Parks & Wilderness Areas of the Free State
Parks & Wilderness Areas of South Africa
The nature of South Africa's conserved areas varies enormously. Many are rugged wilderness areas that are the preserve of hardy mountaineers. Others, particularly those around the dams and populated areas, are easily accessible to all.
There are wonderful botanical gardens and green corridors in the big cities. Some are playgrounds or places to sit with binoculars and watch the birds and the world go by. Most boast captivating landscapes and geological formations or host unique flora or fauna. Many are devoted to preserving rock art and other examples of the country’s rich cultural heritage.
It’s the big game parks that attract the most visitors. The Kruger National Park and KwaZulu-Natal reserves are perhaps the best known of this type, but there are numerous other reserves in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West and Eastern Cape where you can see the Big 5.
Although game viewing is also popular in the Northern and Western Cape, the reserves in these provinces are as much about the spectacular scenery, open spaces, starry skies and extraordinary spring flower displays.
Many of the reserves are steeped in history. Historic battlefields are a feature of many of the reserves in KwaZulu-Natal. The province’s Drakensberg Mountains are a veritable outdoor gallery, home to the largest collection of bushman rock art in the world. There is also a high concentration of magnificent paintings in caves throughout the Cederberg Wilderness area. Sites like Mapungubwe National Park are as famous for their archaeological treasures as for their natural heritage. So, whaterver your interests, there is bound to be something to suite your taste.
Articles & Blogs
Heavens above6:00am 24 Jun
By Rita van den Heever
Golden Gate Highlands National Park takes your breath away. There is simply no other way of describing it. In winter it can easily become a white wonderland after heavy snow. In spring and summer it offers more shades of green than you can think of, which in turn become the rich hues of autumn. And always, like a primeval presence, there are the towering sandstone cliffs in their gloriously rich golden tones....
Gariep Dam6:00am 12 Mar
Looking for a halfway stop on your journey between the main metropolises? Gariep Dam in the Freestate offers a diverse range of activities to keep the body busy or to rest up. Situated on the Orange River the dam provides water to parts of the Vaal. The largest dam in South Africa is popular with boaters, anglers and watersport enthusiasts and is host to watersport festivals in the summer months. Alternatively there is the Gariep Dam Nature Reserve to explore, home to a range of ‘small’ but interesting animals. There are plenty of accommodation options...