Springfontein at a glance
The Free State is situated in the centre of the country, bordered north and south by the Vaal and Orange Rivers and on the west by Lesotho.
The capital is Bloemfontein, an important education and judicial centre which, as the country's most central city, is the meeting place of major north-south routes, including the N1 from Johannesburg to Cape Town, which slices diagonally through the centre of the Free State. South Africaï¿½s highest courts, the Appellate Division and the Constitutional Court, are both situated in Bloemfontein.
Welkom is the mining hub of the province. The extensive Free State gold fields comprise the southern part of the same reef that is mined on the Witwatersrand. Coal is also mined.
Other important towns include Virginia, Kroonstad, Parys and Bethlehem.
The summer rainfall is sparse, especially in the west and south. The province has hot summers and cold winters.
Except for the lovely mountainous Eastern Highlands area, the Free State landscape is flat, a mixture of grazing land and extensive fields. Maize, sunflowers, soya, sorghum and wheat are cultivated, with cherries and asparagus in the Ficksburg area in the east.