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Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Golden Gate Highlands National Park



+27 (0) 58 255 1000



Poaching Hotline:

+27 (0) 800 205 005


Size:  34,000 ha / 340 km2

Nearest major city:  Bloemfontein (3h20 approx by car)

Species Numbers:  57 Mammals        262 Birds        27 Reptiles

Big Five:  No


  • - Malaria-free
  • - Spectacular scenery
  • - Excellent birding destination
  • - Good hiking trails with no risk from potentially dangerous game

South Africa’s highest national park, Golden Gate Highlands National Park is perched on top of the great escarpment, between 1892 and 2829 metres above sea level, and forms the geographical border between the highveld of South Africa and the valleys and hills of the eastern parts of the country.

The huge sandstone cliffs which line both sides of the public R712 road make this park famous among sightseers, and give the park its name: the red tinge of the rock gives off a brilliant golden tone, especially at sunset. Visitors to the upgraded hotel can sit in the lounges or lie in bed and gaze at Brandwag, the most famous of the sandstone cliffs, while just up the road is the site of one of the most famous and important fossil finds in the world; in 1978, researchers came across fossilized Triassic dinosaur eggs, one of which was in the process of hatching.

Extensive grasslands in this park make it one of the most important protected areas in the country; elsewhere this biome has been vastly reduced by agriculture and urban sprawl. The low nutritional value of the grasses in winter time means there is not a lot of wildlife, with no Big 5 animals, but what the park lacks in fauna, it makes up for in scenery.