Golden Gate National Park
Travel to Golden Gate National Park – An Outdoor Enthusiasts Paradise
Situated in the upper catchment area of the Little Caledon River, the Golden Gate National Park is one of the real highlights of the Free State. Nestling in the rolling foothills of the Maluti mountains in the northern Free Sate Highlands, the Golden Gate National Park offers its visitors spectacular scenery, an invigorating climate and a variety of animals, attractions, entertainment and activities.
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. It was officially founded in 1963.
Golden Gate is currently the only proclaimed National Park that protects the grassland biome which is the most neglected biome from the point of view of conservation. The first inhabitants of this area were the San, judging by the stone tools and rock paintings found at various places throughout Golden Gate. After the arrival of the Basuto and European hunters, farmers and trekkers the Bushmen moved away out of this area.
The Living Museum known as the Basotho Cultural Village and the Cathedral Cave are the park’s major landmarks. However, you can also see here black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok, Burchell’s zebra, antelope, bearded vulture and bald ibis amongst others. For spectacular views of the surrounding area be sure to head to one of the look out points such as Zuluhoek lookout point, Generaalskop viewpoint, the third highest point in the park; Oribi basin and Drakensberg view.
Visitors to the Golden Gate National Park can enjoy hiking, short nature trails, game viewing, absailing and canoeing. Outdoor sport options include tennis, bowls, horse riding and swimming in a mountain pool that comes complete with a natural waterslide. However, there are also cultural activities available with the main one being excursions to see traditional rock art paintings.
Relax by visiting the onsite pub after a long hard days hiking or perhaps make use of the restaurant, picnic and barbecue facilities. There is also a coffee shop, bar and small shop available within the park.
The best way to get around is by foot as it allows you to have a more personal experience and to get closer to nature, however, you can also get around by horse back or canoe.
- Spot wildlife such as wildebeest, eland and springbok.
- Marvel at the beautiful golden coloured cliffs.
- Participate in exhilirating activities such as horse riding and abseiling.