Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. 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. The unique 11 600 hectares park is pure highland grassland habitat home to a variety of mammals such as black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra. Prolific grassland and montane bird species can be found here including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the bald ibis which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs. Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge with the cool mountain shadows towards evening. The vistas and geographic formations in the park make for a photographer's delight!

Facts & Figures

Park / Reserve Size: 11600
Reserve Type: National Park
Big 5: No
Specialist Specie: Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier)
Malaria Area: No
Nearest Town: Clarens

Accommodation in Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Basotho Cultural Village Rest Camp, Golden Gate

"The Free State landscape gladdens my heart, no matter what my mood. When I am here I feel that nothing can shut me in, that my thoughts can roam as far as the horizons.” - former President Nelson Mandela wrote in his autobiography. It is here where Basotho Cultural Village Rest Camp nestles on the eastern side of the Golden…

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Accomodation Type: Self-catering
Budget: Less than $150 p.p.p.d.

Glen Reenen Rest Camp, Golden Gate

Situated near the entrance to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, the Glen Reenen Rest Camp lies in the shadow of the Maluti Mountain Range in the north eastern Free State of South Africa. Exuding the famous golden glow from which the park gets its name, the imposing Brandwag overhang stands guard over the camp. The camp consits of rondavels,…

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Accomodation Type: Self-catering
Budget: Less than $150 p.p.p.d.

Golden Gate Hotel and Chalets

Formerly known as Brandwag Hotel, this luxury accommodation has always been synonymous with Golden Gate. A wide spectrum of services and facilities has always been offered, which stretched out onto the 34 adjacent fully-equipped chalets. Although the hotel has undergone minor renovations over the years, a point was reached where a major upgrade was necessary. Visitors to the newly improved…

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Accomodation Type: Full Board, Self-catering
Budget: Less than $150 p.p.p.d.
Species list Map Info

Lookout for

Black Wildebeest
Common Duiker
Red Hartebeest

Key Species


Bald Ibis
Verreaux’s Eagle
Cape Vulture
Jackal Buzzard
Drakenberg Siskin

Leopard Tortoise



Wildlife Ratings

Big 5: 1
Mammals: 6
Birds: 7
Reptiles: 7
Trees: 5
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