The Free State lies in the heart of South Africa, with Lesotho nestling in the hollow of its bean-like shape. Between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south, this immense rolling prairie stretches as far as the eye can see. The capital, Bloemfontein, has a well-established institutional, educational and administrative infrastructure, and houses the Supreme Court of Appeal. The city, also referred to as the City of Roses, is home to some of the province’s many tertiary educational institutions, including the University of the Free State and the Central University of Technology. Important towns include Welkom, the heart of the goldfields and one of the few completely preplanned cities in the world; Odendaalsrus, another gold-mining town; Sasolburg, which owes its existence to the petrol-from-coal installation established there; Kroonstad, an important agricultural, administrative and educational centre; Parys, on the banks of the Vaal River; Phuthaditjhaba, well-known for the beautiful handcrafted items produced by the local people; and Bethlehem, gateway to the Eastern Highlands of the Free State. Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti mountains in the north-eastern Free State, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park is the province’s prime tourist attraction. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the spectacular sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock, which keeps vigil over the park. The national road, which is the artery between Gauteng and the Western and Eastern Cape, passes through the middle of the Free State.
Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site
Golden Gate Highlands National Park
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