The Free State’s Big Five

Tumelo Dibakwane shares his Shot Left Free State experience with our readers


DURING a recent trip, sponsored by the South African Tourism (SAT)  and Free State Gambling liquor and Tourism Authority  in Free State province as official tourism province for 2021, the media had an unforgettable experience on the various tourism routes across the province.


These routes were named after well-known South African animals and birds and besides its beautiful surroundings, also offer a range of unique attractions to holiday makers.


CHEETAH ROUTE with the Free State National Botanical Garden as part of its tourism offerings is situated in the capital of Bloemfontein. The tour also provides historical, cultural and natural attractions with Chief Morokas monument is found in Thaba-Nchu.

Mantsopas’ cave. Anna Mantsopa was a prophet who came from Lesotho to live in Moddepoort at St Augustine with the missionaries. People still visit her grave and use the natural spring water, which they believe still has healing powers.
Tumelo Waga Dibakwane with fellow journalist at Waaihoek Wesleyan Church ANC birth place Museum This is where the ANC was formed in 1912. The popular church was declared a national heritage site in 2011.
The Nelson Mandela statue looks out over the city of Bloemfontein. This statue is the second largest bronze statue of the South African.

The Botanical Gardens boasts 400 plant species, 144 bird types, 54 reptile- and about 32 mammal species. Visitors can enjoy picnics and enjoy braais in these lush gardens. Before leaving Bloemfontein, make sure to visit the Naval Hill Precinct with its 6.5m tall bronze statue of Nelson Mandela and Loch Logan Waterfront, a commercial hub.

Newshorn Journalist Tumelow Waga Dibakoane, Sbahle Motha Bheki Radebe during the media tour De Oude Kraal Country Estate getting a Foot massage at De Oude Kraal Country Estate : It is a working sheep farm that is based about 40kms from bloemfontein. The house was built in 1885 the restaurant is based now. De Oude Kraal comes from the native Koi Tribe, where natural rocks were used to build and the rocks were from the area and the “kraal” which means animal enclosure that kept their livestock safe from predators

In Botshabelo, indigenous culture comes alive. With its vibey shisa nyama spots and township tours to the  Botshabelo never disappoints.


The EAGLE ROUTE with its many adventure activities, arts and crafts, horse-riding and hiking spots, passes through small, but beautiful Free State towns with hundreds of years of history. As many city dwellers semi-grated to a slower lifestyle, it is not only the picturesque views associated with the province, but also the interesting shops and characters, which will ensure you return again and again to , Clocolan, Ficksburg, Fouriesburg, Clarens, Bethlehem, Phuthaditjhaba, Harrismith and Memel. 


The LION ROUTE includes Parys, one of the most interesting towns in the province, just as Clarens on the Eagle Route. This route comprises of 

Deneysville, Sasolburg, Vredefort and Kroonstad as well. Situated at the wall of the Vaal Dam, Deneysville is merely an hour’s drive from Johannesburg.

Basotho Culture Experience at Bothobapelo Country Lodge Experience on how Basotho traditional food is prepared, Basotho food tasting, Basotho way of dressing, Traditional Healer & traditional dancing and Horse ridding Laratong, Monontsha, Phuthaditjhaba
At the Golden Gate Game reserve


Parys hosts the annual Free State Madeira Flower Festival drawing visitors from across SA. The Vredefort Dome is the world’s largest and oldest known meteorite-impact site. It is larger than 10km in diameter and bigger than Table Mountain.

Waga Dibakwane at Basotho traditional food testing,

The FLAMINGO ROUTE includes Bothaville, Welkom, Ventersburg, Virginia, Winburg and Brandfort. Welkom, established after the discovery of gold in the area in 1947, is famous for the Gold Museum and the Phakisa Freeway Race Track named one of the fastest tracks in the world.


Although tiny, visitors to Ventersburg town can visit the ruins of the Basotho chief, Moshoeshoe’s, kraal and the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve which overlooks the Allemanskraal Dam, a sailor’s delight.


The SPRINGBOK ROUTE connects the Free State with the Northern Cape, comprising of Jacobsdal, Koffiefontein, Jagersfontein, Bethulie, the huge Gariep Dam and Philippolis.


Jacobsdal is part of the Diamond and Wine Route, while the Gariep Dam is home to the province’s largest nature reserve. There are many resorts and activities in the area.

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