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The 7 Best Small Towns in the Free State
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The 7 Best Small Towns in the Free State

The landlocked Free State lies virtually in the middle of South Africa. It’s considered the traditional heartland of the Afrikaner; countryside through which one drives en route from Johannesburg or the Western Cape. Few choose to tour the province. Yet for those who do travel the Free State, it is the little artistic towns that seduce. Scattered in amongst huge swathes of farmland, snuggled up against the commanding Maluti Mountains, and clustered along the Lesotho border, they draw on the free State’s wide skies, expansive spaces and inspiring scenery to charm those who visit them. Ou...
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Visiting Bloemfontein? Read This
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Visiting Bloemfontein? Read This

Stay in Bloemfontein for a couple of days and you begin to realise that the city’s reputation as the redneck capital of the country is more than a little unfair. For any of the residents of the country’s judicial capital will wax lyrical, at the drop of a hat, about its laidback vibe, surprisingly pretty gardens and reserves, gorgeous sandstone public buildings and not half-bad nightlife. We were in the capital recently and uncovered the best spots around Bloem. Visiting Bloemfontein? Read on... Photograph: In the grounds of the Armour Museum ARMOUR MUSEUM I have to confess to being...
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Top Ten Natural Attractions in the Free State
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Top Ten Natural Attractions in the Free State

The term 'free state' dates back to South Africa's early history when, for almost 150 years, the white settlers, who lived between the Vaal and Orange rivers in an area they called the Orange Free State, were independent of British rule. Today the fundamentally Afrikaans province is also the home of the country's judicial capital and birthplace of the ANC. However, the Free State's major appeal is its natural beauty, open farmlands, and uninterrupted sky, quirky, idiosyncratic towns and villages, interesting road routes, and the vast rocky mountain area of the East Highlands. For more...
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I Love Parys Because …
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I Love Parys Because …

Hi, I’m Andreas Leondios from Le Grand Chateau in Parys in the Free State. PARYS IS BEST KNOWN FOR being on the outskirts of the largest meteorite impact in the world which resulted in the scenic mountains surrounding Parys. Parys is also renowned for the Vaal River which runs through Parys and the fauna, flora and activities which surround it. Parys also has two beautiful golf courses which have the Majestic Vaal River running through them and a variety of curio, antique and coffee shops. GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN AT Kiki’s vintage era photo studio situated on the main road. The photog...
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Take the N6 from Bloemontein to Aliwal North – The Free State’s Flipside
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Take the N6 from Bloemontein to Aliwal North – The Free State’s Flipside

The Free State gets a raw deal. Placed as it is in the middle of the country, most people simply travel through it without giving it more than a once over. It doesn't have mountains (unless you count the Malutis way over east) nor does it have a coastline to speak of (there is the odd dam) and for those passing through via the N1, its unvarying flatness gives the impression that there is little else to break the monotony bar the odd hay bale. But actually the Free State has a lot to offer, particularly scenically. Travel through here during early winter or spring and the combination of g...
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Discover Parys
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Discover Parys

Just an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and the OR Tambo International Airport is the small, but infinitely abundant, town of Parys. Parys is situated along the Vaal River in the Free State and combines natural diversity and beauty with historical value and a distinct sense of heritage. Being so close to Johannesburg means that Parys can be a day-trip for those staying in the City of Gold, but is also a destination in its own rights. Discover Parys - some of Parys’ favourite attractions and activities: Breë Street the best way to get the most out of the main street in the town is to w...
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I Love Gariep Dam Because …
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I Love Gariep Dam Because …

Hi, I’m Robin van den Berg from Rose Cottage in Gariep Dam. Gariep Dam IS BEST KNOWN FOR superior accommodation at affordable rates and stunning view of the dam and wildlife. GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN AT the Gariep Dam wall. THE BEST Gariep Dam PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN AT the entrance road leading up to the upper town. OTHER HAPPY SNAPS AT Rose Cottage restaurant. WHEN THE WEATHER'S GOOD, I LIKE TO get on my Jetski and head into open waters on South Africa's largest inland dam. WHEN THE WEATHER'S BAD, I LIKE TO go to our local pub and grub "Chilatyd" and sip on a glass of sherr...
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Lions in Action – Bagamoya Wildlife Estate
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Lions in Action – Bagamoya Wildlife Estate

Bagamoya Wildlife Estate lies roughly 35 kilometres outside of Bloemfontein in the direction of Maselspoort. Out here the grass is long, the trees reminiscent of the bushveld and the skies a vivid enough blue to evoke many a novel depicting the beauty of the wild plains of South Africa. Today's open spaces are limited. Many of them, like Bagamoya, are closer and closer to cities and more like animal enclosures than they are game parks or farms. Being rather averse to zoos at the best of times I find I have mixed feelings on entering the estate. Two large, modern and fenced enclosures house ...
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Bloemfonteins Botanical Garden – Perfect for Photo Moments and Lazy Afternoons
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Bloemfonteins Botanical Garden – Perfect for Photo Moments and Lazy Afternoons

