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FFicksburg, in Free State province, is an attraction-filled rural destination 400km from Johannesburg that offers a wide range of out-of-the-ordinary activities. 

Gavin Boy, who runs a Ficksburg advertising agency, has put together an appealing visitor’s guide to the area that includes chocolates, cherries and a riverboat ride. 

Our goal is to encourage people to come and explore this beautiful rural destination, and so we put together a list of exciting experiences that people of all ages and interests can enjoy, said Boy, also coordinator of the annual Cherry Festival. 

Ficksburg is the largest cherry-producing area in South Africa and hosted its first Cherry Festival in 1968. It takes place in November each year, and treats visitors to an indulgent feast of fresh, succulent cherries. 

If cherries are not for you, then perhaps a visit to an asparagus farm may be of more interest. 

There is also a chocolate factory in the village, where decadent McKinley Chocolates are made by chocolatier Calen Thomas from Alaska, who visited Ficksburg some years ago, fell in love with it and stayed. 

Another indulgence is  White Mischief, a riverboat owned and managed by Boy. Sip cocktails or enjoy fine single-malt whisky as  White Mischief  cruises along the Meulspruit Dam through Thaba Sediba Private Nature Reserve. 

It’s a wonderful birding experience, with more than 100 species to be spotted, including fish eagles, Goliath herons and malachite kingfishers. 

If you’re the active sort, you have a choice of hikes and horse trails in the area. And if you are interested in farm crafts, you can learn how to make cheese or down duvets. 

For an artistic experience, visit Ficksburg’s Pellissier Gallery, with its world-renowned Pierneef San murals. 

While in town follow the Sandstone Way, and learn about the village’s historic sandstone buildings, built from the surrounding sandstone mountains, which glow golden in the early morning and late afternoon light. 

Did You Know?

TTravel tips & Planning  info 

Who to contact 

Go Ficksburg 
Tel: + 27 (0)82 920 5551 (Gavin Boy) 
Email: gavin@cherryfestival.co.za 

How to get here

Ficksburg is near the province’s border with neighbouring state Lesotho, about 400km from Johannesburg and 165km from Bloemfontein. Both cities have airporst and a choice of vehicle hire companies. 

Best time to visit

To see the cherry trees blossom, visit in the second week of September, and to eat cherries, visit from the last week of October through to November. The Cherry Festival is in late November each year. 

Around the area

The Nkokomohi Heritage Site which houses a sangoma university and hospital – is in the mountains near Ficksburg. Ask for directions once you are in Ficksburg, as there are no contact details for this fascinating cultural experience; a glimpse into the spiritual and physical healing traditions of the Sotho people. 

Get around

Self-drive is the best option. 

Length of stay

Stay at least 3 days, exploring the various attractions in the surrounding country. 

Where to stay

There is a range of accommodation to suit all pockets. Visit the Go Ficksburg website for a list of guesthouses, B&Bs and farm stays. 

Related links 

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