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Gariep Dam is Free States largest nature reserve. It’s a combination of dam (which holds 6,000 million cubic litres of water) and a game sanctuary. The dam is very popular for boating and angling with the game sanctuary being home to one of the largest population of springbok in any reserve in the country. Cape zebra, klipspringer, black wildebeest, red hartebeest and ostrich are also within the reserve.
Bloemfontein is the capital of Free State and the judicial capital of South Africa. Known as the ‘city of roses’, it is home to a vast number of rose bushes, with more than 4,000 planted in the King's Park rose garden alone. The city boasts a number of cultural attractions and a wide variety of eateries and shops. The Cheetah Experience, an organisation committed to promoting and funding the conservation of cheetahs is located just outside of the city centre.
This area incorporates the Vredefort Dome, a meteor crater created two billion years ago. It is recognised as a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of South Africa’s wonders.
Located at the foot of the Drakensburg mountain range, this dam is in an idyllic setting set as it is with the backdrop of the seamlessly neverending hilltops behind.
The main draw for this park is the abundance of hiking trails, both longer trails and shorter ones for the more inexperienced hiker. The Rhebok hiking trail is a 2 day, 1 night trek which offers visitors a great way to experience the park. Horse riding, canoeing and abseiling are also available.
The Basotho Cultural Village is located within the park and gives visitors the opportunity to build up a greater understanding of the Sotho traditions. A herbal trek operates from the village which aims to educate visitors about the medicines that were used and are still used by the traditional African Healers.
The park also contains a number of mammals, including a large amount of antelope species including the black wildebeest, blesbok, common duiker, eland, grey rhebok, mountain reedbuck, oribi, red hartebeest, springbok and steenbok.
Bird species include the bearded vulture, the black stork , bald ibis, cape vulture, lanner and peregrine falcon, African rock pipit and a multitude of others.
The Golden Gate Highlands Park is the only national grassland park in South Africa with over 60 species of grasses.
© ecoTravel Africa 2011