Golden Gate Highlands National Park
Situated in the north eastern Free State province, some 360km south of Johannesburg, amongst the hills that take shape at the base of the Maluti Mountains, there you will find the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Indigenous grasslands and wooded ravines, together with sandstone cliffs and open blue African skies paint the Free State landscape of the Golden Gate Park. This fantastic wildlife retreat takes its name from the golden sunlight which reflects off the sandstone cliff faces within the park. This can best be seen on Brandwag rock, which stands boldly above the park's rest camp.
More than eleven and a half thousand hectares of scenery and ecological habitat unique to the highland make the Golden Gate Highlands National Park the ideal home for a great variety of wildlife, including the black wildebeest, oribi, zebra, eland and springbok. Of course the springbok being the animal traditionally symbolising the South African rugby team. Birds which are scarcely seen anymore, such as the bearded vulture and bald ibis can be found making a home for themselves of the sandstone cliffs.
Spots of notable interest to visitors of the park include the Van Reenen family graveyard, the well known Brandwag buttress rock formation, the Vulture restaurant and of course the Cathedral Cove guided walk. If you want to find the most scenic vantage points from which you can take in the surrounding nature, try Zuluhoek lookout point, Generaalskop viewpoint or check out the scenery in Oribi basin and Drakensberg view. These spots will provide you with great photographic opportunities, allowing you to take home your memories and share them with friends and family.
Of the outdoor activities on offer, tennis, bowls and horse riding are popular. There is also a refreshing mountain pool with a naturally formed water-slide for refreshing yourself on a hot day. Other must sees are the bushman paintings and the bird hide at the Vulture restaurant.
A 31km hike on the Rheebok Trail is not for the faint hearted, but those more active visitors can see eland, zebra, red hartebeest as well as the bearded vulture and black eagle on this adventurous outing. Of course there are a variety of less challenging hikes to cater for everyone. Another great way of seeing the wildlife is by car and night drives are excellent for seeing the wild night-life activities of the park's inhabitants.
Accommodation can be arranged at the Glen Reenen Rest Camp or alternatively at the Wilgenhof Environmental Education Centre, the Highlands Mountain Retreat or at the Brandwag Hotel. This spectrum caters for everyone from self catering to hotel treatment.