Naval Hill: Giraffes and zebras in the city

Bloemfontein is the seventh city by size in the South African Republic and is a mandatory stop on a way to some holiday resorts on the Garden Route. The city of windmills and libraries, famous for rugby and flower fairs hides a rarity in the center of the city. Can you imagine seeing animals like giraffes, ostriches, antelopes or zebras few minutes from the main road. Well this type of adventure lives and breathes right here in this city. But what is Naval Hill really about?

Naval Hill in Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa


Suppose we call this attraction an enjoyable promenade, we wouldn’t be wrong, but Naval Hill is in fact so much more than that. It is a place where you can enjoy a morning walk, train or indulge in its striking romance. This is the exact place where the Parkrun manifestation happens, in which I take part in every Saturday. Both recreation lovers and professional athletes all over the world can participate in this race where there is only one goal- to run 5 km. There are no proclaimed winners, nor trophies, just the sense of relief while competing with yourself. The feeling of synergy among all those people who cherish the same love for sports is amazing.

To know more about Parkrun check out their official website here:

Naval Hill, Nelson Mandela Statue, Bloemfontein, Source: Naval Hill Parkrun FB page

Parkrun in Bloemfontein is an extraordinary experience as  animals can possibly cross your way, like here:

Source: Tim Taylor ( IG- timmybear67) Parkrun nr 96 – Surprised by the giraffes that crossed our way 


Especially for children who grew up reading fables, this park is a dream come true. Whether you want to look a giraffe up close, gaze upon graceful zebras trot or walk pass an antelope or ostrich, take your pick, everything is possible. If you are in a car, keep in mind where you drive because they tend to get out on the road. Animals are not looked up in cages, they are free and liberated from all predators. But, regardless of how tamed they look, you can never be too careful. 

Franklin Game Reserve
Franklin Game Reserve-right in the middle of the city, Naval Hill
Franklin Game Reserve, Naval Hill


At the very top of the hill there is a monument of the legend Nelson Mandela that cites the following.

“ I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

Mandela, R.N., 1994, Long Walk to Freedom

Naval Hill, Nelson Mandela Statue in Bloemfontein, South Africa
Naval Hill, Nelson Mandela Statue in Bloemfontein, South Africa

The view of this panorama of Bloemfontein is so prepossessing that it is recommended to see it before sunset also. You will have the whole city on the palm of your hand, so luminous and beaming with visitors.


An also important part of the Naval Hill tale is the educational projection of stars and planets in the Naval Hill planetarium. While enjoying the sparkling sky through a digital display, and listening to the narrator’s story at the same time, you experience a penetrating feeling of the unknown universe that leaves you speechless. To know about the exact time schedule, it is best to inquire here:

Naval Hill Planetarium Theatre, Bloemfontein

A mesmerizing day and sunset in Naval Hill can be fulfilled with a tour to the Orchid house which itself is incredible and just a few minutes away from this captivating place.

Orchid House, Bloemfontein, South Africa



“Believe in unicorn” is a divine universe that combines colour, scent and adventure. It consists of educational and emotional stories of faraway cities, exotic islands and all other fascinations the author experienced during her travels.

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