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Region of Free State - City/Town of Bloemfontein


City/Town of Bloemfontein

City/Town : Bloemfontein
Region : Free State
Country : South Africa
Continent : Africa
Population : 256,185
Area : 236.17 sq km
Latitude : 29°07′S
Longitude : 26°13′E
Visiting Bloemfontein

from WikiTravel

Bloemfontein (Fountain of flowers) is the judicial capital of South Africa. It is also the capital of the Free State Province.

Bloemfontein was founded in 1846 and now has a population of around half a million people.

J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings was born in Bloemfontein in 1892.

In 1923, the African National Congress (ANC) political party was founded in Bloemfontein.

Today, Bloemfontein is a compact city surrounded by sprawling suburbs.

Happily, the city centre is safe to walk around during the day, but many of the city's activities are focused on the Waterfront and Mimosa malls and on the large sporting complex. Second Avenue, north of the Waterfront mall, has the majority of the city's bars and restaurants.


  • Anglo Boer War Museum, Monument Road, ☎ +27 (0)51 447-3447, [15]. For a history on the war 1899 to 1902 
  • Boyden Observatory, ☎ +27 (0)84 429-9080 (, [16]. Explore the southern skies under dark and clear Free State conditions 
  • Choet Visser Rugby Museum, ☎ +27 (0)51 436-4124. By appointment only. 
  • Fire Station Museum, Erlich Park Fire Station, Church Street, ☎ +27 (0)51 405-8730 (, [17]. By appointment. 17 vintage fire engines as well as a number of cars, bikes steam engines and even ox wagons. 
  • National Botanical Garden, Rayton Road,off Dan Pienaar Drive, ☎ +27 (0)51 436 361 (, [18]. 8AM to 6PM daily. R10 entrance fee. 
  • National Museum, 36 Aliwal Street, ☎ +27 (0)51 447-9609 (, [19]. Open 8AM to 5PM Monday to Friday, 10AM to 5PM on Saturday and 12PM to 5:30PM on Sundays.. Home to the Florisbad skull. R5 entrance fee. 
  • Naval Hill and Franklin Game Reserve, [20]. 8am - 5pm. The reserve has various wild animals (nothing dangerous) and is located on top of a hill overlooking the centre of the city. There is a driving circuit weaving around the edge of the hill. You can also park the car near the observatory and go for a walk / have a picnic.  free. 
  • Oliewenhuis Art Museum, 16 Harry Smith Street, ☎ +27 (0)51 447-9609 (, [21]. Open 8AM to 5PM Monday to Friday and 10AM to 5PM on Saturday. Outstanding art museum in a beautifully restored Cape-Dutch style house and gardens. Oliewenhuis hosts ever changing temporary displays of contemporary art and photography, whilst upstairs is a more traditional permanent exhibition. There is a very nice cafe in the sculpture garden at the back and is the ideal retreat from the city's sterile shopping malls. Free entrance. 
  • Women's Memorial
  • Presidency Museum, Pres. Brand Street, ☎ +27 (0)51 448-0949. Open 10AM to 12:15PM and 1PM to 4PM Tuesday to Friday. This former residence of presidents of the Orange Free Stare Republic has been restored to what it would have been at the turn of the century. 
  • Queens Fort Military Museum, 116 Church Street, ☎ +27 (0)51 447-5478 ( Open 10AM to 12:15PM and 1PM to 4PM Monday to Friday. Exhibitions on the two Boer wars and the apartheid struggle. 
  • SA Armour Museum, (West of town, follow Nelson Mandela (R64) west towards the N1, you'll see a sign), [22]. The SA Armour Museum, on the grounds of Tempe Military Base, exhibits various items dealing specifically with military armour. The SA Armour Museum consists of an indoor-, outdoor-, and reference library area. Some of the more interesting exhibits include South African built apartheid era riot control vehicles, and some old Soviet tanks the South African's captured in Angola.


  • Visit the City Zoo just behind the Waterfront shopping mall. This zoo is home to a stuffed Liger a cross between a lion and a tiger, that was bred at the zoo in the 1930s. This specimen holds the world record for being the largest ever living cat. And at 798kgs you can see why!
  • Soetdoring Nature Reserve, (about 40 km from Bloemfontein on the main Bultfontein road). closes at 18.00. A pleasant Free State nature reserve close to Bloemfontein. What sets it apart are the lions in the small enclosure in the middle of the park – although the enclosure is big enough to mean that you are not guaranteed to see the cats. The rest of the reserve is pleasant with open plains, wooded areas and a dam – there are no dangerous animals in the main park so walking is allowed. There is a one-day hiking trail which follow the Modder River, easy enough for families with young children.  R20 per car.