The next time you visit the Free State kick off your shoes and feel the grass under your feet while you take in the stunning surroundings of the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
This national park is found near the Lesotho border at the foothills of the Maluti Mountains, and is renowned for its golden, ochre and orange-hued sandstone rock formations – most notably the Brandwag Rock which towers over the rolling, open plains of the highlands, standing vigil over this ancient land.
Photo credit: http://www.southafrica.net
Spend the day in this natural wonderland exploring the many caves and rocky shelters, some of which house ancient San rock paintings, on the Rhebok hiking trail. Challenge yourself with a climb to the highest lookout point in the park, Ribbokkop, for unreal views over the open plains where a breath-taking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues merge with cool mountain shadows towards evening. If you are looking to take it easy, visit the Zuluhoek and Generaalskop viewpoints for a picnic with the family.
Wildlife you are most likely to see include black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell’s zebra. If you’re lucky you could spot the rare bearded vulture (lammergeyer) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs.
Photo credit: http://www.clarensnews.co.za
The Free State is perhaps an under-rated region to visit within South Africa, but if you take the time to explore the region you will find a landscape that dates back to prehistoric times, littered with many breathtaking and fascinating sites such as the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
Visit: http://www.sanparks.co.za/parks/golden_gate/ for more information on what do in this beautiful region of the country!