City of Roses

The beautiful city of Bloemfontein lies perfectly in the heart of the Free State and is also the most centrally situated city in the country. It is a favourite stop over for travelers between Johannesburg and Cape Town or Port Elizabeth.

The city lives up to its name, Bloemfontein translated into Afrikaans means “fountain of flowers”, as thousands of rose bushes line the city streets and more than 4000 rose trees have been planted in the rose gardens in Kings Park. The locals fondly refer to their city as “Bloemies” and the residents have created a virtually stress free atmosphere, unlike the other major cities in the country. Less stress and less haste is their motto and the peaceful atmosphere, which is somehow almost tangible, can be felt in every street – all of which is noticeably clean and free of litter.

Bloemfontein is a city rich with culture and history being one of the key places during both Anglo-Boer Wars in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, as well as being the birthplace of the ANC. The city centre is lined with historical buildings, included the famous and beautiful tree-lined President Brand Street which is home to several Museums and is now a national monument itself.

There are plenty of activities and attractions to see in the city and tourists have opportunities to visit the many gardens, monuments, museums and art galleries, including the "Art in the Park" exhibition held in Kings Park on the first Saturday of each month. For the active tourists there are hiking trails, horse trails, the botanical garden and nature reserves to keep you outdoors and busy all through your stay.

Holiday makers, or even those stopping over, have a wide choice in accommodation from luxury Hotels and Guest Homes to backpackers, camping and caravan parks.

Places to Visit

Things to do and see

Climate

Rainfall occurs in the mid-summer months, with January and February seeing the highest levels.

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 30˚C.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 0˚C and 16˚C.

Transport

There are daily flights from Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town into Bram Fischer International Airport in Bloemfontein. Car rental companies are located at the Airport.

Festivals

July - Vryfees: The biggest Arts Festival in the Free State showcasing anything from live music, theatre, film to fine arts and crafts.

October – Mangaung Rose Festival: This is one of the largest Rose Festivals in South Africa. The festival features a wide variety of roses, competitions, pageants and much more.

History

The name of Bloemfontein originates from a fountain which surfaces on the site of the present caravan park in Victoria Park. This fountain was known to the Africans as Mangaung ('place of leopards'), but the Europeans that stopped there for water on their journeys across the central plains called it Bloemfontein ('flower fountain').

Johannes Brits was the first to settle at the fountain in 1840. His farm was bought by British appointed Major H D Warden in 1846 who built a fort close to the fountain to observe events in the area. The British maintained rule over the Orange River Sovereignty until 1834 and during this time Bloemfontein grew into a small town.

By 1854, the British regarded the territory as useless and handed it back to its inhabitants. The Union Jack was replaced by the flag of a new republic and the Volksraad (people’s council) was elected.

Bloemfontein became a city on 17 March 1945. From rustic beginnings it had grown into a busy centre of transport, communications and trade. Today it is the judicial capital of South Africa and provincial capital of the Free State. It is a pivotal point for communications and a popular venue for conventions and sporting events.


Inside Bloemfontein

View over Bloemfontein from the top of Naval Hill

Naval Hill

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