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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, water sports 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 the conventional sporting disciplines.
LLocals 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.
Adventures in and around Bloemfontein
BBloemfontein-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.
IIf you plan to take to the trails on foot, hiking 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.
Clarens in Free State province near the mountains of Lesotho is a haven for South African artists, and also a centre for adventure activities like white-water rafting and scenic mountain hikes.
The Maluti Cave Route Trail through the Drakensberg in eastern Free State near Lesotho offers trails of 2 to 4 days, breath-taking views and stops at caves containing original San rock art.
Fouriesburg in the Free State offers outdoor adventure in the form of hiking and horse riding and is a short drive from Clarens and the Golden Gate National Park.
The small town of Fauresmith in the Free State boasts 2 main attractions: an old locomotive that used to run through the town and the International Endurance Race, a 200km horse race over 3 days.