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Willem Pretorius Game Reserve, Free State

The 12 000ha Willem Pretorius Game Reserve between Winburg and Ventersburg in the Central Free State is well-known for its diverse variety of game and bird species, the largest herd of black wildebeest in Africa and for the rich contrasting South and North Free State habitats on each side of the central Allemanskraal Dam.

The long grasslands of the South support great herds of plains species and black-backed jackal, and the rocky, tree-rich north provides a lush habitat for baboons, smaller antelope species, birds and caracal – to name but a few of the species that thrive on a diversity of flora within the two biomes.

The Reserve is an excellent place for bird-watching with over 220 species of birds documented within the Reserves perimeters, including the Fish Eagle, Martial Eagle a large numbers of water-birds, and myriad species that depend on the many types of tree that flourish in the fertile ravines of the north and in the green, well-watered grasslands.

The Reserve is supported by family-friendly Resort facilities at the Aldam Resort offering many other activities besides game drives. A large educational centre set up by the South African Directorate of Environmental and Nature Conservation complements both the Reserve and facilities provided for children, and the large Allemanskraal Dam is great for angling and canoeing (bring your own canoes). There is also a swimming pool and a tennis court (again – bring your own rackets), and chalets overlooking the dam.

An interesting draw-card in the Willem Pretorius Reserve is the preserved ruins and artefacts of an old Leghoya (Ghoya) settlement. The Leghoya people of Southern Africa disappeared around the end of the 18th century after being conquered by the Ndbele tribe and then absorbed by the Taung Tswana people. These ruins are notable for being intact and a unique testament to unique culture.

Accommodation ranges from camping to chalets and caravan facilities at the Allemanskraal Dam and Resort, as well as a bush camp with ablutions and basic kitchen facilities that can accommodate up to 16 people.

For more information and to book: Tel. (057) 651 4168, or the Aldam Resort website.

Getting there: Take the N1 North from Bloemfontein toward Ventersburg. 35km past the turn off to Winburg and shortly before Ventersburg, turn right at the sign. The entrance to the Reserve and the Aldam Resort is located about 10km along the road.

More info on the quaint town of Winburg More info on the GoldFields area

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