EXPLORING BLOEMFONTEIN'S SCENIC SIGHTS WITH DR FEZ MHKIZE
Dr Fez Mhkize ventures into Bloemfontein on the Greyhound Dreamliner to explore sights such as Naval Hill, Cheetah Experience, the Naval Hill Planetarium, and more.
With great discounts available through Capitec’s Live Better benefits, we caught up with Dr Fez Mhkize – Mr World SA – has he takes the Greyhound Dreamliner to Bloemfontein to explore the sights of this iconic city.
Bloemfontein offers may signature sights, and our first stop is Naval Hill, which dominates the city skyline.
“The attractions we have here in Naval Hill are quite unique; we are the only place in South Africa to have game reserve within the city confines”, explains Tony Horn, Tour Guide at Bush Junkies Safaris. “It’s absolutely ideal for people to come out and see the animals here on Naval Hill – we also have a fantastic statue of Nelson Mandela; and the reason we have that statue here is that the African National Congress was founded here in 1912”.
“This used to be the biggest statue of Madiba until Gauteng went and built another statue, but I still think it wins out on the views! Bloemfontein just keeps giving”, adds Fez.
Many of Bloemfontein’s other attractions are rooted in South African history.
“We are proud to have the Waaihoek Wesleyan Church where the African National Conference had its first meetings”, adds Tony.
Further, Bloemfontein is also home to Oliewenhuis Art Museum – which is passionate about fostering community through a sense of pride and ownership.
Oliewenhuis Art Museum was built in 1941… only in the 1980s, art-loving citizens decided that the building should be opened as an art museum and it was officially opened in 1989”, explains Yolanda de Kock, Education Officer at the Museum. “We take pride in the fact that we only curate art by South African artists, and we have 1400 works in our permanent collection.”
Another stop along the way is Cheetah Experience, which is a registered NGO whose mission is to highlight the needs of endangered species through educational experiences.
“Cheetah Experience was founded in 2006 with the wish to help the Cheetah’s numbers, as there are less than 7000 left in the wild”, adds Maxime Staudt, who introduces Fez to the big cats in their enclosure.
Fez’ day of exploration ends with the Naval Hill Planetarium which was originally started as an observatory. Dinah Mangope, Operations Officer at the Planetarium, explains that as the city developed, “light (pollution) was disturbing visuals of space, and it was then turned into a theatre.” Dinah explains that after being abandoned, “the University of the Free State saw fit to utilize the structure, as it wasn’t being used, as a planetarium”.
“The Planetarium is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere to use a digital dome”, Dinah adds.
Outside, the original telescope from the observatory stands as a monument, and is maintained by the municipality. South Africa is filled with hidden spaces and places that make it one of the greatest destinations in the world; and Bloemfontein’s rich history, iconic landmarks, and diverse experience make it a must-visit for tourists ready to explore our great nation.
“It’s my first time in Bloem, and what an incredible experience!” Fez concludes.