Free State Adventures and Outdoor Activities.
The warm glow of towering sandstone cliffs welcomes the visitor to this high-lying province and is the inspiration for the name of its beautiful National Park; Golden Gate Highlands. With their characteristic basalt caps, these rocky features are part of the Drakensberg and Maluti Mountain foothills. Like other areas of the Drakensberg, dramatic thunderstorms in summer wave a wand of vivid green transforming the land into a sea of lushness. The vast plains of grassland, partly protected by Golden Gate Highlands National Park, are unexpectedly rich in biodiversity. They create a sense of never-ending space.
One of the prettiest villages in South Africa, Clarens, bursting with artists and artisans, provides a wonderful waterhole for weary adventurers and a springboard to exciting activities in the area. White water rafting, mountain and quad biking, abseiling, and ziplining are all popular things to do but it pretty much goes without saying that this part of the Free State is a hiker’s haven and has two strong legs and some curiosity will get you to the wildest places here.
If the heart is willing but the legs, not so much, you can also explore the trails of this iconic area from the back of a horse. In the company of expert riding and adventure guides you’ll move through the spectacular landscape while taking in the fascinating cultural and palaeontological history- dinosaur eggs have been found here!
Nature lovers and activity seekers are not confined to the eastern corner of the Free State. Two mighty South African rivers the Vaal and the Orange form part of its Northern and southern borders. The riverside town of Parys on the Vaal has become a vibrant nucleus of adventure. Impressive dams like the Gariep and the Vanderkloof, have been built along their course. Water sports are fully in play in this landlocked region!