The Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Here are some suggestions for activities and attractions in the Free State that your guests might be interested in. It is important to be knowledgeable about attractions in your area – if you recommend something that your guests really enjoy, it will make their day.

Cultural experiences

A blockhouse from the South African (Anglo-Boer) War

Most visitors love cultural experiences, and it pays to know about those in your area.

Here are some examples of what guests could do:

  • Visit the Gourmet Shed near Clarens. This converted sandstone barn offers some of the best local fare in the Free State
  • Explore Clarens Oxwagon Camp, where you can relive the trail-blazing days of the Voortrekker pioneers who ventured across South Africa in the 1800s
  • Venture along the Battlefields Route, a journey that will take you to the historical places where the British and Boers fought at the turn of the 20th century
  • Take the Riemland Route, a scenic 200km drive through the historical Free State towns of Sasolburg, Heilbron, Petrus Steyn, Lindley, Arlington and Rosendal
  • Visit the artistic towns of the Free State, inspired by the sweeping wide open spaces and rich history of the province

Scenic beauty spots

The Vredefort dome

Many tourists look forward to enjoying the natural beauty of our country. Make sure you can point them to the most picturesque spots.

Here are just a few examples of what guests could see:

  • The Vredefort Dome, the stunning impact site of a meteor that struck Earth roughly two billion years ago
  • The Golden Gate Highlands National Park, where the sandstone monoliths have become a popular geological attraction
  • Gariep Dam, the largest dam in South Africa. The vast expanse of water covers thousands of fossils embedded in rock
  • The route from Rouxville to Fouriesburg, where you’ll experience some of the best visual and historical elements of the Free State
  • The cosmos fields around Clarens, which bloom during the autumn months of April and May
  • The Hay Bale Route between Bloemfontein and Clarens, a trip through the rural Free State  

Game viewing

South Africa is famed for its wildlife. Our land is home to many, diverse creatures, many of which tourists will have never seen before, and which they probably haven’t seen in the wild.

The majority of visitors to South Africa can’t wait to go on a safari or game drive, so make sure you know where they can do this.

Here are a couple of examples of where guests could go:

  • Franklin Game Reserve, a 250ha park set within the city of Bloemfontein, which offers some of the most unique game-viewing experiences in SA
  • Moolmanshoek Game Reserve, home to over 230 bird species and a wide variety of plains game such as springbok, zebra, rare black wildebeest and more
  • Golden Gate Highlands National Park, which offers spectacular game viewing against the backdrop of towering sandstone cliffs
  • The Cheetah Experience in Bloemfontein, a small sanctuary set up to protect these rare cats from extinction. Several leopard and lion also call the reserve home

Culture and lifestyle

Traditional African culture and the influence of early European settlers have melded to create a uniquely South African culture in the Free State, which reflects the province’s historical past and the diversity of its people. Make sure to:

  • Explore the ancient drawings of the San (Bushmen), Basotho huts in Qwaqwa and the evolution of Bashotho culture at the Catharina Brand Musuem in Ladybrand
  • Discover the colonial and ethnic history of the Mangaung region of the Free State along the Mangaung Cultural Route. The route was developed to promote entrepreneurship among disadvantaged communities
  • Discover Basotho hospitality, art and tradition at the Bashotho Cultural Village set in the mountain splendour of the Golden Gate Highlands National Park
  • Learn about the world of the San thousands of years ago
  • Soak up some local music at the Mystic Boer in Bloemfontein, a South African pub where alternative bands enjoy performing. Sample a few South African beers, meet the locals and shoot a few rounds of pool.

​Action adventure

Try your hand at white water rafting

Whether you’re in the mood for hiking, skydiving, water sports or 4x4 trails, the Free State has something for everyone:

  • Bloemfontein’s excellent weather attracts thrill-seekers keen to make the most of its many adventure activities
  • Citizen drivers may put their driving skills to the test at the world-class Phakisa Raceway circuit where top names in international motor sport have set the pace. Now’s your opportunity to hit the gas without the risk of being fined for speeding
  • Novice horse riders can take a two-day training course before joining more experienced riders on Mont Plaisir’s amazing trail rides
  • White-water rafting near the Vaal River, just an hour’s drive from Johannesburg, is an exhilarating family activity. The route caters for everyone, from adults to young children
  • The Katse Dam project offers year-round rafting with 17 Grade lll and Grade lV rapids, gorgeous mountain scenery and hundreds of bird species

Lap of luxury

Heave a sigh of luxurious relief at any of these spectacular Free State spots:

  • Plan a weekend getaway in Clarens and make sure you leave at least half a day aside for pampering treatments at Body Bliss Day Spa
  • De Oude Kraal Country Estate and Spa is situated on a sheep farm dating back to 1885. Make the most of pastoral surroundings as you indulge in a day of decadent spa treatments
  • De Stijl Gariep Hotel is one of the Karoo’s most unusual accommodation establishments. Designed in keeping with De Stijl artistic movement of 1917 and 1931, the hotel is a colourful drawcard in a vast and ancient land
  • Clarens Golf Estate rewards golfers with a memorable experience. Not only are the holes challenging, but the scenery is stunning.

If you are interested in reading about more attractions in the Free State, visit the South African Tourism website.

Guests also appreciate having an idea of what there is to do in other areas, so find out where they are going next and offer some ideas for what they might like to do when they get there.