The Eastern Free State is a rural province of wide horizons and blue skies, with farmland, mountains, goldfields, widely dispersed towns and “must see” attractions. This tranquil land of the windmill is famous for its warm South African hospitality and a mix of culture which is clearly evident in street names, public buildings, monuments and museums. Dressed sandstone buildings abound the highlands, while beautifully decorated Sotho houses dot the grasslands. Some of South Africa's most valued San (Bushman) rock art is found in the Free State.
On the outskirts of Bethlehem lay various retreats offering many forms of tourist activities such as 4x4 trails, quad biking, mountaineering, fishing, game drives and hiking.
Art Galleries with modern, stylish and trendy ambience showcases artwork by leading and emerging artists from across South Africa. These galleries houses fine collections of paintings, ceramics, functional art, sculptures and photography. Come and immerse yourself in the world of South African contemporary art.
Basotho Cultural Village
A visit to the Basotho Cultural Village which nestles at the foot of huge sandstone mountains, will give you a deeper insight into the lifestyle of the South Sotho from the 16th century to the picturesque present.
Golden Gate Highlands National Park
Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north-eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park's sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock, keeping vigil over the main rest camp.
This 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals including black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra - and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs.
Enjoy the adventure of riding on horseback in the Free State. Trips range from a relaxed scenic ride for approximately one hour with stunning views to a full on cattle herding ride in the early morning and late afternoon. Or go for cross country outings and out-rides where over-night camping can be arranged.
Exciting grade 3 and 4 white water rafting all year round, 365 days a year! Not rain dependant. The Ash river just outside Clarens in the Eastern Free State is fed by the Trans Caledon Transfer Tunnel, which pumps water from the Katze dam high up in the Maluti Mountains in Lesotho.
Game Drives and Hiking
On the outskirts of the town where an abundance of wildlife grazes on the filling hills you can enjoy game viewing by car or follow the hiking trails (with a stay in an overnight hut) or you can enjoy a guided game drive with a sun downer and visit the homes of several pride of lions, leopards, a Bengal tiger, other wild cats and wild dogs.
Annual Events in the Eastern Free State
- Clarens Surrender Hill Marathon, Clarens
- Bieliemieliefees, Reitz
- Harrismith Sterkfontein 25km and 10km, Harrismith
- Maluti Cars in the Park, Bethlehem
- Riemland Bundu Expo, Lindley
- Bethlehem Air Show, Bethlehem
- Fouriesburg Spring Fair, Fouriesburg
- Cherry Festival, Ficksburg
- Berg Bohaai, Harrismith
- Clarens Mountain Bike Challenge, Clarens