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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 restcamp.
This 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra - and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare 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.
How to get there
Approach from the N 5, turn off at Betlehem or Hazyview. 320 km from Johannesburg, 390 km from Durban and 305 km from Bloemfontein. Roads in the park are tarred.
The reception office is open from 07:00 to 17:30.
Visitors with reserved accommodation who arrive after 17:30 may collect the keys to their accommodation at the security office,
Glen Reenen Filling Station.
- Hotel rooms with two single beds, one or two double beds, bathroom (shower or bath), telephone and TV.
- The bridal suite has a bedroom, bathroom, lounge and bar with a small refrigerator.
- Cottages/chalets have an equipped kitchenette with a two-plate stove and refrigerator, TV, carport and barbecue facilities.
Glen Reenen Restcamp
- Rondavels with either one double and two single beds or two single and one stack bed, bathroom (shower) and kitchen with basic equipment.
- Noord-Brabant Farmhouse – rustic converted farmhouse - 1 double bed, 1 sleeper couch, 3 single beds, kitchen and bathroom.
- Caravan and camping sites in beautiful shaded grounds at Glen Reenen.
- Barbecue facilities, scullery and communal ablutions.
- Power points in ablution block and some camp sites.
- A maximum of 6 persons, one caravan/tent and one vehicle or one autovilla permitted per site.
- Rhebok Hiking Trail (2 days and 1 night): maximum of 18 persons per group. Advance booking essential. Hikers provide all own necessities.
- Short nature trails (varying from 1 hour to 5 hours): no bookings required.
- Game viewing at leisure in own vehicle.
- Guided excursions, night drives, video shows and lectures during school holiday periods. Enquire at reception.
- Environmental education courses (varying from 1 to 5 days).
- Bowls, tennis, table tennis and snooker. (at the hotel)
- Horse-riding - book at +27 (0)58 225 0951.
- Swimming in natural pool at Glen Reenen.
- Abseiling and canoeing available for people using Wilgenhof Environmental Education Centre
- Cosy pub with log fire. (at the hotel)
- Picnic site for day visitors has ablution and barbecue facilities.
- Glen Reenen general dealer and fuel station, Brandwag curio shop, licensed restaurant, coffee shop and ladies' bar. Enquire at reception.
- Catering for conferences, weddings and other functions at Brandwag Hotel
Mild highveld summers with the possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoon and cold winters with occasional snow transforming the park into a white wonderland.