Top things to do

Top ChoiceWildlife Reserve in Ficksburg

Moolmanshoek Private Game Reserve

This breathtaking, family-owned reserve protects a 3000-hectare stretch of grasslands, stone rock formations and valleys of the Wittenberg mountains. Springbok, black wildebeest, blesbok, oryx, zebra and ostrich...

Top ChoiceMicrobrewery in Parys & Vredefort Dome Area

The Dog and Fig

A craft brewery in the picturesque outskirts of Parys offering excellent brews, a lovely setting and free, informal tours. The brewmaster brings in top-quality hops and malt from Germany, and his creations pair...

Top ChoiceCafe in Ficksburg

Cafe Chocolate

Part restaurant, part chocolate factory and part theatre, this is Ficksburg's top eatery and de facto cultural centre. Popular items include homemade pastas, pizzas and Maluti trout, and there's a good selection...

Top ChoiceInternational in Clarens

Clementines Restaurant

The food at this souped-up country kitchen tastes just as good as it looks on the gourmet international menu, featuring everything from rainbow trout with almond butter to tender ostrich fillets. Professional...

Top ChoiceInternational in Parys & Vredefort Dome Area

O’s Restaurant

In this stylish, thoroughly satisfying restaurant down by the river, have some deep-fried calamari strips followed by peri peri steak, or fillet flambé prepared at your table. The pizza menu is also worth a...

Top ChoiceInternational in Bloemfontein

Seven on Kellner

Set in an old house with inside and outside dining options, Seven on Kellner offers an informal, intimate atmosphere. Poultry, meat and seafood dishes are delicately prepared with expert hands along a Middle...

Top ChoicePark in Bloemfontein

Naval Hill

During the Anglo-Boer War, this was the site of the British naval-gun emplacements. There are good views from the top of the hill, which is also home to the Franklin Nature Reserve. Walking is permitted, and you...

Bistro in Parys & Vredefort Dome Area

Hoi Polloi Bistro & Boutique Caffe

A split-level restaurant adorned from top to bottom in oddities, antiques and memorabilia – but with two distinct menus. The creaky but elegant upstairs is the bistro, serving dishes like warthog carpaccio,...

National Park in Eastern Highlands & Southern Free State

Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Golden Gate Highlands National Park

The Free State's only national park is known for its dramatic, golden-hued sandstone cliffs and outcroppings, abundant wildlife (including eland, zebra and wildebeest) and centuries-old cave paintings by the San...

Steak in Bloemfontein

New York

Locals love this upmarket steakhouse, with its decor invoking 1920s New York, for special occasions. The menu features seafood, chicken and burgers, but it's the saucy steaks that steal the show. There are a...

Brewery in Clarens

Clarens Brewery

Finely crafted local brews such as English ale, stout and IPA go down very well at this exposed-brick bar across from Clarens Sq. You can sample the range – which also includes a number of ciders and a gin – for...

Wildlife Reserve in Kroonstad

Willem Pretorius Game Reserve

Off the N1, about 70km south of Kroonstad, is the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve, one of Free State’s biggest recreation areas. Divided by the Sand River and Allemanskraal Dam, the reserve encompasses two...

Books in Philippolis

Oom Japie se Huis

This wonderful and expansive bookstore lives in a Victorian home dating to 1881, which a previous owner lovingly restored. (In the 90s, the place received an award for 'best restored vernacular house' in South...

Gallery in Bloemfontein

Oliewenhuis Art Museum

One of South Africa’s most striking art galleries, the Oliewenhuis Art Museum occupies an exquisite 1935 mansion set in beautiful gardens. An imaginative and poignant contemporary photographic exhibition gives a...

Nature Reserve in Eastern Highlands & Southern Free State

Gariep Dam Nature Reserve

The Free State’s largest nature reserve is a combination of the 365-sq-km Gariep Dam (which holds back a vast 6 billion cubic litres of water) on the Senqu (Orange) River and an 112-sq-km wildlife sanctuary on...

Village in Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Basotho Cultural Village

Within the park you’ll find the small Basotho Cultural Village, essentially an open-air museum peopled by actors depicting various aspects of traditional Basotho life. A two-hour guided hiking trail explores...

Museum in Bloemfontein

Anglo-Boer War Museum

The Anglo-Boer War Museum has some interesting displays, including photos from concentration camps set up not only in South Africa but also in Bermuda, India and Portugal. Apart from a few modern touches, this...

Bar in Bloemfontein

Shebeen Bar at Emoya

This rowdy township-style bar sits with in the Emoya Estate, a lifestyle complex with a hotel, private game reserve (white rhinos and giraffes included), a spa and putt-putt. The bar is defined by funky and...

Museum in Philippolis

Museum Transgariep

This small museum features a handful of historical exhibits, including a tribute to Emily Hobhouse, who started a weaving school for women after the Anglo-Boer war, and a replica of an early 1800s bedroom, living...

Nature Reserve in Eastern Highlands & Southern Free State

Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve

The small Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve is in a beautiful area of the Drakensberg foothills, and home to springbok, zebra, rhebok and wildebeest. Looking out over this expansive dam with its backdrop of rugged...