Golden Gate National Park
Feed your soul with tranquility through the golden gateFrom heart-stopping views and vistas of the surrounding valleys, gorges and mountains to the green and pleasant lands of the Free State province, there's surely no better way to relax and get in touch with your wild side than discovering the magnificent wildlife of the Free State, one of South Africa’s Best Roads, the Golden Gate.
The Golden Gate Highlands National Park, through which the Caledon River flows, has over the years gained popularity as an ideal location for a family retreat or a romantic getaway for couples in search for tranquility. Nestled in the rolling foothills of Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains and classed as South Africa's only grassland national park.
Journeying through the R712 reveals breathtaking and dramatic scenery leading up to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, travelers get to experience the joy of travelling on a well-maintained tarred road. It is no surprise that this road has been voted as one of the Best Roads To Drive in South Africa by the leading car rental brand, Avis and quantified by the company’s scientific approach aptly termed, Avis Driving Ratio (ADR).
Once considered a not so ideal holiday destination, the Free State has fast earned its stripes as a destination of choice for holiday makers, especially those who are wildlife fanatics. The 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra. Bird watching is also very rewarding with a number of the high-altitude species regularly being spotted, including the rare bearded vulture, lammergeyer, and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs.
For the lovers of open space and the smell of fresh mountain air, Golden Gate is a must see.
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Golden Gate National ParkNestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the Park's sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock, keeping vigil over the main rest camp.
This 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra - and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs. Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge with the cool mountain shadows towards evening. Areas of special interest in this part of the country include the Van Reenen family graveyard, the Impressive Brandwag buttress rock formation, as well as the Vulture Restaurant Cathedral Cave. Interesting lookout points and viewpoints include the Zuluhoek lookout point, Generaalskop viewpoint, the third highest point in the park; Oribi basin and the Drakensberg view.