Bloemfontein, the capital city of the Free State and the judicial capital of the country, is known as the “city of the roses.” The splendour of these flowers is celebrated every year at the annual rose festival. The name translates as “fountain of flowers” in Dutch. Bloemfontein was founded in 1846 by the British to be used as a fort. However, many of the Afrikaner settlers, Griqua and Basotho people were also living there. The luxury Rovos train journey takes you to this quaint city, known for its old world charm, upholding of family values, aura of serenity and cleanliness.

Bloemfontein has a rich history reflected in its traditional buildings and landmarks. The National Museum was founded in 1877 and is now a Declared Cultural Institution. The exhibitions at the museum are extremely impressive, covering a large variety of themes throughout South African history and culture. Marvel at the African cultures section, the geological displays, the solar system installation and the life-size mammal exhibits. Other places you should stop by include:

  • Naval Hill. From this vantage point, you get a panoramic view of the town
  • Boyden Observatory and
  • Bloemfontein Zoo.

The Bloemfontein Rose Festival began in 1976. Since then, it has grown into a national event where scores of rose-lovers flock to the town to experience the glory of this stunning flower. Roses represent the coming together of people and the festival’s events are a wonderful way to do just that. The Loch Logan Waterfront Mall is where most of the action takes place. Here, ornate and intricate flower displays of more than 15,000 roses are on show for the public. The rose displays are from independent nurseries and the Department of Parks of Bloemfontein. The Free State Rose Society also holds the Rose Cut Competition where 700 people enter to win the title of champion. There is a gardening competition presented by the Department of Parks

aerial view of bloemfontein on hunting safari bloemfontein building with exotic tree Tiger focusing on lens on hunting safari Museum Exhibition pieces on display Roses in Bloemfontein on Hunting Safari