The Free State province lies in the heart of South Africa's interior. It is a large, flat area with a more or less uniform landscape throughout. To the east however, the landscape does change somewhat as the provinces rises into the foothills of the Maluti and Drakensberg Mountain Ranges respectively. Accommodation in the Free State provides the ultimate escape and can be particularly charming if you choose one of the quaint little towns.
The Free State plays a significant role in South Africa on various counts. For starters, it has a thriving agricultural industry, which mainly produces grains. In fact, the Free State is often referred to as South Africa's bread basket because it produces up to 70% of the country's grain. To the north of the province mining is a widely practised economic activity.
Welkom, one of South Africa's youngest towns is the capital of the Free State's mining industry. Visitors to Welkom get the opportunity to better understand the practise by visiting the gold museum and going down a real mine shaft.
The Free State's other noteworthy attribute in the context of South Africa is that it's home to the country's judicial capital, Bloemfontein, also the capital of the province. Bloemfontein is a small city renowned for its streets lined with roses.
The Free State also has some other delightful attractions such as the small town of Clarens in the east and Parys, in the north. Clarens is a lovely place to visit and offers some of the most pleasant Free State accommodation options. The town is surrounded by wide open spaces - open fields and big skies. It has a lovely laid-back vibe which has a special appeal to artists, who in turn perpetuate the atmosphere of a quaint, artsy town. Clarens is home to no less than 18 art galleries!
The old mining town of Parys is situated in the north of the province and possesses an old world charm which many visitors find hard to resist. This town too boasts a thriving artist community as well as a craft beer brewery.
Just outside of Parys lies one of the Free State's most notable slices of natural heritage, the Vredefort Dome. This crater is the site of a giant meteor crash which occurred hundreds of years ago. The dome is now a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and is of international significance to geologists and scientists.
One of the most popular choices with regards to accommodation in the Free State is the Vaal Dam. This is the second largest dam in South Africa, and unlike the quaint little towns and historical sites, 'what you see is what you get' applies to the dam. It is a large body of water which provides hours of fun for water-sport enthusiasts. It is a popular weekend destination for Gauteng locals, being so close to Johannesburg and Pretoria.
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