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The Free State, also known as Orange Free State, offers the chance to experience life in a laid-back South African province of great natural beauty. Discover a fusion of European and indigenous history, hike through dramatic mountain passes, spot colorful wildlife and enjoy boundless watersports.
Free State sits in South Africa’s central region and borders six other provinces as well as the Kingdom of Lesotho. Listen to the province’s multicultural residents conversing in around half a dozen languages, including English.
Start in the easygoing provincial capital, Bloemfontein. Admire grand 19th-century buildings. Visit art galleries and museums, such as the Anglo-Boer War Museum. Stroll along picturesque trails to spot local flora at the Free State National Botanic Gardens. Enjoy sweeping views from Naval Hill, a viewpoint in the inner-city Franklin Game Reserve.
Travel north to Winburg, a town founded by Voortrekker pioneers and a gateway to the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve. See a slice of South Africa’s Boer history at towns such as Kroonstad, Frankfort and Heilbron. Join vacationers at resorts spread along the banks of Vaal Dam. One popular destination is Deneysville, where you can enjoy fishing, sailing and other watersports. Hike mountain trails and spot indigenous cave paintings around Vredefort Dome, one of the world’s largest meteorite sites.
The province’s eastern region of Thabo Mofutsanyana epitomizes diversity. Visit Clarens, in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, for its lively arts scene. Participate in the annual Cherry Festival at Ficksburg or learn about Basotho tribal traditions at the Basotho Cultural Village. Travel along the scenic Highlands Route, which passes spectacular sandstone cliffs in Golden Gate National Park en route from Harrismith to Zastron.
Free State experiences hot, humid summers and cold winters, especially toward the eastern mountains, where snowfall is common. Fly into Bram Fischer International Airport in Bloemfontein and get around via rental car or on overland tours. Take a side trip to Lesotho to hike or ride on horseback in the remote mountain ranges of a country fully contained within South Africa.
This family-friendly Bloemfontein hotel is located in the entertainment district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Bloemfontein City Hall, National Museum and Freshford House Museum. Free State Stadium and National Women’s Memorial are also within 1 mile (2 km).
Situated in a provincial park, this hotel is within 9 miles (15 km) of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Kroonstad Dutch Reformed Church and Kroonstad Country Club.
Situated in the suburbs, this boutique hotel is within 2 miles (3 km) of Oliewne Art Gallery, Freshford House Museum and Goodyear Park. Free State Stadium and University of the Free State are also within 2 miles (3 km).
Situated near the airport, this guesthouse is within 3 miles (5 km) of University of the Free State, Goodyear Park and Free State Stadium. National Women’s Memorial and Central University of Technology are also within 3 miles (5 km).
Situated in a national park, this hotel is 0.5 mi (0.9 km) from Golden Gate Highlands National Park and within 16 miles (25 km) of Clarens Golf Club and Clarens Brewery. Richard Rennie Art Gallery and Art and Wine Gallery are also within 16 miles (25 km).
Situated in a regional park, this lodge is 5.1 mi (8.2 km) from Drakensburg Amphitheatre and 5.1 mi (8.2 km) from Tugela Falls. Basotho Cultural Village is 24.9 mi (40.1 km) away.
Situated near the airport, this bed & breakfast is within 3 miles (5 km) of University of the Free State, Goodyear Park and Free State Stadium. National Women’s Memorial and Central University of Technology are also within 3 miles (5 km).
Situated in the suburbs, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Dihlabeng Mall and Bethlehem Medical Centre. Goble Park is 2 mi (3.2 km) away.