Kilometres and kilometres of maize fields, their yellowed cobs winking at us from afar and interspersed with fields of sunflowers: this is the gold grown on the land of the Northern Free State. This region produces the major portion of the country’s maize crop and a section of it is also referred to as the Maize Triangle, to indicate where most of the maize is grown. With an abundance of water and the presence of such diverse features as hilly grasslands, rugged mountains, fertile highveld plains, the region can truly be said to have it all. In addition to the maize and sunflowers, wheat, sorghum, cattle, sheep and dairy farming is also practised here.

In the extreme north, in a valley lined with willow trees, lie the mighty Vaal River, supplier of “liquid life” to the area, the 300 square km Vaal Dam and the Vaal Dam Nature Reserve. Both are prime holiday destinations ideal for adventure activities such as white-water rafting, canoeing, boating and angling. In fact, the Vaal Dam is regarded as one of the ten best flat-water canoeing, water skiing and boardsailing venues in South Africa.

The presence of the Vredefort Dome, a unique geological formation resulting from a meteorite crashing into Earth some 2 000 million years ago, is another bonus for adventurers and anyone who enjoys a taste of the unique and unusual. Inside the Dome area, some 200 km wide, several adventure opportunities exist and there are plant and insect species that are found nowhere else on earth.

Also found in the Northern Free State is Sasolburg, the home of SASOL, a world player in the petro-chemical industry.