Bloemfontein – rock art and fossil hunting
Did you know?
At the National Museum in Bloemfontein you can witness the scope of the Bushman diorama and gain an understanding of the hallucinatory rain-animals that play a pivotal role in San Rock Art.
Over the past 10 000 years, the nomadic San hunter-gatherer people of South Africa, have left their mark on the country with their widely distributed and rather delicate rock art. Surviving the harsh realities of Southern Africa's semi-desert areas, thanks to skills honed over thousands of years, the San captured their way of life on rock walls - a legacy that has thankfully survived to this day. Using plant dyes and tools crafted from their surrounds, they painted hunting scenes and images of the animals that ensured their survival by providing a meat source - the graceful eland, the lumbering elephant and the nimble springbok.
For fossils, South Africa has a real gem in The National Museum in Bloemfontein - a mine of information on the subject that features San-related fossils and exhibits. However, to see the best examples of rock art requires travelling to locations a couple of hours from the capital. A number of travel operators specialise in these types of tours.
Throughout the Free State's Highlands and neighbouring Lesotho's Maluti mountains, are caves and shelters frequented by the San of long ago. Examples of historic rock art can be seen at Spitskop (Brandfort district), Sterkstroom (between Rouxville and Aliwal North), Stowlands (near Christiana) and Tandjiesberg (near Clarens).
Fossil hunting in South Africa is a popular pastime especially if you're in the Free State region close to the town of Clarens. Look out for dinosaur eggs, bones and teeth that date back over 2 million years as well as other smaller fossilised creatures. You may not find any actual new fossils, but we guarantee that you'll have lots of fun trying.
Bloemfontein is a great pit stop inbetween discovering the ancient treasures of the Free State.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Mangaung/Bloemfontein Tourism Information
60 Park Road
Tel: +27 (0) 51 405 8489
Fax: +27 (0) 51 447 3859