Nestled in the enchanting province of the Free State is the Golden Gate National Park. The park is just a short drive from a small but beautiful town called Clarens. If you travel a little way further, you’ll end up at the Lesotho border.
From the famous sandstone cliffs to the herds of Antelope and Zebras, the park holds many magical sights. The landscape is on the foothills of the gorgeous Maluti Mountains. If you’re lucky you’ll get to see a Black Wildebeest, Eland, Blesbok, Springbok or even a Bearded Vulture.
To get to the park, you can book a cheap flight to Bloemfontein and drive to Clarens. Clarens has an array of accommodations, ensuring a comfortable stay. However, you can also try your hand at camping in the park itself.
The Golden Gate Highlands National Park
Whether you flew with Mango Airlines, Kulula Airlines, or FlySafair, getting to the park is all that matters.There are a lot of incredible sights to see and areas to visit when at The Golden Gate. There will always be something to see or do that will satisfy any traveller’s needs.
The Vulture Restaurant
This incredible sight can be found in the Oribi Loop. There, you will be met with spectacular views of the Rooiberg and landscapes. This is unfortunately not a restaurant for travellers, as the ‘restaurant’ refers to the area where Vultures feast on their prey, which is truly a rare sight to see.
As the park is situated by a mountain range, there are plenty of areas that have stunning views. Hikers will have a field day as each viewpoint has its own route with even more extraordinary landscapes to witness.
This lookout is actually the highest point in the entire park. When you look out from Ribbokkop, you’ll see awe-inspiring views of the Maloti mountain. This area is known for its breath-taking mixture of warm and cool tones in the evening. This is when the purple shadows meet the red and yellow sand and rocks.
Just like the name suggests, when you visit this viewpoint, you’ll encounter even more views with something extra. The Drakensberg mountain range can be spotted from here.
This famous viewpoint gives the viewer a panoramic view of both Lesotho as well as the province where the Golden Gate is situated – The Free State. The area is filled with streams, waterfalls, and chasms to see from the viewpoint.
Basotho Cultural Village
If you are looking for an authentic cultural experience, you can visit the Basotho Cultural Village. Here you can get to know the locals, witness their way of living, and try the local cuisine. Visitors can learn about traditional equipment, weapons, and medicines from the local village folk.
Rhebok Hiking Trail
For avid hikers, this is the hiking trail for you. The trail is circular and is around 31km long. Over the course of two days, hikers will witness an array of mountain views, wildlife, bird-sightings, and some fascinating geological formations. Generaalskop is also part of this trail.
Accommodation is provided to hikers who go on this trail. The Rhebok Hut can house eighteen people and has washing and cooking areas, as well as a working draining system. There’s even a braai area to enjoy after a long day of hiking.
Photo by @trevordeanphotography on Instagram
Golden Gate National Park Accommodation
Whether you stay in Bloemfontein, Clarens or the park itself, you will find comfort wherever you go. There are plenty of awesome places to stay when visiting the park. All you have to do is find the right fit for you.
If you don’t want to be fully immersed in the wildlife and landscapes, you could always stay in Clarens and then make your way to the park from there.
Red Mountain House
This charming accommodation is on the first floor of a complex that also has a restaurant and bar. So, whether you are taking in the views of the mountain or enjoying a meal and drink in the restaurant, you will definitely experience leisure and relaxation.
Hannic’s Retreat is a self-catering lodge that allows the visitor to feel at home, whilst also savouring that ‘holiday-feeling’. The open space lodge and outside area allows whoever stays there to breathe in all the fresh air they need.
Golden Gate Accommodation
For the times you want to get away from the hub of the city life, these accommodations will definitely suit your fancy.
Highlands Mountain Retreat
A luxury lodge where you can allow yourself to totally relax whilst breathing in the fresh mountain air? It may sound too good to be true, but at this retreat, you can get exactly that. This place boasts remarkable mountain views, comfy log cabins, and an authentic Highlands experience.
Golden Gate Hotel
Who would have thought this National park would have a hotel in its midst? The Golden Gate Hotel provides impeccable service and comfortable stays. You can even book the hotel for events like conferences or team building activities. However, with those views, you might feel compelled to stay a few extra nights.
Photo by @tammyjaneharding on Instagram
Golden Gate Camping
Some visitors might want a more rustic experience on their holiday, and with these rest camps, they will be able to do just that. When it comes to The Golden Gate National Park, camping has never been easier.
Glen Reenen Restcamp
Around 12km from the entrance to the Golden Gate Park lies this astounding rest camp. The camp has two sides: one has the reception, shop and petrol station, and the other is the camping site. Go ahead and get your camp on in this conveniently placed area.
Basotho Cultural Village Rest Camp
After visiting the village for the day, take a rest in the comfortable, self-catering rondavels with stunning views. There is a communal braai area for families to enjoy after a day of cultural exploration.
Final Thoughts on The Golden Gate National Park
The Golden Gate, South Africa, was given its name from the golden colours that come from the park. The landscapes, mountains, and more will have you feeling golden in no time. Go ahead and book your flight and enjoy your much-needed holiday.