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1. Arlington

Arlington is a small farming town in the Free State province of South Africa – a little place of few streets and houses. As with the rest of the north-eastern Free State, the village of Arlington is supported by a very strong agricultural district, especially cattle studs for the Simmintaler, Simbra and Angus breeds. This little town is the perfect example of a typical Free State farming “dorpie” and visitors will find the unique charm that goes with that, they can even participate in farm tours to learn more about the area. Hunting and other outdoor activities are par for the course in Arlington. Hunting is usually restricted to certain times of the year, but birding, hiking trails, horse riding trails, in fact almost any of kind of outdoor trails can be found around this…

2. Clocolan

The name Clocolan is a European corruption of the Sotho, Hlohlowane, meaning ridge of the battle - the name given to one of the heights overlooking the town of Clocolan. Originally occupied by Kwena tribespeople, the area was looted by raiding renegade bands during the period of major tribal upheavals at the beginning of the 19th century. The town was established in the 1906 as a centre for the production of maize, wheat, cherries, potatoes and cattle.

3. Frankfort

Frankfort is situated south east of the Vaal Dam and Vereeniging, only 30 km from the N3 between Johannesburg and Durban. The town lies in the centre of the Free State Maize farming area. This particularly picturesque farming town on the banks of the Wilge River with its Weeping Willows is somewhat of an oasis in the usually hot interior of the Free State and the Frankfort River Resort is worth a mention for those who love water sports – it offers an abundance of welcome shade anything from fishing to little boat trip! Frankfort is only an hour from Warden and is often used as an alternative stop for travellers, between Durban and Johannesburg, who prefer a more “out of the way”…

4. Hobhouse

Hobhouse is small town situated on the southernmost tip of the Free State, close to the Caledon River near the Lesotho border and 56 km south of Ladybrand. This tiny agricultural hamlet of Hobhouse is more of a curiosity, rather than a tourist destination, on the R26 Maloti  Route between Ladybrand and Wepener, a route taken for the rural and mountain scenery of this part of South Africa. There is however, an interesting archaeological site on the Lemoenhoeks farm and San rock art can be found in many caves around the Caledon river. Other points of interest are the miniature Church built in 1938 to commemorate the great trek centenary and a collection of more than 600 dolls dating back to…

5. Ladybrand

Land of a Thousand Pictures Ladybrand is a small agricultural town approximately 18 km from Maseru in Lesotho, popular among tourists for its scenery, particularly in the winter months when the Maluti mountains are covered in snow. Not to be outdone by the lure of snow-capped mountains across the border in Lesotho, Ladybrand is referred to as the land of a thousand pictures with each season offering its own unique beauty and attractions. Cherry blossoms in Spring, hot days and succulent fruit in Summer, golden Autumn sunsets and then stunning mountain backdrops with roaring, open fires in Winter. Ladybrand is known for its charm and tranquillity and is an ideal base for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers. It is also the perfect stopover for tourists interested in human history. The Caledon…

6. Lindley

Lindley is a tiny town situated on the banks of the Vaal River in the north eastern Free State. The town is most well-known for its still working Mill, yes Lindley is that tiny, but don’t dismiss this town just yet! Lindley is quite a special little town and has become fairly popular as an inland holiday resort for those who love history and the outdoors. Lindley is a typical Free State farming town, visit the unique working mill, buy some homemade Afrikaans goodies at the local “Winkel, visit the pretty churches and soak up the warmth and character from this precious dorp. Lindley bubbles over with history and hospitality! For visitors who enjoy the outdoors, a weir has been built across the river and this holds back a 5 km stretch of deep water ideal for fishing, boating and…

7. Marquard

After several abortive attempts to establish a town in a prosperous region producing grain, sheep, cattle and fruit, the farmers living east of Winburg secured the support of the Rev. J. J. Marquard, the Dutch Reformed Church minister of Winburg. His influence led to the establishment in 1905 of the town which bears his name.

8. Petrus Steyn

Petrus Steyn is a small farming town situated about 35 km north-east of Lindley, between Tweeling and Kroonstad, and approximately two hours from Johannesburg. It is said to be the highest town above sea level in the Free State. The town is as small and quaint as a Free State “dorpie” can get however what distinguishes it from others by the massive bank of grain silos just out the town. Petrus Steyn is at the centre of an agricultural area known for wheat, maize, sunflower, potato, cattle and sheep. An interesting and unique activity is Potato Tasting – visit the potato farm where you can purchase potatoes and taste different potato dishes! Petrus Steyn has everything you have come…

9. Rouxville

Rouxville is a tiny hamlet located between Smithfield and Aliwal North on the main N6 route between Johannesburg and East London. In many ways Rouxville is a typical Free State “dorpie” with dusty streets, a petrol station, a bottle store and one or two other shops. However, unlike other small old towns, Rouxville has location on its side as it is a convenient stop-over for travellers and bikers travelling from the Eastern Cape Karoo into the Free State.  Residents invite weary travellers to turn off the N6 and drive down their little streets to see its history in their sandstone Church, historic buildings and quaint homes, some residents are making an effort to revive the town by renovating some of the lovely old historic buildings and homes! There is little organised tourism here,…

10. Senekal

Senekal is situated between Winburg and Bethlehem on the main N5 road in the Free State province. The town is still one of the more underdeveloped towns in the province with a population of approximately four thousand residents, mainly Afrikaans and Sotho speaking. The town lies on a major truck and traffic route and when first entering town visitors will notice the wide streets, at least five petrol stations and a few lovely period cottages. Senekal is a town full of rich history with the Church Square Monuments, a poets’ home and a beautiful town Church with a tranquil garden, which tourists are encouraged to visit and have lunch in this collection of olive, herbal and palm flora. The Senekal tourist office is very helpful with a map of the towns’ monuments and other historical…

11. Villiers

At the point where the main tarmac road from Gauteng to Harrismith crosses the Vaal River into the Free State, the town of Villiers was established in 1891 on portions of the farms Grootdraai and Pearson Valley and named after Lourens de Villiers, who owned the land. It became a municipality in 1917. The district produces maize and cattle. A boating, swimming and fishing recreational area has been created on the southern bank of the Vaal River, with bungalows and a caravan park.

12. Wepener

Lying close to the border of Lesotho, the district of Wepener has been the scene of many fights, raids and stock thefts. Numerous graves, mainly without identification, are reminders of stormy events from the past. During the Anglo-Boer War, a British garrison of 2 000 men under Colonel E. H. Dalgety was attacked by General Christiaan De Wet at Jammerdrif on the Caledon River. British reinforecements which were rushed to the scene brought an end to the struggle. The town was founded in 1867 and named in honour of Louw Wepener, who was killed in 1865 while trying to storm Thaba-Bosiu, in Lesotho. Wepener lies in the valley of the Jammersbergspruit, and it is an atmospheric little frontier place. Building sand, wool, grain, corn and livestock are produced in the district. On the farm…

13. Zastron

Since 1882 Zastron is a small agricultural village some 30 km from the border of Lesotho on the R726.  The town lies 36km north-east of Rouxville. Cattle, maize and wheat make the district prosperous.  Throughout the south-eastern Free State rocky hillocks and isolated mountains in a variety of shapes loom from the grassy plains. To the east, beyond the Caledon river, lie the mountains of Lesotho. The scenery around Zastron is dominated by beautiful mountains with the town itself lying at the foot of Aasvoëlberg (vulture hill), named as such because it is home to the only Cape Vulture colony in the Free State. Zastron is also where you can see the famed Eye of Zastron, a nine metre wide hole that gapes in a sandstone cliff overlooking town. On the Western side of the town lies…