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Situated in the heart of South Africa between the Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces, the Free State is a hidden gem that offers a kaleidoscope of experiences to suit all tastes, interests,budgets and cultures. The Free State’s Big 5 incorporates five tourist routes designed to take you through each of the province’s major regions, showing off its many facets – cultural, natural, geographical, culinary and commercial. Easily accessible from Johannesburg Durban and the Cape, all you need is a pair of wheels and the Big 5 map to explore to your heart’s content.

• Experience local culture in with a visit to a local “Chisa Nyama” (barbecue) or “shebeen” (bar) in the townships of

   Manguang and  Botshabelo

• Discover the history of the area’s original inhabitants at the Basotho Cultural Village

• Browse for arts and crafts and sample local cuisine in picturesque towns like Clarens and Parys

• Let your hair down at Macufe, one of the biggest cultural festivals in South Africa, which also sponsors the annual

   Macufe Football Cup

• Explore the many facets of Bloemfontein, birthplace of both JRR Tolkien and the former and current ruling parties

• Join the buzz at the Cherry Festival which takes place each November in Ficksburg, the world’s cherry capital

• Relax at the Witisieshoek Resort which, at 2286m above sea level, offers spectacular views over the

   Northern Drakensberg mountains

• Go walking on the slopes of the Vredefort Dome, the world’s oldest and largest crater

• Get your heart pumping with a water sport adventure on the Vaal River and the 320sq km Vaal Dam

• Relive the events of the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 at various battle sites, memorials and museums

• Get to know the big cats at Dell Cheetah Sanctuary, Lion’s Rock and Tiger Canyons

• Check out the oldest known dinosaur nesting site as well as prehistoric stone corbelled huts and San rock art

• Sample local wines and visit the world’s deepest wine cellar

• Take a spin around the Phakisa Race Track, which Valentino Rossi rates as the 4th fastest in the world

• See where Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, was under house arrest for 9 years