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Soutpan, Goldfields Region, Free State

Soutpan and Florisbad area near Bloemfontein, South AfricaSoutpan (Salt Pan) is a small salt mining town just north of Bloemfontein, near the Soetdoring Nature Reserve.

Soutpan is very small and rural, but the area is full of salt pans and springs, and nearby Florisbad has an interesting archeological history that began with the sudden ‘explosion’ of a mud spring in 1910. The Spring pushed up a fossil bearing mound that grew unchecked till the first excavations in the 1930’s and the subsequent discovery of the Florisbad Man – a hominid skull that has since been dated to 260 000 years old.

For many years the Florisbad Spring was central to a small resort that grew up around it, and two  open-air ‘roman style’ baths were built over the holes the spring water was bubbling up through. This was closed down in the 1980’s and the site was taken over by the National Museum for a research station and further fossil excavations.

The main industries in the area are salt mining and farming. The terrain is very flat, with small stands of trees and rather non-descript.

The main tourist attraction in the vicinity is the Soetdoring Nature Reserve.

Getting there: Soutpan is 45mins drive north from Bloemfontein on the R700, just past Soetdoring.

 

 




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