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Free State is a province wedged between two rivers, the Orange and the Vaal, it is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a country retreat offering peace and tranquility. It is situated in the heart of South Africa: its landlocked landscape is marked by wide open spaces, gold fields, sandstone mountains and striking Sotho rural houses. Described as "the golden country", the province’s must-see attractions include the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, the Xhariep Dam, the Basotho Cultural Village and the Sentinel Rock. Whether you’re on a tight budget or looking for luxury accommodation to spoil yourself with, Free State accommodation has something for everyone. Choose between character-filled guesthouses, lodges, self-catering farm cottages and holiday homes.

The Free State offers its visitors a wealth of cultural and historical attractions. The first thing you’ll notice about the region is the impressive sandstone buildings and rural homes that mark the landscape.  Using natural resources available to them, namely the rocks and sands from abundant sandstone mountains, locals have built and decorated their houses with this material – dating as far back as the 16th century. At the Basotho Cultural Village, you can learn more about how the Basotho managed to preserve the traditions and architecture of an age-old South Sotho civilisation. Particularly interesting is the range of various Basotho artwork forms scattered throughout the village. The huts are colourful and dramatic masterpieces, each depicting a different period of Basotho civilisation. Inside, look out for unique looking utensils, clothing, clay pots and basketware.

The Basotho Cultural Village can be located within the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, home to black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, Burchell's zebra and the rare bearded vulture and bald ibis. One of the Free State’s most popular attractions, the park is nestled on the Maluti Mountains and has a wide range of wildlife, bird species and hiking trails. Don’t miss seeing the spectacular Sentinel Rock formation, the Cathedral Cave and the Zuluhoek lookout point. Other parks and reserves worth a visit include the Tankwa-Karoo National Park, the Erfenis Dam Nature Reserve, and the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve.

For a landlocked province, the Free State offers a host of water sport activities! Head off to the Xhariep Dam on the Orange River for a taste of sailing, power boating, canoeing, skiing and angling. Fly fishing is also on offer in the Eastern highlands and white water rafting on the Vaal River. The Vaal Dam also plays host to the largest inland regatta in the Southern Hemisphere, namely the LDYC Round the Island Race.

For those more interesting in learning more about the political heritage of the province, there are two fantastic tourism routes you can explore. The BBT Heritage Route takes visitors to Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu, three towns in close location to one another with extremely diverse cultural and political heritages. The Battlefield Route looks at the province’s many historic sites related to the Anglo-Boer War, which broke out in 1899. It includes 23 sites of interest, ranging from war museums to battlefield sites.

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From boutique hotels and country lodges to backpacker hostels and self-catering units, the Free State has it all.
Learn more about the exciting things to do in the Free State, from climbing the National Afrikaans Literary Museum to a pub-crawl on Second Avenue.
Fresh farm food is readily available at Free State restaurants.
Find a tranquil home in the heart of South Africa by investing in Free State real estate.
EVENTS Free State
Explore our Free State events calendar, offering a multitude of occasions, from food and wine festivals to major sporting events.
Can’t be bothered with all the hassle? From adventurous river rafting to stargazing in the observatory, Accommodation Hunter's easy-to-use vacation planner is here to help.

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