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BBloemfontein is fairly flat and boasts excellent weather, so it’s no wonder thrill-seekers make the most of its adventure activities. Whether you’re into hiking, skydiving, watersports or 4X4 trails, there’s an itinerary for you.
Bloemfontein residents love their sport. Rugby is as popular as football, and hockey enjoys good support, while cricket lures the crowds during the summer months. However, there are many more adventurous activities to be enjoyed outside of conventional sporting disciplines.
Locals say that the Free State province is so flat you can see right into next week. Flat terrain in the south of the province and around Bloemfontein gives way to highlands on the Lesotho border to the east. Such ideal terrain, combined with South Africa's beautiful weather, opens up myriad opportunities for those adventurous at heart.
Bloemfontein-based aerial adventures include plane flips, skydiving, hot air ballooning, paragliding and gliding.
Kayaking on the Gariep Dam is popular, while the Vaal River is suitable for more demanding activities such as river rafting, and the Vaal Dam for jetskiing and waterskiing. To enjoy such activities adventurers will have to drive a couple of hours out of the city, but good roads provide quick access to most facilities. River rafting down the Ash River near Clarens or near the town of Parys, is another popular activity.
On terra firma, horse trails, mountain biking, motocross and 4X4 trails are to be enjoyed in Koranna, Marquard and at the Meulspruit Dam, among other places. If you plan to take to the trails on foot, trails such as the Rhebok Hiking Trail in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, the Vredefort trails in the northern Free State, the Seven Dams Conservancy Trail and the Motshetshe Trail are recommended.
A more sedate option would be the Tree Route in the Free State National Botanical Garden, which features 43 indigenous tree and shrub species.
While sunny skies are almost guaranteed year-round, snow usually falls on the nearby Maluti mountains in winter. The border areas between the Free State and Lesotho (a neighbouring country known as the ‘Roof of Africa') are mountainous and popular among 4X4 enthusiasts.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Free State Tourism Authority
Tel: +27 (0)51 409 9900
How to get here
Bloemfontein is located along the N1 in South Africa’s central interior region.
Best time to visit
It’s always a good time to visit the area, and adventure activities take place all year round.
Tours to do
Maloti cave tour; cheetah experience; white water rafting in Clarens.
Self-drive is the best option. Use a 4X4 vehicle if you're planning to head off on a dirt trail.
Length of stay
Stay in Bloemfontein for a day or two and then head out to the Ash River (near Clarens), the Vaal, the Gariep Dam or the border with Lesotho for a taste of real adventure.
Where to stay
Rustic accommodation is available in nature reserves, while numerous guest houses offer lodging in and around the city.
What to pack
Clothes for getting dirty!
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