Parys is situated along the banks of the famous Vaal River and in close proximity of one of the longest National roads, the N1 with its toll gate, Vaal Toll Plaza. It is a gate way to both North West and Gauteng provinces. The town was established in 1876 by the Van Coller brothers on Klipspruit Farm and was named by its surveyor, Schilbach, who was reminded of the French town of Paris, which was similarly situated along the banks of the river Seine. The traditional economic sector has predominantly been agricultural in nature with the following produce on offer; corn, tobacco, sorghum and livestock such as cattle and sheep. The tourism sector has gained increasing potential for the town and surrounding areas.
Situated on the R34, Edenville forms part of the Free State Maize Route. The town was proclaimed on 29 October 1912. Like many other Free State towns, Edenville was established to serve a growing farming community. The vast, fertile plains and mild climate provide the town with all it needs to yield a bountiful crop of golden maize. There are also numerous game farms in the area that contribute increasingly to the town’s economic potential.
Heilbron is rich in history and is located in what is known as the Riemland. The town was declared as town on 6 May 1873. It played a big role during the Anglo-Boer war and it was also here that the British started the building of a Blockhouse kraal to try and catch General de Wet and President Steyn. The town bears a big influence from the Jewish people who lived and traded here around the turn of the century. Others who played a significant role here were the Greek, German and Portuguese communities. On 27 November 1880 the cornerstone of the historic sandstone church was laid and on 26 June 1885 it was completed. President Brand laid the cornerstone of the Methodist Church on 28 October 1882. The town is supported by industries such as Clover SA and agriculture yields dairy products, maize, sorghum, wheat, sunflowers, beef and mutton. Also in the area is the Riemland wine route with several wine cellars where wine tasting and other activities can be undertaken.
The town of Koppies lies 55 km north of Kroonstad, just off the N1 between Kroonstad and Sasolburg. The nature reserve is 16 km east of town. The town is located at 1400 m above sea level. In 1904, General CR de Wet, in his capacity as Minister of Agriculture, established an irrigation settlement on the banks of the Renoster River for farmers who were left destitute after the Anglo Boer War. The Kopjes Dam was built in 1912. Emily Hobhouse introduced and promoted the Home Industry concept here and played an important role in the construction of Koppies.
Koppies is located in an area of agricultural significance and mainly provides services in this regard to the surrounding rural areas. The three well-established and developed irrigation schemes subsequently enhance the agricultural character of the area and provide water resources to the De Beers mine development initiative. The Ocean Bentonite Mine near Koppies in the north-west Free State is one of only two in the country. Bentonite is a clay that has a wide variety of uses, including the sealing of dams, wine processing, the making of cat litter and catalysis.
Located only 15 km south of Parys is the small northern Free State town of Vredefort, known throughout the world for the Vredefort Dome. The town was established in 1876 on a farm called Visgat, on the Vredefort crater, the largest and oldest visible bolide impact crater in the world (with a diameter of 300km). The town got its name after the peaceful conclusion of a threatened war between the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. It is an essentially small farming town with the following produce on offer: cattle, peanuts, sorghum, sunflower and maize.