Willem Pretorius Game Reserve
The premiere destination of the Northern Free State is the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve. This 12 000 hectare game reserve lives in the northern part of the Free State Province and is one of the most impressive reserves in the country. It is home to a large number of bird and game species and, even better, lies outside the malaria area.
The centre of the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve is the Allemanskraal Dam that is fed by the Sand River. The river serves as a natural border that splits the reserve into the two distinct northern and southern habitats. The two areas are different in both appearance and the animals that can be seen there.
The northern half of the park is mostly rocky ridges with a rich growth of bushveld, like the rest of the park. The animals most often seen in this part are eland, kudu and the endangered white rhinoceros. The main attraction of the northern part of the park, however, is the Doringberg.
|A true African sunset after a long day of game viewing
Doringberg is large hill in the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve that is the site of an impressive archaeological area. The area has been declared a national monument and visitors are welcome to visit the area. It is the site of a well-preserved Leghoya ruin and much of the original site has been restored to its former glory. The Leghoya were one of the first people in the region and the settlement on Doringberg is thought to be one of their oldest settlements.
The southern part of the reserve is undulating grasslands with thick clumps of trees and bush. This area is home to one of the largest black wildebeest herds in Africa. Other animals frequently seen are springbok, gemsbok, blesbok, kudu, eland, zebra, white rhinoceros, giraffes and many more. The park is too small to allow for any large predators, such as lions or leopard, to make their home here, but caracal and black-backed jackals are common sights.
The Willem Pretorius Game Reserve has an extensive road network making for excellent game viewing. The park also offers some accommodation for visitors. There are ten fully furnished chalets available, as well as caravan and camping grounds with furnished ablution blocks. For the truly adventurous there is also the bush camp, that gives visitors the opportunity to get as close to nature as possible.
The park offers boat tours on the river and dam and, in certain parts of the park, fishing is allowed. Other facilities include a swimming pool, picnic grounds, walking trails and sports facilities.
It is not hard to see why the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve is one of the Free State’s favourite destinations. The reserve’s two distinct regions allow for a variety of African bush experiences as well as the chance to see many of Africa’s more majestic game. Open throughout the year, the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve is a must see destination when visiting the Free State Province.
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