Bloemfontein City Hall

Travel to Bloemfontein – City of Roses

Bloemfontein, the City of Roses, is a modern city in the midst of a vast rural area. The beginnings of the town go back to 1840, when Johannes Nicolaas Brits arrived here with a Boer Trek and started a farm. Because the spring on his plot was covered with wild flowers, he called the farm Bloemfontein, meaning ‘flowering spring’.

In 1846 Bloemfontein was officially founded by British army Major Henry Douglas Warden as a British outpost. Besides its function as capital of the Free State Province, Bloemfontein plays an important role as the third capital of South Africa, as it is the seat of the South African Supreme Court.

After its official foundation, the place soon grew into a bigger settlement, and became the capital of the newly founded province ‘Oranje Vrystaat’. Some administration buildings were erected, and today the many well preserved historical buildings characterise the centre of town.

The South African National Congress (ANC, now the ruling party) was founded in Bloemfontein on 8 January 1912 to defend the rights of the black majority. The city’s Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning ‘The place where cheetahs dwell’.

A variety of museums can be found in Bloemfontein, including the National Museum, Hertzog House, First Raadsaal, Old Presidency, Queens Fort Military Museum in the Old Fort, Freshford House Museum, the War Museum at the National Women’s Memorial, the Free State Education Museum, the Unit Museum of 1 Special Service Battalion, National Afrikaans Literature Museum, Free State Agricultural Museum, the SA Armour Museum at Tempe Military Base, the Rugby Museum of Choet Visser, the Jukskei Museum of Hercules Taljaard and the collection of veteran and classic cars, motorcycles and motor-mobilia of Waldie Greyvenstein.

Take a walk through the heart of historic Bloemfontein and enjoy the beautiful architecture. Visit the new Loch Logan Waterfront home to a cinema, fashion shops, restaurants and coffee shops, and a permanent flea market.

The city does not have the hustle and bustle of a large city – the pace is slower, making it easy to relax.

Bloemfontein lies on the N1 highway, right in the centre of South Africa. Bloemfontein is 1000 km from Cape Town and 400 km from Johannesburg.

  • Climb Naval Hill for panoramic views of the town
  • Visit some of the many museums and historical buildings
  • Souvenir hunt in the flea market where you will find some of the best crafts in the region


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