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SSitting on the stoep (verandah) of your Bloemfontein guesthouse sipping a beer or a glass of wine…what now? As a visitor to the City of Roses, founded in 1846, and in the heart of central South Africa, you’ll have a wide variety of places to visit.

Among these is the National Museum in Aliwal Street, acclaimed for the excellent way it’s been maintained since 1915, and for its outstanding natural and cultural heritage exhibitions. You cannot miss the Oliewenhuis Art Museum, with its wonderful art treasures, housed in the former imposing state presidents’ residence. The underground gallery at this museum, the Reservoir - possibly the only one of its kind in South Africa - is quite an experience. This huge underground water storage structure, built in approximately 1904, was discovered by chance in the grounds of Oliewenhuis in the 1990s. With considerable effort the endless structural problems were overcome and it was converted into a large exhibition hall.

If you have the opportunity, do slip into the Freshford House Museum. The house, which represents the more affluent middle class (the first owner, John Harrison, was a well-known architect in the town), is a unique example of the late Republican Free State architecture with the striking elements of the late Victorian/Edwardian transitional period.

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