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1. Ficksburg

Cherry Town Ficksburg is a beautiful small town situated on the west bank of the Caledon River, the border with Lesotho, at the foot of the Imperani Mountain. It is the only town in South Africa in which a border post is part of the town and it serves as an important gateway to Lesotho. Visitors come year-round, the town offers spectacular views of the majestic Maluti Mountains, views which change with the seasons, from the purple haze of summer to the snow-clad slopes of winter. A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, Ficksburg offers hiking, horse riding, 4X4 trails, mountain biking and water sports and angling are enjoyed on the Meulspruit Dam, which is surrounded by a nature reserve. Also known as “Cherry Town”, its annual Cherry Festival is the longest running festival in South Africa…

2. Hennenman

Hennenman is a small town situated in the region known as the Free State Goldfields, just east of Welkom. Hennenman, unlike the other towns in the vicinity is interestingly not a gold mining town. This means Hennenman is free of the gold mine towers that characterize most other towns in the district. The town instead boasts two large cement factories, a prosperous economy and friendly residents. Not a tourist town, Hennenman’s main claim to fame is a tragic air accident, but visitors will find warm hospitality and old traditional culinary delights in this very Afrikaans town. Welkom is only a thirty-minute drive and has a host of other attractions to explore. Despite being a small town Hennenman still offers some good guesthouses and B&B’s in the town. Further accommodation can be…

3. Odendaalsrus

Oldest Gold Mining Town in SA Odendaalsrus is a small mining town some 20 km north of Welkom and under 3 hours from Johannesburg. This is a small tranquil town with much of the surrounding area used for agriculture. Odendaalsrus has highly successful farmers and is proud of its flourishing farming community. Despite being a large farming area, Odendaalsrus still boasts all the necessary facilities and services and it is in close proximity for residents who enjoy a bit of city life once in a while.   This may not be a big tourist town, however the natural beauty of the landscape has an inviting appeal and visitors will enjoy the warm sunshine and peace and quiet. Odendaalsrus has a unique vibe where photographers and artists can express themselves. A few attractions can be found in the…

4. Rosendal

Rosendal is nestled in the heart of the Maluti mountains, approximately 45 km from Ficksburg and 115 km from Clarens. The town is tiny, really tiny, with approximately 200 residents, one tarred road, one petrol station and one co-op which is closed on Sundays! But Rosendal is also one of the Free State’s biggest secrets! It offers its visitors stunning scenery, sandstone mountains (snow-capped mountains in winter), outdoor activities, arts, crafts and what most visitors are looking if they venture this way, quiet village life! So, while this arty little town is small, it is the unassuming home of a wonderful variety of things to do and see. For the energetic there are some exciting hikes in the vicinity and leisurely strolls in town.  Option two is to take the lazy alternative and do…

5. 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…

6. Ventersburg

Ventersburg is the only Free State town situated on the N1 highway, between Bloemfontein and Kroonstad, and is the agricultural centre for the surrounding areas. Mr P. A. Venter originally owned the farm Kromfontein on which Ventersburg was developed. His son, B. G. Venter inherited this land in 1857 and allowed it to be used initially as a church centre and then later for the community that grew around the church. The Ventersburg railway station, called Ventersburg Road, is about 18Km from town. The biggest draw card to Ventersburg is the close proximity of the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve, overlooking the Allemanskraal Dam, which is fed by the Sand River. Even though a small game…

7. Welkom

The Gold CountryWelkom is situated about 90 minutes northeast of Bloemfontein  and despite being a young town, it still has plenty to offer its visitors. Directly translated from Afrikaans or Dutch, the name Welkom means “welcome”.As its name suggests, Welkom has welcomed many visitors over the years that come to immerse themselves in all that the “circle city” has to offer.  The nickname “circle city” was adopted due to clever use of many easy flowing traffic circles that make up the traffic design of the city and this system has become an attraction in itself as visitors try to count just how many circles there are this fascinating city.Welkom has also come to be known as a “city within a garden” due to the many parks and gardens that give the city its many shady…