Not only does the rural Free State offer some spectacular scenery and home-from-home hospitality, but there are numerous surprises for birders. Close to 470 bird species have been recorded in the Free State, including more than 100 southern African endemics and near-endemics. Conservation areas such as Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Willem Pretorius Game Reserve, Sandveld Nature Reserve, Soetdoring Nature Reserve and Tussen-die-Riviere Game Reserve scattered throughout the province offer excellent birding opportunities. Good birding is also possible along many of the roads in rural areas.
The birding potential of many parts of the Free State still remains to be discovered. However, certain rural areas such as those surrounding the small hamlet of Memel near the north-eastern escarpment have already established a reputation as outstanding birding and tourism venues. For those wanting to experience some of South Africa’s spectacular birdlife; don’t just pass through the Free State as quickly as possible, but take some time to travel the back roads and discover what this diverse area really has to offer.