Bloemfontein gets a rather raw deal. Mention that you're spending Christmas there and you're immediately the recipient of sympathetic looks. Some people will even groan out loud, assuming this will automatically make you feel better. Fortunately I have no attachment to the city one way or the other. I won't go as far as to say that I'm fond of it, but every city has its positive side. It is, however, where my in laws live, and last year we had to make a couple of concessions; sisters out all the way from London did not have Cape Town on their itineraries – more's the pity. With the w...
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I Love Harrismith Because …
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I Love Harrismith Because …

Hi, I’m Alet from Greensleeves Guesthouse in Harrismith. Harrismith IS BEST KNOWN FOR being a friendly town. It's also well known as the halfway stop between Durban and Johannesburg. GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN AT the Platberg Mountain which is in the Platberg Game Reserve adjoining the Botanical Garden. THE BEST mountain PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN AT the Botanic Garden. OTHER HAPPY SNAPS AT the town hall and the other beautiful, old buildings in town. The town hall is a National Monument; an impressive sandstone and brick building that was built in 1907. WHEN THE WEATHER'S GOOD, I LI...
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I Love Ficksburg Because …
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I Love Ficksburg Because …

Hi, We're Dennis and Tereza from Malutizicht Lodge in Ficksburg in the Free State. FICKSBURG IS BEST KNOWN FOR cherries! GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN AT General Fick's Monument which is in front of the town hall. The hall itself is a national monument. THE BEST scenic PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN on top of Emperani Mountains. OTHER HAPPY SNAPS can be taken anywhere along the R26 to Fouriesburg and Bethlehem. WHEN THE WEATHER'S GOOD Dennis LIKES TO play bowls. WHEN THE WEATHER'S BAD, I LIKE TO play scrabble or paint and Dennis likes to play bridge. I THINK THE BEST TIME OF YEAR ...
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I Love Bethlehem Because …
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I Love Bethlehem Because …

Hi, I’m Evette from Bethlehem in the Thabo Mofutsanyana region of the Eastern Free State. BETHLEHEM IS BEST KNOWN FOR its beautiful scenery it also has a number of historical sandstone buildings, many of which are now provincial heritage sites. GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN AT the old ship at Loch Athlone. THE BEST nature PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN AT Bethlehem Bird Park. OTHER HAPPY SNAPS AT the Bethlehem Museum and Sol Plaaitjie Dam. WHEN THE WEATHER'S GOOD, I LIKE TO play paintball, Clarens Xtreme offers paintball daily from 09h00 to 17h00. WHEN THE WEATHER'S BAD, I LIKE TO go to ...
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I Love Fouriesburg Because …
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I Love Fouriesburg Because …

Hi, I’m Guilletta from Pumula Guest Farm in Fouriesburg. Fouriesburg IS BEST KNOWN FOR asparagus, unbelievable sandstone rock formations; the 'Queen Victoria' is listed as one of the 20 highest loose-standing rock formations in the Free State and the largest rock overhang in the Southern Hemisphere while 'Salpeterkrans' is on the way to Clarens. GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN INSIDE the old car at Jen-lee's. THE BEST autumn colour scene PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN anywhere in the Fouriesburg district. OTHER HAPPY SNAPS can be taken on the tractor outside the Plaas Stoep Pub. WHEN THE WE...
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I Love Bloemfontein Because …
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I Love Bloemfontein Because …

Hi, I’m Jan Fourie from Camelia Guest House in Bloemfontein in the Motheo Region of the Free State. Bloemfontein IS BEST KNOWN FOR its friendly inhabitants and its historical sandstone buildings which comprise good material for art photos. If interested in capturing people relaxing at open restaurants, visit the three major shopping centres namely Mimosa Mall, the Waterfront or Preller Square. GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN AT Oliewenhuis. The gardens are neat, spacious and well kept. You will find lovely corners in the gardens where you can relax and compile your own setting for photos. Art...
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5 days Cape Town to Johannesburg, via the Free State
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5 days Cape Town to Johannesburg, via the Free State

Ah, the heart of the country where the sun almost always shines, or at least for 340 days of the year. Swathes of wheat fields, cosmos and sunflowers with a backdrop of rolling hills, incredible sandstone mountains, and roads that lack congestion, give or take the odd pothole. This is the Free State. Right through the middle of this province runs the main route between Cape Town and Johannesburg. Called the N1, this road runs straight, very straight, through terrain utterly land-locked that is also the country's third-largest province - known as the bread basket of the country because it pr...
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