the country. The wetlands here attract a number of birds, including crowned and blue cranes, yellow-billed storks and wattled cranes. Hippos have also been introduced to the wetland. more more more

7 Willem Pretorius Game Reserve

Covering 12 005 hectares, at the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve you can see the 1 of world’s largest herds of black wildebeest, as well as springbok, blesbok, gemsbok, kudu, red hartebeest, eland, zebra and white rhino. more

8 Sandveld Nature Reserve

The Sandveld Nature Reserve is a top Free State birding spot, with one of the main attractions being the pygmy falcon. Here, you’ll also find sociable weavers, fawn-coloured larks, waxbills and white-backed vultures. more more

9 Soetdoring Dam Nature Reserve

On the 7 500 hectare Soetdoring ('Sweet Thorn') Dam Nature Reserve you can find eland, gemsbok, springbok, blesbok, black wildebeest, zebra, impala, kudu, steenbok, duiker and mountain reedbuck. more

10 Rustfontein Dam Nature Reserve

A well-known area for angling, the Rustfontein Dam Nature Reserve also offers excellent birdwatching and game-viewing (you'll find a wide variety of antelope). more more