Free State

The Vredefort Dome for Meteorologists, Golden Gate Highlands National Park for Geologists, Bethulie for Archeologists, Clarens for Artists and trekking abseiling, rafting etc. for the Adventurous have all been fascinated with what Free State has to offer them.

Known as the Breadbasket of South Africa producing 70% of country's grain; Free State is a succession of flat grassy plains sprinkled with pasture land.

The Vredefort Dome is the Mecca for Meteorologists who are fascinated by the 300 Km crater formed by one of the largest meteors that hit earth 200 billion years ago. the place is also ideal for the adventurous for rock climbing, abseiling and rafting.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park has been an attraction to Geologists for the Golden Sandstone Cliffs. The most iconic symbol of the park is the Brandwag Buttress which is popular among the hikers. And the Drakensberg Amphitheatre can take your breath away with the spectacular views. it is also the only grassland park in South Africa.

Archeologists prefer to "Dig In" at the Ladybrand due to the exciting find of 210-million-year-old Sauropod. Fossil hunting safaris are the "in" thing at many places like Clarens and the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Gariep Dam is the largest dam in South Africa and is close to Bethulie town and is rumoured to cover thousands of fossils embedded in the rock.

Clarens is an ideal weekend getaway and popular for Artists. Shopping to bird watching, museums to restaurants; Clarens has it all.

Stand in the wildlife and be surrounded by a city!! Confused? Bloemfontein has one the world's most unique reserves in the world. The 250ha Franklin Game Reserve is home to wildlife, including giraffe and wildebeest and also offers amazing views of the city.

In Moolmanshoek Game Reserve of the Moolmanshoek Valley visitors can have the pleasure of spending time in the company of colony of meerkats. It has over 230 species of birds and also the plains game which includes springbok, zebra, the rare black wildebeest, blesbok and ostrich.

The spectacular Golden Gate Highlands National Park houses the black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok, Burchell’s zebra and baboons and over 170 bird species.

Spring to autumn (September to April) is the best time to visit Free State. Summer days get very hot, while winter days are mild, with cold evenings. Snow regularly falls on the eastern highlands.1,300m above sea level, the Free State has hot, arid climate typical of an interior plateau with summer rains, chilly winters and lots of sunshine. The eastern Free State is blanketed by mountain snow in winters and summers are a feast to the eyes with the flourishing valleys. The west is warm and cold alternately. The semi-desert area also brings fluctuations of temperature from day to night.

The capital city Bloemfontein has an average summer temperature of +/- 23ºC and its average winter temperature is +/- 8ºC. Bloemfontein receives an average rainfall of 500-600mm annually.

January is the hottest month, with a temperature ranging from 15 - 32ºC and June being the coldest, ranging from cold 1ºC to a mild 17ºC. 


Being the breadbasket of Africa food is generally basic and sumptuous. Rosendal Handelshuis offers the best home cooked meals. However towns like Clarens, Ficksburg and Parys are the best places to taste the cuisine Free State has to offer. Craft beer, mouth watering Lebanese food and juicy grass-fed steaks are the popular picks in 'Paris by the Vaal River'. For yummy classical French cuisine prepared using the Free State's best produce make your way to Oudekraal Estate restaurant.
A true melting pot of traditions; Free State people are the blend of several traditional Southern African groups and a long line of Dutch forebears. The San (Bushmen) are the first group to lay claim on this area and the ancient drawings spotted all over the province is witness to it.

The European settlers, mostly Dutch-speaking farmers from the Cape, and later the British have all made their mark on the culture and the beautiful sandstone Edwardian and Victorian mansions throughout the province are a testimony to that.

The boerekos (farm-style food) and mampoer (a home-brewed alcoholic drink that can get you high), and traditional folk dancing and music are all the legacy of The Boers and the Afrikaans settlers.

The Basotho are the dominant Free State cultural group. Visit the Basotho Cultural Village at Qwaqwa to immerse yourself in Sotho traditions. And the Catharina Brand Museum at Ladybrand to see the transition of Basotho culture from past to present.

Bloemfontein averages: January maximum: 31 °C (min: 15 °C), July maximum: 17 °C (min: -2 °C), annual precipitation: 559 mm

Bethlehem averages: 27 °C (min: 13 °C), July maximum: 16 °C (min: -2 °C), annual precipitation: 680 mm

January is the hottest month, with a temperature ranging from 15 - 32ºC and June being the coldest, ranging from cold 1ºC to a mild 17ºC.

1,300m above sea level, the Free State has hot, arid climate typical of an interior plateau with summer rains, chilly winters and lots of sunshine. The eastern Free State is blanketed by mountain snow in winters and summers are a feast to the eyes with the flourishing valleys. The west is warm and cold alternately. The semi-desert area also brings fluctuations of temperature from day to night.

You can Fly in directly from any one of the airports in Africa to Bloemfontein.

For tourists driving from Johannesburg and Cape Town take the N1 south and north respectively to Bloemfontein. From Durban, take the N3 out of KwaZulu Natal, and pick up the N5 at Harrismith to Bloemfontein.