November 19, 2015 at 9:48 am

Golden Gate Highlands National Park

The Golden gate Highlands National Park is situated in the North Eastern part of the Free State Province and holds an area of 32 690 hectares. The name of this park derives its name from the shades of gold cast by the sun on the massive sandstones cliffs and Brandwag rock. The park lies in the foothills of the Maloti Mountains in the Rooiberg range and is mainly famed for is scenic beauty, wilderness, spiritual freedom and its golden orange aspect of deeply eroded sandstone cliffs, outcrops, caves and display of rock paintings. If you would like to plan an african safari to the park, we recommend you use African Safari Home.

Fauna & Flora:

The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is home to a large diversity of flora and fauna. The flora of this Park include the sixty species of grasses and a large variety of bulbs and herbs as well as Afromontane forests with high-altitude Austro-Apline grassland which is scarce in South Africa. A further 117 species of tree make this park home as well as the newly introduced species such as the Lombardi Poplars and Willows.

Wildlife at the Park includes twelve species of mice, ten species of carnivores and ten species of antelope that roam the vast hilly landscapes. The park also reintroduced the sungazer lizard as well as the water mongoose. Animals that can be sighted include the eland, mountain reedbuck, wildebeest, blesbok, the African Springbok and more that visitors are able to encounter.Bird enthusiasts can encounter over 210 species of birds that the park hosts which include the bearded vulture, secretary bird, blue crane, Verreuux’s eagle and many more that can be sighted amongst this spectacular wilderness destination. Seven snake species have also been recorded at the park which consists of the well known puff adder, mountain adder, Rinkhals as well as an abundance of wildlife creatures found at the park.

Fauna & Flora

Geology & Palaeontology:

The Golden Gate Highlands National Park has a rich cultural history and large diversity of the Stone Age people, San, Basotho and European settlers. The park holds some of the greatest geomorphology, palaeontology and geological history with findings of fossils in the park. This park also forms part of South Africa’s most important water catchment areas, namely the Maloto Drakensberg Catchment Complex. The park forms the watershed between the Vaal and Orange River systems, supplying a large quantity of Quality water via Lasotho-Highlands water and Tugela-Vaal transfer scheme to Gauteng and the Orange River system.


The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is situated in the Southern hemisphere where winter falls during the months of May through to September and summer months during the months of October through to April. The wet season of this beautiful park is during the summer months and the dry season occurs in the winter months. The park encounters its coldest temperatures in the winter months with temperatures ranging between 1 degree and an average 16 degrees. During summer months at Golden Gate, temperatures range between 7 degrees and 22 degrees on average. Ultimately the best time to visit this beauteous park is during the course of the summer wet seasons where the vegetation is green and the spectacular scenery gives a true sense of nature’s unique and exquisite features.


At Golden Gate Highlands National Park visitors are able to explore a whole new world with Africa’s great history of Stone Age people, San, Basotho and Ancient European settlers. Visitors also have the opportunity to visit the Museum known as The Basotho Cultural Village where visitors can learn about the culture, tradition and history that lies behind the park as well as the Ancient Cathedral Cave. Visitors to the park can also participate in environmental education courses to learn about surrounding areas. Other activities that are hosted by the great big scenic park include the visits to Zuluhoek lookout point as well as Generaalskop viewpoint, Drakensberg view and the Oribi Basin. Other outdoor activities include hiking, horseback riding, game viewing in the comfort of vehicles, swimming, bowls, waterslides and viewings of some of the greatest Bushmen paintings.



The Golden Gate Highlands National Park hosts a variety of accommodation facilities for your perfect wilderness adventure amongst the most beautiful, tranquil and spontaneous scenery. This park offers accommodation which includes the Glen Reenen Rest camp with a camp site as well as Rondawels to accommodation your every need. The Highlands Mountain Retreat gives visitors the opportunity to stay in log cottages to accommodate for both couples and family groups. Basotho Cultural Village Rest Camp gives visitors African style Rondawels as guests are immersed to the culture of the park and its history. Luxury accommodation includes the Golden Gate Hotel and Basotho Cultural Village Rest Camp.

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