The Transgariep and Goldfields region of the Free State is bordered in the South by the Orange River and Gariep Dam, in the East by the Lesotho border and in the West by the Northern Province border. Goldfields occupies the northern half of this Freestate region but it was not until 1938 that gold was discovered in the region when a borehole being sunk on the farm St Helena struck a continuation of the reef that was being mined in the Witwatersrand. Soon prospectors and miners were flooding into the region known now as goldfields and allied industries sprung up in the region. Today the Free State goldfields are rivaled only by those of Gauteng, and Welkom's residents enjoy an income second to none in South Africa. Above the ground the countryside is rich with endless fields of maize.
The Transgariep occupies the southern part of this region, which is a mass of vast open grassy plains. In the south the plains are fed by the 2000 kilometre long Orange River which rises in the far northeast of Lesotho, circumnavigates that country and eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean. On the Orange River (now called the Gariep) was built the Gariep Dam, which was opened in 1972 and covers 36500 hectares. Together with an 11250 hectare game sanctuary on its northern shore this makes up the Free State's largest nature reserve.
Bloemfontein is the Capital of the Free State and the judicial capital of South Africa. Its Tswana name is Mangaung which means "the place of the spotted cat", which is a name derived from times of old when cheetahs and leopards roamed the region at will. Bloemfontein originated back in 1840 when a Voortrekker farmer named Johannes Brits built himself a house alongside a spring surrounded by flowers. Bloemfontein is home to a great number of museums, including the National Museum, dotted about the city giving the visitor to this beautiful city a wide choice of subjects. Outside the centre of the city is the Free State National Botanical Garden, home to more than 400 species of indigenous flora.
Welkom is the second largest city in the Free State. It was laid out in 1947 on the farm. Welkom, became a municipality in 1961 and a city on 14 February 1968, making it South Africa's newest city. The city was planned by the chairman of Anglo-American and is a garden city with a commercial centre built around a central square, and more than one million trees planted. The mines in and around Welkom are very deep and flooding of the shafts is an ever-present threat. Enormous quantities of brackish water have to be pumped to the surface daily where they are collected in evaporation pans. Bird life on these pans is prolific. Species include flamingo, the sacred ibis, Egyptian goose, Muscovy duck, Marsh Owl, and many seagulls. Some of the water from the mines is desalinated and used for domestic purposes.
By far the oldest town in the Transgariep and Goldfields region of the Free State is Philippolis, founded in 1823 by the London Missionary Society for the benefit of displaced Khoikhoi and San. The streets of the town are lined with quaint Karoo houses with 19th Century front doors and stoeps. Many of these houses have been declared as National Monuments.
The Kalkfontein Dam Nature Reserve in the far southwest of the province is one of the few fishing dams where yellowfish are plentiful. The land area around the dam is too small to support wildlife and the dam has become a favourite venue for weekend picnickers, campers and fishermen. The reserve is open daily and visitors may camp overnight.
Odessa Guest House, 3 star graded by the TGCSA, is situated conveniently close to N1 as well as to Nelson Mandela Drive, which is the main road into the city in a quiet, up market suburb of Universitas Ridge in Bloemfontein and offers you excellent accom
Shalom is situated in Universitas, a leafy suburb close to the University of the Free State. We have family rooms, single and double rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms, TV's, fridges and microwaves. There is a swimming pool and also a lapa with braai
The Fox Den is ideally situated 3 kilometres off the N1 in the town of Trompsburg, 160kms north of Colesberg and 120kms south of Bloemfontein. The Fox Den has 8 self catering units that can comfortably accommodate 2 to 5 guests respectively per unit.
Abba Backpackers is situated in the upmarket suburb, Dan Pienaar, one of the safest areas in Bloemfontein. We cater for corporate guests, touring groups, families, school groups and sport teams, but also for single and double accommodation.
Wilreco is a fully equipped two bedroom self catering flat that is situated Park West, Bloemfontein. We offer you comfort, space, safety and a clean friendly environment to stay.
Lushof Lodge in Gariepdam offers Guest Farm Accommodation.2,3km off the N1; 180km South of Bloemfontein; 55km North of Colesburg; 22km North of Gariep Dam and 30km South of Springfontein.. We offer safe accommodation with plenty of open spaces wher
Angela's Guest Lodge is ideally suited for the weary traveler wanting to break their long and tiresome journey or alternatively for the guest who wants to spend some extra days enjoying all that the Karoo and Gariep Dam area has to offer...
We are proud to be one of the first established Guesthouses in Bloemfontein, SINCE 1993. We can accommodate from VIP persons to business travellers, families, small/large groups and even long term accommodation needs.
Au Jardin is an ideal choice for guests seeking a sophisticated Guest House with the highest levels of service only found in small establishments. Au Jardin Guest House is a luxury establishment, intimate in size, a perfect fit for upscale travelers
Come and enjoy your stay at these French styled fully furnished units with own private garden and braai facility. These units are located in the prime northern suburb of Dan Pienaar...
Adamsiew offers Luxury self catering accommodation with breathtaking views over Gariep Dam. Situated halfway between Johannesburg and Cape Town you will find Adamsview 5 km from the N1 close to Colesberg.