Last week I was invited by SA Tourism to go on a media trip of The Free State. It was all part of their #TourismForAll campaign which is aimed at getting more people to travel throughout South Africa during Tourism Month which is in September.
The main aim is to get people who don’t generally travel to start travelling around South Africa. Special deals are being negotiated with hotels and tourism companies so that those that don’t normally travel due to monetary concerns can now travel.
So just what does the Free State offer and why should you go there?
Well our first stop was a wonderful venue the Legae La Khumo Lodge it has family rooms, log cabins, a lapa, cash bar, braai area, conference facilities and Wi-Fi. They made a delicious meal for us.
Find out more about them at www.legaelakhumolodge.co.za
Visit them at 60 Oost Street, Thaba Nchu.
Call on 078-566-1014 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Bloemfontein itself has some wonderful sights to visit.
Take a trip to POELANONG a Day of Reconciliation Memorial which has writings in English, Afrikaans, Southern Sotho and Braille.
President Brand Street has many monuments in it as well.
Bloemfontein is the traditional capital of South Africa. The Appeal Court of South Africa is in Bloemfontein. Keep an eye out for the Waldorf, it is a German Built structure in the city.
You will find the Literature Museum, The High Court, The Magistrates Court and The Old Presidency in Bloemfontein.
|The Old Presidency Museum|
The Old Presidency, named because The Presidents of the OFS used to live there, is now a museum.
Entrance is free. Find it on the corner of President Brand and St George Streets in Bloemfontein.
It really is worth a visit and you can find rooms there that show you what it was like to live a long time ago.
The Old Presidency even has a ghost in it reportedly. ‘Dis n’ spookhuis’ said one man to me as I entered.
|The Grave Of Emily Hobhouse|
The Anglo Boere War Museum is also worth a visit. It features spectacular monuments and here you will also find the National Women’s Monument and the grave of Emily Hobhouse.
Take a Township Tour through Mangaung Township and see where the ANC was born in 1912. There are also different sections such as the ‘4 and 6 Stands’ because you had to pay 4 pounds or 6 pounds for your stand.
There is also the ‘Sports Stand’ because a sports facility was built for black people. It was called the Caleb Motshabi Centre.
In this township you will also find a Youth Monument.
|Nelson Mandela Statue - Naval Hill|
We headed to Naval Hill as well and you will find that it is within a nature reserve. If you keep your eyes open you might spot some of the wildlife there.
There’s also a statue of Nelson Mandela there and the Hill features some spectacular views of Bloemfontein so don’t forget your camera.
For adventurous people you could also walk up the hill. There are plans to develop it into a Tourism Centre.
We stayed at Poisanong guesthouse while in Bloemfontein. A really nice place to stay.
For our final night in Bloemfontein we had a delicious dinner at Emoya Estate at the Spookhuis. They have a wide variety of meals from tasty starters to burgers to steaks to salads to waffles and the list goes on and on. The Estate also has a plane on it which you can explore.
|Gariep - A Forever Resort|
Our final part of the tour took us to Gariep Dam. We checked in at Gariep A Forever Resort. The perfect spot if you are taking your family. It has some wonderful activities. For our final night we attended a gala dinner with the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom. He emphasised that tourism should be more accessible for everyone. Hence September is Tourism Month.
You can go on a tour of the Dam one of the biggest dams in the world. It was completed in 1972 and supplies water to Eskom. It was built by an international consortium. It really is a sight to behold.
Other activities to look out for are the 4x4 tractor ride and the boat ride. For the boat ride pack something warm if you go in the late afternoon as it can get cold. It features spectacular views of the dam so pack your camera.
The Resort itself features activities such as tennis, bowls, volley ball, fishing, sailing, mini golf, swimming pools, canoeing, motor boating, bird watching, walking trails, picnic areas, conferencing and much more.
To book some of the activities and for more info visit www.forevergariep.co.za
To book a room call 051 754 0045 or email email@example.com
Our tour guides along the way were Thabile Tours & Shuttles and they really were full of knowledge. So if you need a tour guide or shuttle email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thabiletours.co.za or call 084-412-0845
For more info on special deals in Bloemfontein and South Africa visit www.shotleft.co.ca
Twitter: @ShotLeft Facebook: Sho’t Left Hashtag: #TourismForAll
Article by Fred Felton - Twitter: @fredfelton
Fred Felton was a guest of South African Tourism on this trip.