5 hidden gems to visit in the Free State

From quaint and charming towns to majestic rolling mountains and fields of flora and fauna as far as the eye can see, the Free State has a lot to offer travellers looking for unique experiences in the heart of South Africa.

Here are five hidden gems in the Free State to add to your local travel bucket list.

Image: Deon du Plessis

1. Go fishing in Kroonstad

Along with a variety of water sports and other adventurous activities, Kroonstad is a prime fishing spot. The region boasts a strong seasonal river with the Serfontein Dam being the closest point of entry to Kroonstad, where fishing aficionados have a good chance of catching the local largemouth yellowfish and many others.

 

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2. Become one with nature and culture in Clarens

Located in the foothills of the Maluti Mountain range, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in Clarens offers travellers a wide range of entertainment to enjoy. Bask in the wonder of nature as guides lead you through the Park on horseback; enjoy the thrill of white water rafting and visit the fascinating Basotho Cultural Village to meet the Chief and take in the incredible 18th-century architecture decorated in traditional patterns and vibrant colours.

 

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3. Birdwatching in Bloemfontein

Head to the Free State National Botanical Garden to get away from the bustle of city life and become one with nature. With over 124 bird species, 54 reptile species and 50 mammal species to see, as well as an incredible variety of indigenous fauna and flora, it’s the perfect escape for nature-lovers in need of a long, leisurely stroll with stunning views along the way. For the serious trail-lovers, there is also a series of slightly more challenging hikes across the dolerite koppies.

 

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4. Enjoy a resort stay in Bethlehem

Treat the family to a weekend away at Frontier Inn and Casino, located in the peaceful town of Bethlehem in the Free State. Relax in the comfort of a cosy and stylishly-decorated hotel room, drop the kids off at the Magic Company for loads of games and fun before making your way down to the casino, where the slots and tables can keep parents and friends entertained for the evening. There are also three restaurants to choose from for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including the popular Beef Baron Grillhouse, which serves up sizzling steaks and mouthwatering burgers too. Call 0583076000 or visit frontierinn.co.za.

 

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5. Visit the Vredefort Dome

The Vredefort Dome is the fascinating site of the world’s largest meteorite impact that occurred over 2,023 million years ago, leaving a crater with a radius of about 300 kilometres – the distance between Johannesburg and Welkom! Visitors can go on a guided tour of the Vredefort Dome to learn more about its history, and there are many other activities in the area to enjoy, including river rafting, abseiling and mountain biking.

 

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Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the Free State in all its glory – from getting up close to nature and learning about local culture and enjoying a much-deserved holiday in peaceful surrounds.

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