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Golden Gate Highlands National Park

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Golden Gate Highlands National Park is located in the central part of western South Africa.  It is in Free State, South Africa just north of Lesotho. The park covers an area of 130 square miles (340 sq km).

QwaQwa National Park became part of Golden Gate Highlands in 2004 creating one park for the combined larger area.  The park is located in the Maluti Mountains with the Caledon River serving as the southern border of the park.

Ribbokkop is the highest summit in the national park reaching a height of 9,281 feet (2,829 m). The majority of vegetation is comprised of either highveld and montane grasslands. Other vegetation includes Afromontane forest and the ouhout with the latter being the most prevalent.

The park is not known for its wildlife; however, it is there.  Blesbok, eland, reedbuck, oribi, wildebeest, springbok, and zebra take advantage of the grasslands for grazing.  They roam freely in the park which is void of any real predators.

There are over 210 species of birds that either nest or migrate through the park.  Bearded and Cape vultures along with the Verreaux’s eagle are some of the larger species. There are poisonous snakes including the puff adder and the mountain adder that people should watch for as they explore the area.

The park is more renowned for the pristine wilderness and the landscapes created by the beautiful sandstone cliffs and fellow rock outcrops.


The national park is not known for its wildlife, however, that can be an added bonus to those taking in the landscape.  The magnificent rock cropping and astounding sandstone cliffs are the highlights of the landscape.

Golden Gate

The name of the park was generated by the sandstone cliffs that frame the valley.  The sandstone cliffs display and variegated orange and yellow colors across their rock faces that are scattered throughout the park.

Rockcrops blanket the area and combine with the cliffs to create striking panoramic landscapes. Exploration of the landscapes has also led to discoveries of dinosaur remains.  This adds to the historical significance of the terrain.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park Trails

One of the best ways to experience the national park is through scenic drives that traverse the remarkable landscapes with a variety of vistas and panoramic views.  There are hiking trails that allow travelers to engage the splendor of these endless rolling hills blanketed with beautiful sandstone cliffs and rock formations.

Golden Gate Highlands Highlights

  • Sandstone cliffs
  • Rock outcrops

Park Map