The Free State Province is a province of wide horizons, blue skies and diverse cultures. Many of the towns display a mix of culture clearly evident in street names, public buildings, monuments and buildings.
The province is divided into five areas:
- The Central Free State (Motheo district) contains the historical and cultural cradle of the province.
- The Eastern Free State (Thabo Mafutsanyane district) with its picturesque mountain ranges provide a backdrop to numerous quaint towns, hide-a- ways and trails meandering through valleys and gorges. This area also contains the sites of the Bushman paintings.
- Further north, the Goldfields (Lejweleputswa district), is an area where the sunflowers set the skies ablaze, while the earth yields its precious yellow metals from the gold mines.
- The Northern Free State (Fezile Dabe district),bounded by the Vaal River in the north, is situated in close proximity to the Gauteng area and offers excellent weekend getaways within tranquil and rural areas.
- The south-western area of the Free State (Xhariep district) epitomises an almost mystical spatial beauty.
The Free State is hot in summer, when most of the rain falls (between 600mm and 750 mm in the east to less than 300 mm in the west), but it can be very cold in winter, with heavy frost over most of the province. Snow is often recorded on the eastern mountains and occasionally over the rest of the region. Average winter temperature is 7 degrees and average summer temperature is 25 degrees.
Regional centres offer well developed infrastructure, reliable low cost telecommunications, easy access to raw materials, an abundant workforce and a superb lifestyle.
Residential property is readily available and open to purchase by foreigners. The towns and cities all feature a diverse variety of good quality housing – at prices that are extremely reasonable compared to world prices.
The province has 40 public hospitals and 447 public clinics located throughout the province. There are in addition 9 private clinics and 12 private hospitals.
The province has two major universities in Bloemfontein (University of the Free State and the Central University of Technology). The University of the Free has two satellite campuses, one located in Qwa Qwa and the other in Welkom. Students in the province are also able to study through the University of South Africa (UNISA) which is a distance learning institution. Public schools are located throughout the province while a number of private schools are located in Bloemfontein.
Cultural and Recreational facilities
The Free State Province offers residents a host of historical, cultural and scenic splendours. (refer to www.explorefreestate.co.za). Nearly all major national retailers are present in the large shopping malls. The province also boasts a myriad of golf courses in all the major centres. All other types of sporting facilities are also available. Bloemfontein has two major sports stadiums and is one of the host cities for the World Confederation Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
There are four major banks in South Africa as well as some smaller ones. All the major banks are located in the province. (ABSA Bank, Standard Bank, Nedbank and First National Bank)
The main languages spoken in the Free State province are Sesotho, Tswana, Afrikaans and English. Sesotho is the mother tongue for 64% of all Africans, while English and Afrikaans are the predominant language amongst the Whites and Coloureds.
There is no prescribed religion and freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Constitution. All the major faiths are represented in the Free State.