Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
Golden Gate Highlands National Park : To be free of the stresses of everyday life and totally immersed in something genuinely breathtaking? Or is it the opportunity to immerse oneself in the cultural subtleties of a tiny town and the historic regions that surround it? Perhaps it’s the sensation of your heart racing beneath your chest as you go on an adventure? All of the above is correct! All of this may be found at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the lovely Free State.
Located in the north-eastern part of South Africa, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park is a Free State nature reserve. It gets its name from the beautiful colours of gold produced by the sun on the sandstone cliffs, particularly the towering Brandwag rock. The area is well-known for its breathtaking landscape and energising weather conditions.
According to the prehistoric stone tools and rock drawings discovered around Golden Gate Highlands national park, the Khoisan (Bushman/Hottentot tribe) were the area’s original occupants. There is no doubt that they resided beneath the numerous overhangs that provided good cover.
During the first decade of the nineteenth century, the bushman were driven out of the area by the advent of the Basotho and Europeans. The first European immigrants occupied the region joining Golden Gate in the 1830s. Many Voortrekkers traversed this region while it was still wild and undeveloped.
On the afternoon of September 23, 1837, a group of Voortrekkers led by Piet Retief arrived at the well-known Liebenberg’s Kloof. Commandant Conrad Meyer and several of his soldiers sought Retief’s permission to shoot game in the small passes that separate Golden Gate and the surrounding region since they planned to stay for six days.
The devastation of the Anglo-Boer wars did not spare Golden Gate. During the Second Anglo-Boer War, everything was destroyed. 50,000 British forces stormed Bethlehem, driving the Boers back into the Rooiberge. When the British captured the Southern passes, the main Boer army fled in the direction of Golden Gate. General Prinsloo was finally defeated and surrendered.
The government purchased Golden Gate Highlands national park and turned it up to the National Parks Board in 1962. The park was established in 1963 with 4,792 hectors and was expanded to 6,241 hectors in 1981. The park was expanded to its current size of 11,630 ha in 1983, and it borders Qwa Qwa National Park and Lesotho.
Attractions in Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
When you eventually do get the much-needed vacation, odds are you’ll want to travel somewhere that will inspire you. The Golden Gate Highlands National Park, located at the foot of Lesotho’s Maluti Mountains, will truly leave you high on inspiration with boundless vistas, viewing South Africa’s immense grandeur.
The Golden Gate Highlands National Park in South Africa, loved for its unusual scenery and renowned for its golden aura as the sun lights up the sandstone cliffs and outcrops, is central to Johannesburg, Durban, and Bloemfontein, making it the ideal escape if you long to stretch your legs, breathe fresh mountain air, and let nature lift up your soul.
Because this is a national park, there will be plenty of animals to see. Black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribis, springbok, and Bruchell’s zebra graze in the green meadows, while rare bearded vultures circle the sky above the forgotten paths of the San hunter-gatherers who once lived in the park’s caves.
If you really want to experience a raw combination of South African culture and magnificent nature, you must go to the Basotho Cultural Village in the Free State province. The Basotho Cultural Hamlet in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park is a distinctively South African cultural village where tourists may enjoy real hospitality and learn about the Basotho people’s traditional arts, crafts, and ways of life.
Activities Offered in Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
An educational programme aiming at raising cultural heritage awareness by retracing the steps of the first residents by visiting Qwa Qwa’s historical places. This guided tour is available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. It has a running time of seven hours. The cost is R60 per person for South Africans and R80 for overseas tourists.
Hiking through the Herbal Trail.
Walk a forest route with the village’s traditional healer, who will explain all of the therapeutic herbs along the way. The trip will then be led by a guide to the caverns to observe San rock art. This guided tour is only available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. It lasts for two hours. The cost is R60 per person for South Africans and R80 for overseas tourists.
Birders will like Golden Gate Highlands National Park as well. It is a well-known sanctuary for the uncommon bearded vulture, and it is designated as an Important Bird Area with 220 documented species (a fascinating bird of prey that subsists almost exclusively on bone marrow). These vultures may be easily viewed and photographed at the park’s Vulture Restaurant, an open area where cattle corpses are left for the birds to eat. Other important raptor species include the critically endangered Cape vulture, Verreaux’s eagle, booted eagle, and martial eagle.
A representation of the Basotho people’s architecture and way of life from the 16th century to the present. This 45-minute trip is available seven days a week. The cost is R60 per person for South Africans and R80 for overseas tourists.
Where to stay in Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
Golden Gate Highlands National Park has a variety of accommodation facilities such as; Golden Gate Hotel & Chalets, Glen Reenen Rest Camp, Highlands Mountain Retreat, Basotho Cultural Village Rest Camp, Noordt Brabant Guest House and many more.
How to get to Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
Golden Gate Highlands National Park is about equidistant between three of South Africa’s most populous cities; Johannesburg, Bloemfontein which are both 3 hours and 15 minutes away, and Durban which is 3 hours and 45 minutes away. Book an international or domestic flight into O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Bram Fischer International Airport in Bloemfontein, or King Shaka International Airport in Durban if you’re travelling into the region. You may rent a car in any of the three cities and drive the entire length of the paved road to the park. The majority of people select this option since the park has roads that allow you to go on self-guided excursions once you arrive.