The Bethulie Concentration Camp cemetery – a sad part of our history

Bethulie in the southern Free State is one of those places not many people pass through as it's not really on any of the main thoroughfares going south (or north, depending how you look at it).  On my last trip up to Johannesburg I deviated off the normal route to see what this town on the banks of the Orange River is all about.  One of the things I found out was that Bethulie was the site of one of…

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Who was Louw Wepener and why does he have a monument in the Free State?

How are you going to explore, discover new places and see interesting things if you don't road trip and venture off the beaten track?  A little detour past Bethulie in the southern Free State while heading north had me cross the second longest bridge in South Africa, take a walk through the Bethulie Concentration Camp Cemetery and learn who Louw Wepener was.  To be honest, I probably would have totally missed the Louw Wepener Monument a few hundred meters off the…

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The (second) longest bridge in South Africa

My normal route through the Karoo Heartland of the Eastern Cape when heading up north is over Cradock and Steynsburg towards Venterstad and then a short left to the Gariep Dam before hitting the N1 for Bloemfontein.  Before my last trip to Johannesburg I had a closer look at the Geocaching map to see if there are any possible alternative routes that will take me to cache locations I haven't been to.  A couple of green dots around the town…

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Madiba gazing over Bloem

Naval Hill in Bloemfontein has always been a beacon in the Free State capitol and known for the magnificent views of the surrounding city.  In 2012 an eight meter tall bronze sculpture, made by the same sculptor as the one standing in Mandela Square in Sandton, was revealed.  Last year during the #MeetSouthAfrica bloggers trip before Indaba, the one group spent a night in Bloem and visited Naval Hill at sunset.  The pictures they posted were stunning.  I also got…

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Vrystaatse Vlaktes

I have come to love the wide open spaces of the Karoo Heartland in the Eastern Cape but just haven't been able to get used to the, what we call in Afrikaans, Vrystaatse vlaktes.  Vrystaat is the Afrikaans name for the Free State, South Africa's central province while vlaktes is an very descriptive Afrikaans work for wide open spaces stretching for miles.  The wide open spaces, or vlaktes, of the Free State is very different from that of the Karoo Heartland.…

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A very unusual beach

Can you guess where this beach is?.........Technically it's not a beach.  Not a coastal one anyway.  It is the sandveld on the banks of the Bloemhof Dam on the border between the North West Province and the Free State.Bloemhof Dam was built in the late 1960's and is located at the confluence of the Vaal River and the Vet River.  At 25 000 hectares the dam with it's 4 270 m long dam wall is one of the largest in South Africa.  The dam…

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The Norvalspont Concentration Camp Memorial

The Anglo Boer War (1899 - 1902) is one of the big turning points in South Africa's history along with the arrival of Europeans in the country, the Great Trek, the Apartheid years and a new democratic South Africa.  Okay, so the history is about more than just those five turning points but that is what came to my mind just now.  One of the most significant things that happened during the Anglo Boar War was that it was the first time ever that…

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The Gariep Dam – South Africa’s biggest dam

Returning from Gauteng on a recent road trip I decided to make a little detour via the Gariep Dam and take the Steynsburg and Hofmeyr road through the Karoo to Cradock.  I made a lunch and leg stretch stop at the lookout overlooking the Gariep Dam wall.  The Gariep Dam was opened in 1071 and initially called the Hendrik Verwoerd Dam after the first prime minister of the Republic of South Africa.  After the end of Apartheid it was decided to change the…

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Golden Gate Hoogland-Nasionale Park

Een van Suid-Afrika se bekendste nasionale park landmerke is die Brandberg in die Golden Gate Hoogland-Nasionale Park in die Oos-Vrystaat.  Maak nie saak of dit wit gesneeu is in die winter of gras groen is in die vroeë somer nie, dis altyd 'n welkom gesig vir reisigers oppad uit die Vrystaat na KwaZulu Natal se kant toe.  Maar moenie net deurry nie, stop vir 'n dag of twee en verken die area. 

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Bloemfontein statues

This is my last Bloemfontein post from this trip, I promise.  I was actually very disappointed that I didn't have time to explore the city some more.  I have never been to Bloemfontein before and it has so many places, most of historical value, to see.  The one thing I did notice is that there are many statues around Bloemfontein.  Bloemfontein used to be the capital of the Boer republic of the Orange Free State and many leaders involved in the…

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