For many of us, the Free State is merely the province we drive through to get from Gauteng to the Western Cape, and vice versa. However, this landlocked province boasts huge plains of open farmland, wide skies, majestic mountain ranges and quaint villages ─ making it well worth a visit during a peaceful winter getaway.

TravelGround made a list of picturesque stays in the Free State that will make you forget all about those lingering mid-year winter blues and tiring commute to work that’s getting the better of you!

Golden View Luxury Self Catering


This unique self-catering apartment in the so-called jewel of the Free State, Clarens, boasts eclectic interior and views that will leave you in awe. It’s the ideal stopover for people making their way to Lesotho. Golden View Luxury Self Catering offers amazing accommodation for couples looking for a romantic getaway, or groups of friends or families that are dying for an escape away from the stressful city life. Every unit has a lovely patio with breathtaking views ─ the perfect spot to sip your first steamy cup of coffee. Guests can enjoy activities such as horse-riding, visiting the quaint art galleries in Clarens, fishing, cycling, wine tasting, guided walking tours and mountain biking. How does that sound for taking your mind off the cold?

Facilities: Braai area, free WiFi, pets by arrangement, and secure parking.
Units: Rustic Red Studio (sleeps 2), Contain the View Cottage (sleeps 4) and Willow Rest House (sleeps 8).

Little Rock Resort


Nestled at the foot of the Platberg Mountain Range in Ladybrand, you’ll struggle to find a more beautiful and peaceful getaway. Little Rock Resort is situated between trees and boulders, offering views to die for, merely a 20-minute drive from Lesotho on the Maloti Route. This accommodation offers self-catering chalets, various picturesque hiking trails, birdwatching, a restaurant on the premises and even a play park for the kids ─ so parents, no need to worry about the youngsters being bored! It’s the ideal place for the family to take a mid-year break and to gain renewed energy for the second half of the year that lies ahead.

Facilities: Braai facilities, swimming pool, and restaurant on the premises.
Units: 2- to 6-sleeper units and Willow Cottage (sleeps 2).

Birch Cottage Clarens


If you’re looking for a getaway to unwind, but not too far away from restaurants and shops, then Birch Cottage Clarens might be the ultimate place for you. This timeless self-catering accommodation is located at the foot of Mount Horeb in Clarens and offers unbelievable mountain views and a patio where you can enjoy a lovely meal while marvelling at the beautiful surroundings. You can change up the tranquility of this accommodation with various activities such as hiking, abseilling, white-water rafting, fishing and visiting Clarens Golf Estate and Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The beautiful town of Clarens promises to offer the best of both worlds!

Facilities: Braai area, covered parking, and personal safe.
Units: Bedroom 1 and 2 (sleeps 2 each).

 Liedjiesbos B&B


Who said the city can only be stressful and tiring? At Liedjiesbos B&B in Bloemfontein, you can experience a true ‘touch of plaas’ combined with the contemporary and Free State hospitality in the middle of the city ─ ideal for those who prefer not to be too far from modern facilities and activities. If you love attention to detail and eccentric interior, this place is the perfect choice with its blend of African, Egyptian, Chinese and Vietnamese influenced décor. This establishment also focuses on being organic by only planting indigenous plants hoping to attract birds, insects and other small animals, and as such creating a natural environment in the city. Liedjiesbos B&B used barns which are now renovated to have modern architectural finishes that use the least possible energy for heating and cooling of the buildings. You can therefore experience it all: Tranquility in the city with natural surroundings, while also supporting an environment-friendly establishment!

Facilities: Free WiFi, secure parking, braai area, airport transport, laundry services, and personal safe.
Rooms: En-suite room (sleeps 2), Room – open-plan bath, shower and toilet (sleeps 2) and Executive room – En-suite (sleeps 2).

Stoneridge Guesthouse

Gariep Dam

Nothing is better than a Karoo sunset with the sounds of nature around you and the vast plains of the Bo-Karoo landscape in front of you ─ this is what the comfortable Stoneridge Guesthouse in the hills of the Gariep Dam offers. If you’re planning a long trip through the inlands of our beautiful country, this accommodation is the superb stopover for worn-out travellers or anyone craving some peace for their soul. Stoneridge Guesthouse boasts fantastic four-poster beds straight from heaven, rustic décor, modern bathrooms and a lovely fireplace that will make you want to stay longer. You can even bring your four-legged friends along by prior arrangement to make you feel more at home!

Facilities: Swimming pool, secure parking, fireplace, patio with a view, babysitting by arrangement, laundry service, pets by arrangement, and guest lounge.
Rooms: 4 Double rooms with en-suite bathrooms (sleeps 2 each) and Family room (sleeps 4).

Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge

Northern Drakensberg

Are you seeking an adventure-filled winter break with family or friends? Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge might just be what you’re looking for ─ a lodge in the Drakensberg ideally suited for hikers, climbers and adventurous souls. Go mountain biking with the family through the majestic, Drakensberg Mountains, try your hand at fishing, or enjoy a chilled wine tasting with your friends while admiring the beauty of this area. This lodge is the highest in the Northern Drakensberg and consists of eight newly refurbished, modern chalets with floor-to-ceiling windows that boast spectacular views, as well as older bungalows. Birdwatchers will also be happy to hear that the area is home to the threatened bearded vulture! During winter this area and mountain tops are known to be covered in snow frequently, making Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge a fairytale winter getaway destination with picturesque landscapes all around.

Facilities: Conferencing facilities, bar, guest lounge, restaurant on premises and satellite TV.
Units: Bungalow (sleeps 2), Bungalow Large (sleeps 2), Chalet (sleeps 2) and Hikers Cabin (sleeps 2).



Planning a getaway with a big group of friends can be fun, but it’s not always ideal in terms of privacy. Granaat is the perfect option for a group of friends that also need some space from time to time, seeing as this beautiful house consists of three separate units that are linked with a lovely verandah. Situated at the foothill of the spectacular Maluti and Rooiberg Mountains in Clarens, you won’t ever get tired of the delightful views surrounding the house. The rooms boast modern décor, with rustic finishes, providing the house with its unique character. If you and your friends are tired city dwellers hoping to find some peace and quality time together, Granaat has what it takes to fulfill these needs!

Facilities: Braai area, free WiFi, pets by arrangement, laundry and cleaning services.
Rooms: Grey Room (sleeps 2), Red Room (sleeps 3) and Granaat Main House (sleeps 4).

Mafube Mountain Retreat


Tucked away in the semi-circle of red and yellowstone mountains between Clarens and Fouriesburg in the Highlands of the Eastern Free State, this self-catering retreat is nothing but a nature lover’s paradise. The serenity and unforgettable views Mafube Mountain Retreat offers are priceless, and it promises to make you forget about all of your worries back home. Go on hikes, follow the scenic mountain paths and explore the waterfalls, pools and caves in the area. And if you’re keen for some relaxation, you can merely sit in front of the lovely fireplace in the lounge with your favourite book and a glass of red wine ─ talk about a dream winter getaway!

Facilities: Communal lapa, table tennis, swimming pool, play area for the kids, and braai area.
Units: Garden Unit (sleeps 4), Rondawel (sleeps 5) and Contemporary Chalet (sleeps 6).

So, if you feel those winter blues starting to creep up on you, the Free State has what it takes to set you free from your mid-year exhaustion. Don’t wait for winter to be over to book your next getaway ─ exchange being stuck in traffic in the rain for the tranquility and beauty of this charming province!

Feature image: BigStock