10 things to do in the Free State

  1. The Gariep Dam is South Africa’s largest dam. It is quiet and peaceful, with a large variety of activities and near-by accommodation available. It is surrounded by nature reserves and is a great spot for avid fishermen. Watersport enthusiasts make waves with their boats, skis and canoes, while land lovers can race box cars, ride mountain bikes and take a hike. https://gariepdam.com/
  2. Food lovers will love Parys! The outskirts of town are home to the only black raspberry producer; you can even pick your own berries during harvest season. Near Venterskroon is the largest wild olive forest in South Africa. Three breweries in the area produce honey beer, stout, buchu and Weiss beer, pilsner, and porter beer. There are 18 restaurants and 10 coffee shops to explore as well. https://www.parys.co.za/
  3. The small town of Clarens is not only picturesque, but filled with activities and festivals. There’s white water rafting, golf, 4X4 trails, hiking, hot air ballooning, abseiling, horse riding and fishing, among many other options. In March the town hosts art exhibitions, food stalls, flea markets, concerts and shows, which celebrate the rich culture and heritage of Clarens. http://clarens.co.za/
  4. The Maluti Cave Trail will to introduce a new marked hiking trail experience to an area that almost exclusively consists of wilderness trails. Well-constructed and appointed accommodation has been provided at three locations so hikers can reach the high berg without having to use a tent. http://www.footprint.co.za/maluticaves.htm
  5. When you visit the Golden Gate Highlands Park, you can arrange a visit to a Basotho Cultural Village, which mirrors an 18th century Basotho village. Meet the chief, his wives and the traditional healer. Walk a wilderness trail with the healer who will explain in detail all the medicinal herbs on the trail. A guide will then continue with the tour towards the caves to view San rock art. https://www.sanparks.org/parks/golden_gate/
  6. Lethoteng Weavers in Clocolan sells beautiful wall hangings and jerseys hand made by local women from typical African fibres including wool, mohair and cotton. https://www.sa-venues.com/things-to-do/freestate/lethoteng-weavers/
  7. If you’ve ever thought you’d like to try your hand at polo, or enjoy watching this equestrian sport from the side-lines, make enquiries at Franshoek Farm and Polo School. http://poloschool.co.za/
  8. Immerse yourself in a digital experience that includes the smallest atomic particles to the largest cosmological scales at the Naval Hill Planetarium at the Centre for Earth and Space. https://www.ufs.ac.za/Planetarium
  9. The Hound and Hare in Harrismith serves up great pub favourites to locals, guests at the Riverview Country Inn and visitors. Menu items include cheesy garlic snails, tongue in sweet mustard sauce, Kassler chops, chicken Cordon Bleu and curries. https://riverviewcountryinn.weebly.com/
  10. When you step into Excentrix Vintage Collectibles in Smithfield, be prepared to spend hours browsing through a house full of collectibles, bric-a-brac, antiques and vintage clothing. https://www.kizzler.com/attractions/233-excentrix-vintage-collectibles