The town of Bothaville hosts one of the largest agricultural festivals in the world, NAMPO, every year during May. Attendance of the 2011 festival set a new record of 73 552 people over the four-day period. The town is also the head office of Maize South Africa.
The longest bridge in South Africa is the D.H Steyn bridge at 2 993 meter on the outskirts of the town Bethulie in the Xhariep district.
Centre point of SA
Emmaus, the centre point of South Africa, is located 20 km from the town of Petrusburg in the Xhariep district.
The annual Cherry Festival held in Ficksburg (Setsoto Local Municipality) is the oldest crop festival in South Africa. A little known fact is that all of South Africa’s glazed cherries are produced in Ficksburg. The 45th anniversary of this festival will be celebrated in 2012.
Commercial Plane Crash
Spitzkop, a koppie near Memel, was the site of South Africa’s first commercial plane crash. On 15 May 1948 a Skyliner (a version of the well known DC3) belonging to Mercury Airways, crashed into Spitzkop, killing all 13 people on board. The crash was, at the time, regarded as South Africa’s biggest air disaster.
The largest dam in South Africa is the Gariep Dam in the Xhariep district.
The world’s oldest dinosaur eggs, 200 million-year-old prosauropod dinosaur embryos, were found in the Golden Gate National Park in the Thabo Mofutsanyane district in 1978.
Fauresmith is the only town in South Africa, and one of only three in the world, where the railway line runs down the centre of the main road.
The largest grain silo’s in the world is found at Wesselsbron.
Founded in 1870, Jagersfontein (Xhariep district) is the world’s oldest diamond mining town and the first place where diamonds were discovered in its mother stone or blue ground, or as it’s now known, Kimberlite. Of the ten biggest diamonds ever found, two came from the Jagersfontein mine.
Highest town above sea level
Petrus Steyn is the Free State town highest above sea level at 1702 meters.
The largest indoor arena in the southern hemisphere is in Parys. The Parys Indoor Arena is a first in South Africa and includes a sand warm-up arena in the Shute and a grass arena for flat work and lunging. The SA Boerboel championships, horse shows and cattle shows are regularly hosted at the arena. There are approximately 460 indoor stables, private boxes for spectators and it has its own restaurant and bar.
Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area
The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area is a trans-boundary initiative in Lesotho and South Africa. It includes a conservation area and World Heritage Site, which was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in December 2000. The conserved areas include the Ukhahlamba World Heritage Site, Golden Gate National Park, QwaQwa National Park, Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve, and conserved areas within Lesotho.
Olive Tree Forest
The largest wild olive tree forest in South Africa is located at 20 km outside Parys near Venterskroon
The 1914 Rebellion started in Memel three and a half years after the establishment of the Union of South Africa. In 1914, when war broke out between Britain and Germany, the South African government’s announcement that its indeed to invade German South West Africa (today’s Namibia), fighting broke out between former Generals of the Anglo-Boer War and government forces.
The Maloti Route is the longest signed tourism route in South Africa. It starts in Harrismith and proceeds through the Free State to the Orange River after which it crosses the Eastern Cape to the N2 on the Wild Coast. It also includes Lesotho from the north to the south. In the Free State it passes through Ladybrand, Hobhouse, Wepener, Vanstadensrus and Zastron on the R26 Route.
The Vredefort Structure in the Vredefort/Parys area has been declared South Africa’s 7th International World Heritage Site and is recognized worldwide as the oldest and biggest meteorite impact site.