Discover the Free State's hidden gems

15 August 2020

It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for, we can now travel outside of our provinces where we live. This spotlight is on the Free State.

The Free State boasts scenic beauty and natural attractions. Top attractions to plan a trip around would be the Vredefort Dome, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, explore through Clarens, go Fossil hunting, see the flowers in the Cosmos season and so much more... 

Click Here to Read our Guide to the Free State courtesy of South African Tourism


Highlights of the main centres in the Free State


The name Bloemfontein means ‘fountain of flowers.’ This city is also known as the City of Roses due to the abundance of these flowers. Bloemfontein, is the capital city of the Free State province.  Did you know that it was officially founded as a fort in 1846 by the British army? It is the birthplace of Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien.

Clarens is known as the jewel of the Eastern Free State. This picturesque little town is an artists’ haven.  Its spectacular scenery is a drawcard for many visitors. It is surrounded by mountains and is situated just a few kilometres from the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Clares has something to offer everyone.

This picturesque little town is only a one-and-a-half hours’ drive from Johannesburg. Parys is the Afrikaans word for Paris.  Did you know that the town got its name from a German surveyor who said the area reminded him of Paris on the River Seine? There is plenty to do in Paryn from river rafting to waterskiing to angling.

Harrismity was founded in 1849. It is a popular and convenient refuelling stop between Johannesburg and Durban, so when our borders are open and if you are travelling between these cities be sure to take a stop.  Nearby there’s wildlife, birding, windsurfing, fly-fishing and views of the Drakensberg Mountains.

This town was founded in the mid-1800s.  The land around this town was perfect for the growing of wheat. This is how the town got its name of Bethlehem, because it means ‘house of bread’ in Hebrew. Today it is the largest commercial centre in the eastern Free State.

This large industrial town was established in 1954. Its purpose is to provide housing facilities for the employees of Sasol – a large petrochemical company. It is situated close to the Vaal Dam, and here one can enjoy excellent water sporting opportunities.

On the 16 April 1946, a rich gold find was made on the farm Welkom. The town officially came into being on 15 April 1947 and received city status in 1955. It is one of very few cities in the world that has been wholly pre-planned. Its economy centres around mining. Welkom is a Dutch and Afrikaans word which means ‘Welcome’.


Thank you to SA Tourism for providing this tourist information. 


If you would like to experience more of this beautiful region, then please get in touch with your Travel Counsellor to take advantage of our excellent holiday offers.

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