City Tour

bloemfontein city tour

Bloemfontein is the capital city of the Free State province in South Africa and means “fountain of flowers” in Afrikaans. Naturally so, with the wealth of flowers found here, it has affectionately become known as “the city of roses”, and quite appropriately hosts the annual rose festival. British army major Henry Douglas Warden officially founded the city as a fort back in 1846 when it was still occupied by Cape Colony Trek Boers, Griqua and Basotho. Today, it is known as Manguang in the local language and is one of the three capital cities of our country, being South Africa’s judicial capital.

One of the most prominent new developments in recent years is the Free State Stadium which hosted the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches held in Bloemfontein. Originally built for the 1995 Rugby World Cup, the stadium and surrounding sports complexes are still used for rugby union and association football events. A second tier was added to the main grandstand for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Since Bloemfontein is known for its magnificent flora, Free State National Botanical Garden is a must see. Just outside of the city, spanning 70 hectares, these gardens are home to around 400 species of plants. You cannot miss the natural vegetation made up of towering grass and woodland, overlooked by glorious wild olive and karee trees. The plant species found here are primarily from the Free State, Northern Cape and Lesotho, as well as a spectacular selection of indigenous hardy trees. A feast of colour is provided by Lion’s ear, red-hot poker and the dwarf coral tree. To view the plants at their best, visit between November and March, or allow the autumn shades to take your breath away from March to June.

Free State National Botanical Garden

A custodian of Bloemfontein’s Heritage, the National Museum dates back to 1877. The institution focuses on natural history, cultural history and art, and has since achieved international acclaim. The general public largely enjoys the educational and entertainment experiences run by the museum through its various programmes throughout the year and its variety of activities held during school terms.

While travelling through Bloemfontein also make sure to explore Hertzog Square to view its fine statues and fountains, State President Swart Park for its rolling lawns and the Anglo-Boer War Museum to gain insights into one of the most significant events in South African history.