Aliens in the Free State: wacky museum will show you other worlds
The small Free State town of Tweeling is a pit stop rather than a destination. But if you're passing through, it is worth stopping to see the Galaxy Muzeum.
This is the brainchild of Mano Christelis, whose dad, Lefty, owned a sweet factory. As a boy, Mano spent many hours filling lucky packets with sweets and plastic charms - and his imagination began to work overtime.
As an adult, he became a trend-setter in the jewellery business but his interest in "out-there" concepts - things like lizard people; giant snails on Neptune; parallel governments on Mars; teleportation and jump rooms - only grew.
"I've always been interested in extra-terrestrial life, and I've experienced different galaxies on the astral plane," he says.
Inspired by a visit to the Museum of Science and Technology in New York, Christelis decided to create a small fantasy world somewhere near Johannesburg.
Two hours away, Tweeling seemed the ideal spot: he says it is an energy point with clear night skies and a very high vibration.
"I wanted to give another dimension to our reality. Galaxy Muzeum is fun. It stimulates the imagination and gives another perspective of what is going on in the universe. Children love it. It is full of villages and cities and creatures from different planets."
Sixteen display cases depict a variety of galaxies, dimensions and portals - with instructions on how to get there from Earth - as well as life forms.
One shows a secret location in Mozambique, where time travel happens. "Civilisation: humans in military operations using time door to change history," the caption reads.
Another, titled "Planet Blueploy," depicts "humabian aquatic people living in structures above oceans", which can be accessed through a time hole in a magnetic field in the Free State.
The exhibits also incorporate different- coloured sands found in Free State towns, including Clarens, which is known for its spectacular sandstone mountains.
Galaxy Muzeum is an odyssey into the unknown. The vast array of fantastical images is bound to lift a traveller's spirits.
• Open weekends, public holidays and throughout the Christmas period. Entrance is R20 for adults and R10 for children.