Free State

The Free State lies in the middle of South Africa between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south. The region is one of flat, rolling grassland and crop fields with lovely sandstone mountains in the northeast.

Bloemfontein, the capital, is home to South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal and is also known as the ‘City of Roses’.

Points of Interest

The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is this province’s prime tourist attraction. The park gets its name from the brilliant shades of gold of the spectacular sandstone cliffs. The sandstone has been used for the lovely dressed stone buildings found in the Eastern Highlands that contrast with the decoratively painted Sotho houses.

Some of South Africa’s most valued San (Bushman) rock art is found in the Free State.

A beautiful range of hills near Parys in the northern Free State is part of the Vredefort Dome: the largest visible meteor impact site in the world and one of South Africa’s 7 Unesco World Heritage sites.

Bloemfontein Botanical Gardens feature an orchid house said to be the most modern of its kind in the southern hemisphere and a fragrance garden designed for the visually impaired. The park is also home to over 100 bird species.

Climate

A summer rainfall region, the Free State can be extremely cold during the winter months, especially towards the eastern mountainous regions.