Franklin Nature Reserve

The Franklin Game Reserve lies right in the heart of Bloemfontein

Free State Game and Nature ReservesThe Franklin Nature Reserve

Named after Sir John Stuart Franklin, the mayor of Bloemfontein during the 1920s, Franklin Nature Reserve lies right in the heart of Bloemfontein.

There are very few cities in the world that can claim to have a nature reserve within their perimeters - other cities include Cape Town (Rietvlei), Nairobi (Nairobi National Park), and Hong Kong (Tai Po Kau Nature Reserve).

As a result it is not safe to walk through the reserve alone. Going in pairs or groups, however, exposes one to a wealth of bird life, and sighting a fairy flycatcher or African red-eyed bulbul is not unusual.

Wildlife includes giraffe, blue wildebeest and zebra, and the indigenous plants and trees of the Franklin reserve give one a good idea of the Free State's vegetation. It is a wonderful reserve through which to ramble or even jog, and given that it is so close to the city, an easy space in which to get close to nature.

Within the Franklin Nature reserve is Naval Hill - a prominent tourist landmark and a popular Sunday drive destination because of its views out over the city. During the Anglo-Boer War the British Naval Brigade was stationed there.

Aside from the views, there are two statues that make a drive to Naval Hill worthwhile.

The first is the White Horse - said to have acted as a direction marker for the British cavalry who could see it miles off. The other more recent statue is that of Nelson Mandela. Standing eight metres high, the statue is the largest of Madiba in the world; larger even than that in Sandton Square in Johannesburg, or the one in London's Parliament Square.

There are plans to upgrade Naval Hill in the near future so that it will attract more tourists.

Activities near Franklin Nature Reserve

Motshetshe Trail


The trail gets its name from a Sotho word which means mountain cabbage tree and the slopes along this trail are brimming with this fascinating specimen. Starting at the dam, the trail runs along the main peaks showing off vast range of life in the area...

More info and contact details: Motshetshe Trail

Bloemfontein Helicopter Tour


What better way to see all the city has to offer than from the sky. You will see the Bloemfontein CBD and beautiful surrounding areas whilst your pilot gives you a guided tour. Westline Aviation - We turn your flight dreams into Flight reality...

More info and contact details: Bloemfontein Helicopter Tour

Did you know?

Within the Franklin Nature reserve is Naval Hill - a prominent tourist landmark and a popular Sunday drive destination because of its views out over the city.

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