Loading posts...
I Love Bloemfontein Because …
View

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...
Continue reading
5 days Cape Town to Johannesburg, via the Free State
View

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...
Continue reading
Rosendal – the “new” Clarens?
View

Rosendal – the “new” Clarens?

I'd heard that Rosendal is the "next" Clarens and seeing as we were en route from Ficksburg to Clarens and Rosendal is only a teeny bit off track we used this as our opportunity to pop in and see the village for ourselves. One is greeted by a fairly large ‘map’ of Rosendal when arriving but to be honest we drove down a dusty track and thought to ourselves ‘what the heck is all the fuss about’ - in fact we couldn’t even find a shop of any kind!  We spotted a church steeple and being the intrepid, seasoned explorers that we are made our way towards that landmark ... Aha - good move tha...
Continue reading
The Bottling Co in Ficksburg
View

The Bottling Co in Ficksburg

I spent the night in Ficksburg last week and seeing as dinner was not served at our guest house it was suggested that we try The Bottling Co.  We didn’t have much other choice and meeting the locals is what being on a road trip is all about so we followed the directions given and strolled the 300 metres or so from our accommodation in Ficksburg to The Bottling Co on Piet Retief Street. The venue is divided into two sections; the bar and smoking area in the front and the non-smoking area in the back.  The front area had a lot more atmosphere so although not smokers, we chose in the smoki...
Continue reading
Oliewenhuis – The city of roses divulges a gem
View

Oliewenhuis – The city of roses divulges a gem

I love strolling through the ground floor gallery of Oliewenhuis. Every time we return there is something new to grab one's attention, usually contemporary - the museum is renowned for its contemporary collection and holds between 15 and 20 temporary exhibitions every year. The works are, more often than not, for sale, so it's something of a glorified shopping experience. I can imagine acquiring some of these gorgeous works for myself! Oliewenhuis is an art museum of note housed in a Neo-Dutch style mansion that served as residence for the Governor General of the then Union of South Africa ...
Continue reading
Clarens entices, enchants and continues to appeal
View

Clarens entices, enchants and continues to appeal

The town of Clarens has been on the lips of enthusiasts for years. It's used as the yardstick for just about any town in the vicinity of the Free State, so I was curious on entering - not having visited for about six years. Would the town have retained its artists' hideaway status, or would it now look a little jaded, overexposed and over-commercialised, as I feared it might? It is difficult to beat the setting around Clarens. The picture book town lies in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains and the Golden Gate Highlands, on the Caledon River, with views that are pretty magnificent. So...
Continue reading
Bloemfontein – Wouter’s ‘time out’ guide
View

Bloemfontein – Wouter’s ‘time out’ guide

Pretty Bloemfontein bang smack in the middle of the country, give or take a few kilometres, tends to get the cold shoulder when it comes to travel through no fault of its own, except that there is no apparent reason to go out of your way to visit the city, unless, like me, you have relatives living there. But one is sorely mistaken to take the city at face value. You've no doubt heard the origin of the judicial capital of the country's name, but for the sake of posterity - it is Dutch for 'spring of bloem', 'flower spring' or 'fountain of flowers'. The reason for this description might not ...
Continue reading
Rouxville – a nothing-doing town or an ideal breakaway?
View

Rouxville – a nothing-doing town or an ideal breakaway?

The southern-most town in the south-eastern Free State, Rouxville virtually falls off the map it so seldom makes it onto anyone's travel agenda, but as a destination to get away from it all (completely and utterly) the town definitely qualifies as one of the best bets. At first glance the town appears to lack the attraction of nearby towns like Smithfield - where restaurants, art galleries, their very own Boere mark and general joie de vivre (if you discount the local supermarket that charged three times what it should have for an iceberg lettuce!) - and Lady Grey - where a gorgeous setting...
Continue reading
A dam fine weekend – exploring the shores of Gariep Dam (Lake Gariep)
View

A dam fine weekend – exploring the shores of Gariep Dam (Lake Gariep)

If your perception of the Free State is that of a land-locked dry province far from the oceans then you’d be right. But also wrong. Slap bang in the middle of South Africa is an expanse of water so vast that you can easily imagine that you’re spending your days at the coast. Only here you can enjoy the views, the fishing and the watersports without having to contend with sand, salt, wind and crowds of people. Just my kind of a ‘seaside’ holiday. Gariep Dam, recently rebranded as Lake Gariep, the largest dam in South Africa covers an area of 352 square kilometres when full – more than twice ...
Continue reading
Clarens in photographs
View

Clarens in photographs

Between the high sandstone Rooiberge and the Maluti Mountains, the picturesque little town of Clarens is aptly described as "The Jewel of the Free State". Clarens is situated in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains in very close proximity to the Golden Gate National Park and the mountain kingdom of Lesotho ... view our newest photographs of Clarens and why not start planning a weekend away to this delightful town? Photographs of Clarens © SA-Venues.com Click on the thumbnails to view the photographs: Clarens Links Clarens Attractions Clarens Accommodation Clarens Ho...
Continue reading
A rose by any other name – how Rosendal steals the show in the Free State
View

A rose by any other name – how Rosendal steals the show in the Free State

Rosendal has managed to get onto the map. I'm not sure how, because in searching for it you begin to wonder how the average person gets there at all, nevermind how the former farming community managed to find its way into the social whirl of a 'happening' little town. Nonetheless, there it is. In the middle of the Free State (see, I told you it was in the middle of nowhere). Getting there from Clarens takes almost two hours because, instead of being able to get there directly as a crow would fly, roads take you in a rather circuitous route via Ficksburg; you can't get there easily from Beth...
Continue reading
Golden Gate National Park photographs
View

Golden Gate National Park photographs

Photographs taken at the Golden Gate National Park in the Free State. The 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. Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge with the cool mountain shadows towards evening ... Photographs...
Continue reading
I Love Clarens because …
View

I Love Clarens because …

Hi, I’m Gavin Northcote from Highland View in Clarens in the Eastern Free State. CLARENS IS BEST KNOWN FOR great scenery, the outdoors, restaurants and galleries. GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN by a friend in front of NG Church in the main street. It is the most beautiful old sandstone building in Clarens. THE BEST SCENIC PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN AT the Golden Gate just 15 minutes outside Clarens. WHEN THE WEATHER'S GOOD, I LIKE TO hike on the many footpaths, and play tennis. WHEN THE WEATHER'S BAD, I LIKE TO visit the many art galleries and coffee shops. I THINK THE BEST TIME OF YE...
Continue reading
2010 Host City Bloemfontein
View

2010 Host City Bloemfontein

2010 Host City Bloemfontein, the City of Roses, serves as something of an oasis, lying as it does plum in the middle of the Free State and indeed the country. The only major city for miles around, it is also the sixth largest city in the country, the Judicial Capital of South Africa, and it lies on the N1 between Johannesburg and Cape Town, often functioning as a stop off to break the major journey between the two cities. Despite being situated in an area of dry grassland, Bloemfontein more than lives up to its name - spring of flowers. Thousands of rose bushes line the city; more t...
Continue reading