If you’ve ever spent time in Bloemfontein, chances are you would have come across one or two of it’s beautiful little secrets. Everybody makes fun of this interior city for it’s old school architecture, backward ways and outdated attitudes, but Bloem is hiding some of the best little restaurants, amazing accommodation (like the Liedjiesbos Guest House), incredible museums and one of my absolute favourites statues, Madiba on Naval Hill.
Travelling on #MeetSouthAfrica, I got my third chance to visit this incredible statue. Smack bang in the middle of Bloem, Naval Hill is inside the Franklin Game Reserve. That’s right, a game reserve in the middle of the city. How extremely bizarre and wonderful at the same time, right?
This particular statue of Nelson Mandela also happens to be the largest of its kind in the world. Even bigger than the one erected in memorial at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, in fact. The statue stands at around eight metres tall and overlooks the city, with its fist clenched in the air. It faces in the direction of Bloemfontein’s Waaihoek Methodist Church, where the ANC was founded 100 years before the unveiling of the statue in 2012.
My absolute best part of visiting this statue is how accessible it is to the public. Children can climb over his shoes, visitors can stand between his legs and take photos, or you can be like me, lie on the ground and look up for a different perspective.
Entrance to the statue is free, and my favourite time of day to visit is at sunset as the sun dips below the opposite horizon. From up there, you also get an incredible perspective of how the city actually sprawls, and it’s pretty impressive.
My #MeetSouthAfrica trip was courtesy of South African Tourism. As with all my posts, editorial control remains with me.