18 Oct 2014 | By Sun International
Tourist Attractions In Free State
Bordering Lesotho, in the heart of South Africa, the Free State offers visitors a wealth of cultural, historical and natural treasures. Also known as the ‘City of Roses’, there are so many things to do in Free State. Here’s our list of the six best places to visit in South Africa’s third largest province...
1. An abundance of blooms in Bloemfontein
Home to over 4 000 rose bushes and the largest open green space in the city, King's Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Free State. Opened in 1925, this wonderful retreat hosts a monthly craft market, King’s Park Arts and Craft Market, held on the first Saturday of every month. Inside the park, visitors will also find the popular Bloemfontein Zoo, known for
its impressive primate collection and extensive variety of birds.
Did you know? With over 30 000 farms producing the majority of the country’s grain, the Free State is nicknamed ‘South Africa's breadbasket’.
2. Explore Oliewenhuis Art Museum
A visit to the Oliewenhuis Art Museum is one of the more popular things to do in Free State.
It resides in a Neo-Dutch style mansion that once served as a residence for royalty and statesmen. Established in 1989, today Oliewenhuis exhibits a vast collection of contemporary artwork from South African artists and is considered to be the epicenter of cultural attractions in Free State. After a morning spent marvelling at the artwork, explore the Oliewenhuis walking trails and end your trip with a picnic in the tranquil museum gardens.
3. A shopping mecca
Modelled on Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Loch Logan Waterfront is a fabulous place for shopping and dining. Catch a movie at the cinema or browse the assortment of stores and flea market stalls.
FACT: The judicial capital of South Africa and the capital of the Free State is known as Mangaung.
4. Step back in time at the Anglo-Boer War Museum
Dedicated to the history of the Anglo-Boer War, the museum’s art collection details this significant period giving visitors a unique insight into the war and the context in which it took place. Located behind the historic National Women’s Memorial, the Anglo-Boer War Museum is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Free State.
Did you know? Unveiled on the 16th of December 1913, The National Women’s Memorial was the first monument in the world dedicated to women and children.
5. Things to do in Thaba Nchu
As one of the most popular and affordable holidays destinations in Free State, Naledi Sun is less than an hour's drive away from Bloemfontein and offers comfortable hotel accommodation for leisure and corporate guests. The hotel borders the Maria Moroka Game Reserve which offers wonderful game-viewing opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts. The name Thaba Nchu means ‘Black Mountain’ in Tswana and was once the tribal stronghold of the Rolong tribe who became a close ally to the Voortrekkers during the Anglo-Boer War.
Despite its impressive scenery and setting, the hotel has a slots-only casino, a restaurant and bar, and is one of the few venues that offers conference facilities in Thaba Nchu. With its unrivalled location and reputation as a popular team-building venue, conferencing in Thaba Nchu is unlike anywhere else in the Free State. The hotel also provides kid-friendly activities and is an affordable destination from which to explore the surrounding Thaba Nchu attractions.
6. Potter about in Parys
Combining adventure and culture in one, Parys is as picturesque as it interesting. If it’s adventure you’re looking for, the Vaal River provides an abundance of fun activities from river-rafting and tubing to skiing and river surfing. For those wanting a far-less strenuous experience, this quaint town in the Free State is sprawling with galleries, antique stores,
cafés and restaurants and is a great place to source second-hand furniture and beautiful art.
Travel tip: Visit Kiki’s Photo Studio and Lounge for a vintage photo shoot. It’s one of the many unique things to do in Parys and is a fun way to tap into the life and times of the Voortrekkers.
With so many things to do in Free State, visitors will be in awe of all of the Free State attractions that make the province one of South Africa’s best-kept secrets.