Soutpan, Lejweleputswa

Sprawling, flat, green expanses that meet the clear blue of the African sky characterise the area of Soutpan and its surrounds. This little town’s name translates to “salt pan” and is testimony to the pans that are scattered throughout its borders. For many years, this was a prime destination for the production of salt for South Africa.

Situated in the Free State Province, Soutpan is home to many cattle and game farms, which lends the entire area a serene loveliness that is quite enchanting to visitors from around the world. Its main attractions are the hot springs and the Soetdoring Dam Nature Reserve. This reserve is popular for picnicking, fishing and game viewing, and has an array of bird species that are simply stunning to watch. In fact, there are around 290 bird species to be found here, and no fewer than three different ecosystems, which give the reserve a very special natural and aesthetic advantage.

Soutpan is also an important site for archaeologists, as it is the spot at which many fossils, including the Florisbad Man, were discovered. The latter refers to a hominid skull that has been estimated to be some 260 000 years old, and is an important part of local science and anthropology.

This little mining town is less than 50 kilometres from Bloemfontein, which offers a host of tourist attractions – ranging from museums and galleries to boutiques, game reserves and adventure sports.

Soutpan is a quiet, relatively secluded spot in which to enjoy some uninterrupted TLC and a well-deserved break. But, thanks to its close proximity to a big city like Bloem, it is also a great place to stay for visitors that want to see and experience South Africa.

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