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10 Famous Places to See in the Free State

10 Famous Places to See in the Free State

You might know of the Free State as the ‘breadbasket’ of the country with its large grain production. But there’s more to the province than you might think.

It’s home to significant landmarks that are part of the country’s history and should be remembered in the future generations to come as well. With that said, we’re taking you on a quick tour of all these popular spots so read on to know more about them.

What is there to see in the Free State?

1. Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Golden Gate Highlands National Park
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Facebook: Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Address: Clarens, 9707, SA

Contact details: +27 58-255-1000

Operating hours: 7 AM – 5:30 PM daily


  • SADC Citizens with passports presented – R56 for children; R112 for adults
  • Foreigners – R112 for children; R224 for adults
  • South African Citizens/Residents – R28 for children; R56 for adults

Covering an area of 130 square metres, The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is a must-visit when you’re in Free State (family weekend getaways Free State) because of its vast wilderness and stunning landscapes. 

It has unique sandstone cliffs and different rock cropping, looking like postcard photos from a distance.

Although the park’s not mainly popular for its wildlife, you can still find a variety of these during your visit such as blesbok, eland and springbok among others. It also has more than 210 species of birds so it’s perfect for all curious birdwatchers.

Pro tip:
Avoid visiting the park during May and August because of the cold temperatures. Ideally, you should come here around October to March for the best warm weather for sightseeing.

2. Free State National Botanical Gardens

Free State National Botanical Gardens
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Facebook: Free State National Botanical Garden

Address: Rayton Road, off Dan Pienaar, Drive, R702, Bloemfontein, 9301, SA

Contact details: +27 51-436-3530

Operating hours: 8 AM – 5 PM daily


  • Adults – R50
  • Scholars – R20
  • Preschool children (under 6 years old) – Free
  • Pensioners (over 60 years old) – Free entry on Wednesdays
  • Students with ID presented – R35
  • BotSoc members – Free if membership was renewed before March 31, 2023, or a 10% discount

If you’re a plant lover, you’ll have the best time at Free State National Botanical Garden which is the home of over 400 plant species(What plants are only found in South Africa? # indigenous South African plants) originating from different provinces in the country namely Northern Cape, Lesotho and of course, the Free State.

You’ll be in for quite an adventure as you explore this 70-hectare garden with tall grasslands, a 150-million-year-old tree and different animal species.

Pro tip:
• If you want to see most flowers in bloom, you should visit the garden from September to November – but a little head’s up, there’s going to be big crowds during this time.

3. Basotho Cultural Village

Basotho Cultural Village
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Facebook: Basotho Cultural Village

Address: R712, Phuthaditjhaba, SA

Contact details: +27 58-721-0300

Operating hours:

  • Monday to Friday – 9 AM – 8 PM
  • Saturday – 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Sunday – closed


  • South African citizens – R38
  • SADC citizens – R76
  • Foreigners – R15

Visiting the Basotho Cultural Village is like going back in time to the 16th century and witnessing the life of locals of South Sotho during this time. 

The village is found at the foot of large sandstone mountains with different coloured huts.

You’ll even get the chance to watch unique demonstrations of making basket wares, crushing maize and performing traditional dances during your visit.

Pro tip:
For a more immersive experience of local culture, book a stay at their self-catering accommodation with different rooms having wooden interiors. They also offer great views of your surroundings and communal braai areas.

4. Glen Garriff Conservation


Facebook: GG Conservation Glen Garriff

Address: 00778 Farms Area P000, Harrismith, 9880, SA

Contact details: +27 83-627-5691

Operating hours: 9 AM – 5 PM daily

Price: Free entry (*different rates apply for accommodation)

Glen Garriff (GG) is a non-profit organisation with a mission to protect wild lions and give them a safe sanctuary. They currently have 77 of them under their care which is open for viewing for the public.

Most visitors stay here for a night for the full experience of seeing the animals in their natural habitat as they enjoy the tranquil and beautiful scenery.

Pro tip:
If you or anyone you love wants to help save the lions, choose to adopt one through the organisation. The donation will help their overall needs, including their food, veterinary care and housing.

5. National Museum

National Museum
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Facebook: National Museum, Bloemfontein

Address: 36 Aliwal St., Bloemfontein, Free State, 9301, SA

Contact details: +27 51-447-9609

Operating hours:

  • Monday to Friday – 9 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Saturday – 10 AM – 3 PM
  • Sunday and Public Holidays – closed


  • Adults – R10
  • Students – R5
  • Children in preschool – R2
  • Audio tour – Free

The National Museum is a perfect place to visit for those who are interested in looking at different excavated fossils and traditional artefacts. It’s also home to different unique exhibits from various fields like astronomy, geology and herpetology.

