Welcome to South Africa.
Free State South Africa. South Africa’s inland plateau plains between the Vaal and Orange Rivers form the Free State Province.
This serene country of the ever-present windmill is the geographical and agricultural center of South Africa. Of all the provinces, this offers a classic view of the sunny steppe, grassy grassland stretching high against the deep blue African sky, glorious cloud formations in summer, and a skyline occasionally broken by the flat-topped koppie. (mountain like hill).
The Free State is fast becoming a tourist destination in its own right. Famous for its warm South African hospitality, `boerekos (traditional Afrikaner farm-style cuisine) and decidedly slower-paced lifestyle, this state has become a Mecca for vacationers intent on exploring the small South African town.
Known locally as the ‘breadbasket‘ of South Africa, the Free State is grown by more than 30,000 farms to produce over 70% of South Africa’s grain consumption. It is also home to the world’s most productive gold and diamond mines.
The Free State is located in the heart of South Africa, and the Kingdom of Lesotho nests in the hollow of its bean-like shape. Between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south, this vast rolling meadow stretches as far as the eye can see. Formerly known as the Orange Free State, this state has had its fair share of wars, perhaps most notably the Anglo Boer War. This was the last full-scale war fought on the soil of South Africa and was not only a turning point in the history of modern warfare of our time, but also the last of the gentlemen’s wars.
The Free State is the third largest state in South Africa. However, it has the second smallest population and the second lowest population density, housing approximately 2.8 million people on approximately 129,480 km2 of land. Most towns display a mix of cultures, evident in street names, public buildings, monuments, and museums. Ornate sandstone buildings abound in the Eastern Highlands, while the grasslands feature beautifully decorated Sotho homes. Some of South Africa’s most valuable San (Bushman) rock art is found in the Free State.
The climate of the Free State in the summer-rainfall zone is hot and mild in summer, but can be relatively cold in the winter, especially towards the eastern highlands where temperatures can drop as low as 9 :C. The western and southern regions are semi-desert.
The south is the Free State, sharing the true Karoo semi-desert and its barren landscapes, while the north is blessed with the liquid gold of the Vaal River. The Western Free State traverses savannas and significant mineral wealth, while the Eastern highlands offer rich scenic splendor.
The state capital, Bloemfontein, has a well-established institutional, educational and administrative infrastructure and is home to the Supreme Court. The province has a well-known university and many other educational institutions.
The Free State State has an extensive system of parks and reserves, including a national park (Golden Gate) and more than 80 provincial, municipal, and privately owned nature parks, nature reserves, game reserves, and game farms. Activities include bird and game watching, trophy and biltong hunting, hiking, horseback riding, biking, 4×4 trail riding, camping and climbing.