Bloemfontein, Free State

Armour Museum

Museums in or near Bloemfontein, Motheo Region in Free State, South Africa.

Things To Do in BloemfonteinArmour Museum

Museums Motheo Region

Where? Frans Steynberg Street, Tempe, Bloemfontein (at the intersection of the N1, N6 and N8 - follow signboards)

When? Daily from 09h00 to 16h00 except weekends and public holidays.

How? Call +27 (0)51 402-1700

How much? Free

Overnight? Overnight at accommodation in Bloemfontein, in Free State

The Armour Museum is a military enthusiast and children’s idea of heaven. This is because most of it takes the form of an outside display of armoured fighting vehicles. Even when the museum proper, housed in a building that dates back to 1902-1904, is closed over weekends it is the lovely tree-filled grounds that hold the attraction.

Despite the lack of guide or brochure over sixty armoured, tracked and wheeled vehicles, including some from the Second World War, have individual detailed plaques. And kids can climb in and on the armoured tanks, making the museum an experience.

The South African Army has been using armour since 1915, introduced to the country by the Royal Naval Air Service who supported South Africa in capturing German South West Africa (now Namibia) in 1915.

After the First World War, South Africa accessed a single Whippet Tank from Britain, using it to quell the Witwatersrand Strike of 1922. In the same year they procured a further two Grossley armoured cars.

Then with the world-wide Depression of 1933, the government implemented a social upliftment project in the form of a Special Service Battalion, which was then converted to an armoured car regiment when the Second World War broke out, later becoming a tank regiment. From this battalion a regiment was sent to North Africa in April 1943.

Tempe, where the museum is located today, is not only the site of the country’s first armoured car squadron from World War II, but also where the School of Armour is based.

Phone ahead to make sure the museum is open as it outlines the armour division history in South Africa and internationally.

Bear in mind, when you visit, however, that although a museum and research library for the South African Armoured Corps was officially approved in 1995, no funds were provided, leaving the building restoration to the Department of Public Works. Further fundraising projects and donations have allowed showcases and the museum to continue.

The beautiful building, a national monument, in which the museum is housed is the original building on the farm Tempe, where the British forces were garrisoned after occupying Bloemfontein in March 1900.

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