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Known as the City of Roses, Bloemfontein is South Africa’s judicial capital and the capital of the Free State province. It has much to offer visitors in the way of cultural and historical attractions and is a convenient gateway to the rest of the Free State area.
Bloemfontein’s attractions are diverse, ranging from a plethora of historically significant buildings, to nature reserves, to a selection of shopping malls, art galleries and craft centres. The Orchid House is an exquisite tropical style nursery that will delight horticultural lovers, and the Free State Botanical Gardens are equally as enticing. Naval Hill provides sweeping views of the city and is also home to the Franklin Nature Reserve.
Numerous historical buildings are located in town, and taking a leisurely stroll through Bloemfontein’s streets is the best way to appreciate the wealth of historical and architectural treasures. These include the imposing sandstone City Hall, the Old Presidency, the Victorian Anglican Cathedral dating from 1850, the Dutch Reformed twin tower church and the judicial buildings.
A range of art galleries and museums are also scattered throughout Bloemfontein. Visitors can choose between the Rugby Museum, the National Museum, the War Museum of the Boer Republics, the Oliewenhuis Art Gallery and many more.
Shopping opportunities are profuse in Bloemfontein, with everything from high fashion boutiques to arts and crafts stores on offer. The recently developed Loch Logan Waterfront offers entertainment venues, restaurants, pubs and shopping for all ages. Bloemfontein is also the ideal destination for sports fans, with state-of-the-art sports stadiums for rugby, cricket, athletics, hockey and tennis, and an Olympic standard swimming pool.
Bloemfontein is the perfect springboard from which to explore the rest of the Free State, with its many attractions. The Gariep Dam and the Willem Pretorius Game Reserve are two of the Free State’s greatest natural attractions, while towns such as Edenburg and Reddersburg have their own unique flavour and historical highlights. Kimberley, the Free State’s second most important city has a rich legacy as a mining town and has preserved some of the remnants of the heady Diamon Rush days, including the remarkable ‘big hole’ &endash; an enormous man-made testament to greed.
Bloemfontein is well-connected to the rest of the country with a comprehensive system of rail, road and air connections. There is an excellent road infrastructure, and coaches and buses provide regular transport to and from the city. Rail connections from north and south meet in Bloemfontein, and the city is served by fast flights from all over the country. It also has a significant location on the N1 between Johannesburg and Cape Town.