TRAVEL THROUGH SPACE
Did you know that Bloemfontein boasts the very first digital planetarium in Sub-Saharan Africa? Officially opened in November 2013, the Naval Hill Planetarium is situated at the old Lamont-Hussey Observatory Building on Naval Hill. The digital dome boasts a 12-metre aluminium screen, a powerful surround-sound system and multiple data projectors which allow visitors a breathtaking experience of the galaxy.
The Naval Hill Planetarium was established by the University of the Free State with the support of the Department of Science and Technology, the Free State Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and the Mangaung Metro Municipality. The project is envisaged as the first component in a proposed “Centre for Earth and Space” – a multi-purpose facility which will host the digital planetarium, an environmental education centre and a science and arts garden. For bookings and information, call 051 401 9751.
The Cheetah Route takes you through the Mangaung District – the cultural and political heart of the Free State. Abundant historical, cultural and natural attractions make the region a top business and recreational destination.
Towns on the Cheetah Route are:
BORN IN BLOEM
Did you know that the National Party, the African National Congress (ANC), as well as the legendary writer JRR Tolkien, were all born in Bloemfontein? The beautiful city, which is also the provincial capital and the legislative national capital, boasts a massive range of attractions, including:
• The Naval Hill Precinct which is home to a Digital Planetarium, a Fragrance Garden for the Blind, the 250ha Franklin Game Reserve, the iconic 6.5m tall bronze
statue of Nelson Mandela, and a picnic spot. The Hill with its viewing decks affords visitors the opportunity of a panoramic view of Bloem’s urban landscape.
• Fantastic flora at the Botanical Gardens and the Orchid House.
• King’s Park, home of the Bloemfontein Zoo and the 80,000sq m Loch Logan Waterfront – SA’s largest inland mall, set alongside a picturesque lake.
• Cultural hotspots including the Oliewenhuis Art Museum & Gallery and the Sand Du Plessis Theatre.
• Museums galore – the Anglo-Boer War Museum, the Choet Visser Rugby Museum, the SA Armour Museum, the Fire Station Museum, the National Museum (which
houses the famous Florisbad skull), the Queen’s Fort Military Museum and the National Women’s Memorial.
“KASIE” TOURISM IN BOTSHABELO
A visit to the Free State is not complete without experiencing “Kasie” (lokasie/location) tourism and a visit to a “Chisa Nyama” (traditional barbeque) or “shebeen” (bar). While you are in Botshabelo, pay a visit to the Moroka Chiefs Monument and some places of entertainment in the area. A number of buildings still stand as a reminder of the township’s role in the struggle against apartheid, and there is a connection between facilities in Botshabelo, Thaba Nchu and Bloemfontein. Some of these connections are found in places such as:
• The Free State Youth Martyrs’ Monument.
• The house of Me Moipone Mohlakoana (Free State President of the ANC Women’s League and a member of the 1952 Defiance Campaign).
• Ramkraal Prison (where many freedom fighters were incarcerated).
• Paradise Hall (the gathering place for the 1952 Defiance Campaign).
• Mapikela House (Ulundi Khaya).
THABA NCHU’S RICH HERITAGE
Thaba Nchu is named after the 2,138m-high Thaba Nchu mountain where the Barolong nation was centred in the 1830s. On a visit to the Chief’s Kraal you might even catch a glimpse of traditional tribal court proceedings. Ratlou Location in Thaba Nchu is the birthplace of Dr JS Moroka, President of the ANC from 1949-1952. His home, Moroka House, is now a national monument. Nearby are the Maria Moroka National Park and the Rustfontein Dam and Nature Reserve.
RESERVES AND RESORTS