The Free State with all it's glory offers all there is to offer. From Farming to Mining, to pure natural beauty, the Free State offers it all.
This is a land of water. The area South of the mighty Vaal river, embroidered by natural and man-made bilharzia-free water, features surrounding hilly grasslands replete with maize farms and grazing livestock.
Within an hour's drive of the hustle and bustle of the central Free State metropole are the holiday playgrounds along the southern banks of the Vaal River. Here you can challenge the white waters of this major river in a raft or a canoe, or sail at a leisurely pace through the fertile, willow tree-lined valley.
Situated in the heart of South Africa, the Free State offer peace and tranquility to any visitor.
The Free State is divided into five district municipalities (districts). These are again subdivided into three to five local municipalities each, for a total of 20 local municipalities.
The five districts are:
The province is well connected to the rest of the country by road and railways. The Bloemfontein Airport also provides frequent and regular flights to the major centra in South Africa. The major industrial areas like Bloemfontein, Welkom, Sasolburg and Harrismith offer modern commercial facilities including advanced telecommunication systems, a number of tertiary educational institutions and medical facilities.
The Free State border on the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, North-West, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng Province and also shares a border with Lesotho.
With Bloemfontein it's capital a modern city with a dynamic central business district. A city recently re-named to Mangaung which means "Place of the Cheetahs". Bloemfontein is home to the University of the Free State and is renowned for it's educational excellence.
In the heart of the city of Bloemfontein is the Naval Hill Game Reserve which treats visitors with springbok, blesbok, giraffe and various species of wild life. Despite Bloemfontein being the 6th largest city in South Africa it's people are warm open hearted with the appreciation of family values.
Bloemfontein is regarded as the ideal conference centre in South Africa due to it being centralized in the country and excellent venues.
The Free State also boasts with over 80 provincial, municipal and privately owned nature reserves and parks. The Gariep Dam with the huge Orange River it's water source, is situated in the southernmost corner of the region and offers excellent recreational facilities and opportunities for anyone wishing to escape city life.
The Free State Province also has a lot of attractions in the line of bird watching, wildlife, hiking trails and sport to name but a few. Golf is certainly one of the major attractions with golf clubs like the Bloemfontein Golf Club, Schoeman Park Golf Club also in Bloemfontein and the Koffiefontein Golf Club to name a few. The Jan Smuts Nature Trail in Rouxville offers day walks, horse trails and canoe trails.
It is clear to see that the Free State offers a great variety of pleasure and interests. Real estate in the Free State, has shown a steady growth the last couple of years and from mansions in Bloemfontein to game farms the Free State Province has much to offer a prospective buyer.
Mining is the province's major employer. A gold reef over 400 kilometres long, known as the goldfields region, stretches across Gauteng and the Free State. South Africa is the world's largest gold producer, and the country's largest gold-mining complex is Free State Consolidated Goldfields, with an area of 330 square kilometres.
The province has 12 gold mines, producing 30% of South Africa's output and making it the fifth-largest producer of gold in the world. The Harmony Gold Refinery and Rand Refinery are the only two gold refineries in South Africa.
Gold mines in the Free State also supply a substantial portion of the total silver produced in the country, while considerable concentrations of uranium occurring in the gold-bearing conglomerates of the goldfields are extracted as a byproduct.
Bituminous coal is also mined, and converted to petrochemicals at Sasolburg. The Free State also produces high-quality diamonds from its kimberlite pipes and fissures, and the country's largest deposit of bentonite is found in the Koppies district.
Since 1989, the Free State economy has moved from dependence on primary
sectors such as mining and agriculture to an economy increasingly oriented towards
manufacturing and export.
Some 14% of the province's manufacturing is classified as being in high-technology industries - the highest of all provincial economies. The northern Free State's chemicals sector is one of the most important in the southern hemisphere. Petrochemicals company Sasol, based in the town of Sasolburg, is a world leader in the production of fuels, waxes, chemicals and low-cost feedstock from coal.
Agriculture dominates the Free State landscape, with cultivated land
covering 32 000 square kilometres, and natural veld and grazing a further 87
000 square kilometres of the province.
It is also South Africa's leader in the production of biofuels, or fuel from agricultural crops, with a number of ethanol plants under construction in the grain-producing western region.