Established in 1877, this museum is now a declared Cultural Institution which is under the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture with its governing council.

Pro tip:
To learn more about the museum, try their audio tour where the background of the different exhibitions is explained thoroughly.

6. Oliewenhuis Art Museum

Oliewenhuis Art Museum
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Facebook: Oliewenhuis Art Museum

Address: 16 Harry Smith St., Bloemfontein, SA

Contact details: +27 51-011-0525

Operating hours:

  • Monday to Friday – 8 AM – 5 PM
  • Saturday to Sunday – 9 AM – 4 PM

Price: Free entry

Declared a satellite of the National Museum, the Oliewenhuis Art Museum is a must-visit for all creatives. It’s home to different artworks with traditional and contemporary designs.

Aside from the main building, you can also explore the garden outside with eccentric exhibits of various animals. 

Pro tip:
Check their Facebook Page often to get the latest news of their latest exhibitions, especially those that are open for public viewing for a limited time.
Naval Hill
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Address: Bloemfontein, 9301, SA

Contact details: +27 51-412-7016

Operating hours: 7 AM – 6 PM daily

Price: Free entry

If you’re interested in a quick hike to get a panoramic view of Bloemfontein (what is special about Bloemfontein), go up the Naval Hill found within the Franklin Game Reserve. 

Although its name was based on the two naval guns found on the hill during the South African War, there’s no actual ‘gun’ that you’ll see here.

Instead, you’ll find an 8-metre statue of former President Nelson Mandela and a sculpture of a White Horse, hailed as a national monument in 1982. You can also use the Naval Hill route to go to the nearby planetarium for a fun starry adventure.

Pro tips:
• The entrance to the Naval Hill is on Union Avenue where you can walk, bike or ride a car on the way up.
• The best time to visit the hill is on or before sunrise for a chance to see different kinds of wildlife.

8. Vredefort Dome

Vredefort Dome
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Facebook: Friends of Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site

Address: Vredefort, 9595, SA

Contact details: +27 18-299-5371 or +27 72-657-6056

Operating hours: Always open

Price: Free entry

Hailed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Vredefort Dome is the oldest and largest meteorite impact site across the globe. According to experts, it hit the earth around 2,000 million years ago.

When you look closer, you’ll see small hills where there are granitic gneiss rocks on the site. There are even valuable fossils found here which many archaeologists and palaeontologists love exploring.

Pro tips:
• Since it’s a big challenge to navigate the dome yourself – many even got lost –, especially if it’s your first time, it’s best to go here through a guided tour. It’s more convenient and reliable with an expert by your side.
• You can even do different activities while you’re in the area such as white water rafting and abseiling.

9. Anglo-Boer War Museum

Anglo-Boer War Museum
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Facebook: Official: Anglo-Boer War Museum

Address: 25 Monument Road, General De Wet, Bloemfontein, 9301, SA

Contact details: +27 51-447-3447

Operating hours:

  • Monday to Friday – 8 AM – 4 PM
  • Saturday – 10 AM – 4 PM
  • Sunday – 11 AM – 4 PM


  • Adults – R20
  • Students and Pensioners with ID presented – R15
  • Children (aged 7 – 18 years old) – R5
  • School group – R20 per teacher; R2 per learner
  • Guided tours – R100

To remember one of the most significant events in the country, this museum was created. It’s a place where the current generation could learn about what happened in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 through art pieces, dioramas and exhibitions.

It’s a profound learning experience for all of us because it depicts the suffering endured by our ancestors. This landmark is a must-visit for all of those interested to dig further into South African history (What is South Africa Facts: Interesting # Facts About South Africa).

Pro tip:
Allot at least an hour to tour the entire museum without rushing. This will help you better understand the meaning behind every piece of work on the site.

10. Tiger Canyon Private Game Reserve


Address: District of Philippolis, Free State, SA

Contact details: +27 71-607-9279

Operating hours: Always open

Price: Depends on the chosen accommodation

The Tiger Canyon Private Game Reserve is the home of two endangered big cat species: the Asian tiger and the African cheetah. 

It’s mainly known as an accommodation where you can stay in the area for a chance to see the tigers roaming freely in their natural habitat without disturbing them.

You can also get a glimpse of stunning landscapes and learn more about the country’s wildlife through this experience.

Pro tip:
Maximise your experience in the game reserve by going stargazing. With no night light pollution in the area, you’ll be in awe to see various constellations at night.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

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