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WWhen thinking about pure beauty, one can’t help but paint pictures of flowers in one’s mind. Step into the Free State Botanical Garden and you’ll discover beauty in its purest form right in the heart of Bloemfontein.
The garden pays homage to the abundant indigenous flora found not only in this province, but also in the neighbouring Northern Cape and Lesotho. Lovers of all things flowery and beautiful will enjoy exploring the six distinctive gardens as well as its wilderness hiking trails.
The Free State Botanical Garden, found in South Africa’s own “City of Roses”, Bloemfontein, is dedicated to cultivating and proudly displaying the varied flora of this region. Roses, of course, come through brilliantly.
TThis botanical garden first opened in 1969, and while much of its appeal lies in floral beauty, the garden is also of interest to history buffs. It turns out the curator's house was built by World War II Italian prisoners of war; the old stone walls were built by British troops during the South African War; and prehistoric pottery relics found in the area are on show in the Education Centre.
Free State Botanical Garden
BBut obviously it’s the flora you've come to see and in that you will definitely not be disappointed. The Free State Botanical Garden houses over 400 species of plants from the region, including the vibrant red-hot pokers and wild dagga plants for which the province is renowned.
Take a magical journey to see these species and other local flora for yourself in the indigenous garden. Other specialised gardens here include the water-wise garden, the medicinal garden, the succulent garden and the bird garden, which features over 140 bird species.
HHowever, it is not all about the flowers. The Free State Botanical Garden rests in a woodland valley, framed by hills. So it is an amazing opportunity to get your legs moving on some self-guided hiking trails that crisscross the landscape. If you want, you can even request a guided tour. Beyond the flora, there are over 50 species of reptiles in the garden and almost as many mammals, so keep an eye out for them on your wilderness walk.
If you’re coming through the Free State, or staying in Bloemfontein, the Free State Botanical Garden must be at the top of your list. It’s the best way to experience this beautiful part of South Africa as nature intended.
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There are many art workshops and holidays to choose from in South Africa – from painting in oils or watercolours, to photography, to sculpture, to drawing, to pottery. Whatever your interest, even if it’s just to explore your inner artist and have fun.
Public art in South Africa often pays tribute to South African icons or raises awareness about social issues and includes murals, sculptures, mosaics, billboards and performance art.
The Oliewenhuis Art Museum in Bloemfontein is an art gallery featuring the best of South Africa’s non-contemporary and contemporary artists.