Naval Hill

Landmarks / Memorials in or near Bloemfontein, Motheo Region in Free State, South Africa.

Free State Tourist AttractionsNaval Hill

Where? Dellville Road, Bloemfontein - Entrance is free (8am - 5pm), but expect stringent security that may include a look in your car boot.

Overnight? Stay in Bloemfontein, in Free State

Naval Hill is the only hill in Bloemfontein, called such for the British naval guns used up here during the Anglo-Boer War. There is also a white horse on the eastern edge of the hill that functioned as a landmark for the British cavalry.

Other than that, it has nothing to do with anything naval or military. The hill forms part of the Franklin Game Reserve, in the middle of the city (apparently the only nature reserve in the world in the middle of a city), which is the reason no-one has been able to build their little mansion up here and mar the landscape.

At the top of the hill is a huge wooden viewing platform from which there are 360 degree views of the city and a couple of other hills in the distance, including Thaba Nchu.

But the star of the show up on Naval Hill, and the reason for so many visitors, is the huge statue of Nelson Mandela, erected here in December 2012. It is eight metres high, a larger-than-life replica of Mandela with his fist raised in the air, overlooking Bloemfontein.

Just about everyone has their photograph taken with the statue - you can stand between his legs, or children clamber over his shoes.

There is also a digital planetarium up on the hill, on the opposite side from Mandela, for astronomy lovers, here since November 2013 and the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa.

Best time of day: without doubt, sundown, when the city lights come on and you can catch a glimpse of the sun setting way off in the distance

Why not overnight? Find Accommodation in Bloemfontein

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