Sandveld Nature Reserve
The 37, 000 hectare (91, 000 acre) Sandveld Nature Reserve is a spectacular government reserve located along the edge of the Bloemhof Dam, around 200km from Bloemfontein. The reserve is one of the top birding locations in all of South Africa, with over 295 species of birds having been recorded here. The reserve also hosts an abundance of wildlife, including rare Sable and Roan antelope. If you are after a unique wildlife experience this is the reserve for you. Your choices of trophies is only matched by the abundance of wildlife.
The reserve boats a plethora of habitats including Kalahari thornveld, Karoo scrub, Sweet-thorn savannah, open water and the dams sandy shoreline which results in a great variety of thriving species.
Larger mammals in the reserve include white Rhino, Giraffe, Eland, Roan and Sable Antelope, Gemsbok, Kudu, red Hartebeest, black and blue Wildebeest, burchell’s Zebra, Impala, Springbok, grey Duiker, Steenbok and black-backed jackal. Aardwolf may also be seen. Yellow Mongoose, slender Mongoose and Springhare are common, while water Mongoose is rarely seen. Among the many 295 species that occur here, you should look out for crimson-breasted Shrikes, Fish eagle, Martial eagle, White-backed vultures, sociable weavers, Waxbills, Lapwings, Gabar Goshhawks, Cuckoos, Larks, Southern Pochard, Grey Heron and Goliath Herons.
The area experiences a continental climate, characterised by warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters. In the east of the Free State some of the higher ranges experience frequent snowfall in the winter while the west can experience extremely hot summer days. Almost all the precipitation falls in the summer months as brief afternoon thunderstorms.
Tussen-die-Riviere Nature Reserve
The 22, 000 hectare (54, 363 acre) Tussen-die-Riviere Nature Reserve and Game Park is situated east of the town of Bethulie on the Gariep Dam, between the Caledon and Orange Rivers which flow towards the dam. Large herds of game can be found here, their populations are controlled and supported by commercial hunting culls during the winter months from May to August when the reserve is closed to the general public. The hunting season is from March 1st – November 15th. During this period the reserve is restricted to only hunters making this a hunters dream area. ancient rock art can be found throughout the reserve
You can expect to see Buffalo, Eland, Rhino, Steenbok, Impala, Reedbuck, Gemsbok, Wildebeest, Kudu, Zebra, and Warthog among other species. There are almost 120km of dirt road routes to explore the reserve. Tussen-die-riviere is also a popular birding area and supports populations of water-fowl, Fish Eagles, Black Eagles, the majestic “secretary bird which thrive in the grasslands.
Bethulie Guest Farm
Situated on a working farm near a pacan nut plantation, bethulie Guest farm offers luxury accommodation in Bethulie. The old farm house has been refurbished with modern touches while keeping its old world char. This is a fabulous and incredibly beautiful area to explore.
Willem Pretorius Nature Reserve
At the heart of the reserve is the Allemanskraal Dam, fed by the Sand River which traces a line of demarcation between the contrasting habitats of the northern and southern sections of the reserve. The south consists of grassy flats, ideal for large herds of plains game such as Springbok, Blesbok and Black Wildebeest.
In the north is an area of plains, koppies (small rock hills) and ridges of the Doringberg and Bakkersberg mountains inhabited by Baboon, Mountain Reedbuck, Red Hartebeest, Kudu and Duiker. This well brushed area is also favoured by White Rhino, Buffalo, Giraffe, Gemsbok and Impala – the last three not indigenous to the region but introduced to provide variety for hunters. In the northern part of the reserve there are ruins of stone buildings that date back to prehistoric Sotho occupation, and one such site settlement on the Bakkersberg mountain has been restored and proclaimed a national monument.
Comfortable accommodation on a 430 hectare farm. The lodge is built on top of a cliff overlooking a small river between the valleys and offers delightful views and game viewing from the deck.
Private Hunting Farms
Hunting is available on private properly owned game ranches all over South Africa in the Free State, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Limpopo, North West, and the Northern Cape. South Africa is one of the most sought-after destinations for trophy hunters, and rightfully so. More importantly, South Africa offers a selection of trophy animals which is second to none in the world. Accommodation ranges from traditional stone wall thatched lodges, tented safari camps, beautiful guest houses and luxury hotels.