5 weekend getaways near Bloemfontein

Posted on 18 October 2022

When it comes to planning a weekend getaway, many people automatically think of going to Cape Town or Johannesburg. However, there are plenty of other options for tourists who are looking to explore different parts of South Africa. The Free State is any nature lover’s dream with wide open spaces, lush farmlands and glorious sunsets. Bloemfontein is one such option and there are various attractions within close proximity to the city. Here are 5 ideal weekend getaways near Bloemfontein!

1. Mokala National Park

Mokala National Park: weekend getaways near bloemfontein

Picture: Teagan Cunniffe

First, on our list of weekend getaways near Bloemfontein, Mokala National Park, operated by SANParks, in the Northern Cape is still close enough to Bloemfontein for a weekend trip. You have a choice between bungalows and camping, and bush activities include game drives, rock art tours, birding and flyfishing.

Travel time: 2 hours 45 min via N8

Contact: [email protected] or visit sanparks.org/parks/mokala

Also Read: The 20 Best Restaurants in Bloemfontein

2. Fouriesburg

Uithoek resort

Picture: Uithoek Holiday Resort /Facebook

The eastern Free State is a magical place dripping with old-world charm. Small towns like Bethlehem and Fouriesburg with their scenic mountains and greenery are perfect for getting back in touch with nature.

Also Read: The 20 Best Restaurants in Boksburg

Popular activities in the area include camping, hiking, birding, horse riding, fishing and, well, relaxing.

Travel time: 2 hours 45 min via N8 and R26

Stay: Uithoek Holiday Resort 

Contact: 071 400 5013

3. Parys

Headed in a different direction, you can visit tranquil Parys on the banks of the Vaal River. Get your adrenaline fix with white water rafting, abseiling and rock climbing or take it easy with a round of golf or a spa day.

READ: 6 things to do in Parys, the Free State’s adventure capital

Travel time: 3 hours 15 min via N1

Stay: Parys Golf & Country Estate

Contact: [email protected]

Also Read: The 20 Best Restaurants in Bloemfontein

4. Clarens


Picture: John Karwoski/ Flickr Commons

Clarens needs no introduction and if you’d like to swap the flat fields of Bloemfontein for a mountain hike, the Golden Gate National Park is easy to reach. Or, if you love art galleries, many well-known artists live in Clarens and there are many lovely galleries to visit.

Travel time: 3 hours 10 min via N1 and N5

Stay: Stonehaven Guesthouse 

Contact: 074 799 5900

5. Gariep Dam

Gariep Dam: weekend getaways near bloemfontein

Last, on our list of weekend getaways near Bloemfontein, the Gariep Dam on the banks of the Orange River is a human-made structure and the largest dam in South Africa, with a size of 360 square kilometres. Interestingly, this water source is also the most central point in South Africa. The Gariep Dam Nature Reserve is home to springbok, Cape mountain zebra, klipspringer, black wildebeest, red hartebeest and ostrich.

Travel time: 2 hours via N1

Stay: Fish Eagle Lodge

Contact: 082 819 3037

The best way to get around

Whenever you hit up the Free State or the Northern Cape, remember: bakkie is best. Ford’s Ranger Raptor is a mean machine that can take you anywhere you need to be, and has enough luggage space for even the most hardcore campers.

In fact, it craves off-roading. With a massive bash plate, race-bred suspension and 283mm ground clearance, this bakkie screams adventure.

But it’s not all just rough and tough. The interior is sleek, and the seats are surprisingly comfy. Metallic finishes around the dashboard add a smooth feel and the infotainment system is a dream. The Bluetooth function is silly-easy to operate, the sound system is fit for a music festival and it’s packed with small creature comforts like enough cupholders in the right places.

For more information, visit https://www.ford.co.za/ranger-raptor

ALSO READ: 5 weekend getaways in the Drakensberg

yoast-primary - 1004429
tcat - Travel ideas
tcat_slug - travel-ideas
tcat2 - Travel ideas
tcat2_slug - travel-ideas
tcat_final - travel