Situated at the geographical centre of South Africa
, as the capital of the farming grasslands of the Free State
name – translated 'fountain of flowers' – perfectly conjures its striking profusion of floral growth in the midst of an otherwise arid territory, as well as its enchanting and unexpected mix of old-world and modern architectural styles. And its other designations – 'the city of roses', 'the Hospitable city', 'the congress city', 'the total city' and so on – evoke the city's strength of community and diversity that have made it a place in which both residents and visitors can immediately feel a sense of belonging, a spirit of welcome and deep-rootedness, even as the city embraces the technological future.
The judicial capital of South Africa, Bloemfontein
today serves as the administrative and economic hub of the Free State. The city borders the semi-desert Karoo region to the South
, and the lush Highveld
to the North
, and its excellent infrastructure and business districts support the heavy industrial and agricultural business activity in the surrounding region.
The multilayered, fascinating history of the region is preserved on the streets of Bloemfontein, visible in the immaculately maintained buildings, in the museums, and the wealth of other monuments and memorials to the past. The Appeal Court's stinkwood-panelled courtroom is unique and outstanding in the country.
The National Museum houses a formidable collection of fossils and archaeological artefacts, including the famed Florisbad Skull. The Queen's Fort Military Museum depicts all the major military conflicts in the Free State from 1820. The SA Armour Museum contains a range of military vehicles and artillery.
Patrons of the arts are also amply served in Bloemfontein, with its abundance of theatre venues, art galleries, craft and cultural centres. For instance the Sand du Plessis Theatre is easily one of the most impressive of its kind in the country, and decorated with works by renowned artists. The Observatory
, the Civic and the Wynand Mouton also feature a variety of high quality productions. The Oliewenhuis and Johannes Stegman art galleries offer a range of impressive exhibits all year round.
And for nature lovers, the city is packed with parks, and surrounded by areas of natural beauty as well as nature reserves, botanical gardens and game parks. Bloemfontein Zoo has the largest collection of apes in South Africa, and 'zoo snoozes' are available to those who wish to sleep over. The Cheetah Experience offers the opportunity to interact with rescued and rehabilitated cheetahs, even permitting touching of these animals. The Botanical Garden and the Bloemfontein Orchard House are a delight for flower lovers. And the Rustfontein, Maria Moroka and Franklin Game Reserves showcase a huge variety of indigenous large game in their natural habitat.
Residents will be attracted to Bloemfontein's multitude of accommodating, hospitable, affordable and safe boroughs. Housing prices in Bloemfontein
are very reasonable for such an economic centre, and the city contains a large number of high quality public and private schooling facilities, from primary to tertiary level. In this city where rural sensibility, cultural diversity, treasured history and unspoiled nature blend seamlessly with progressive and thriving industry, visitors and homemakers alike will be enchanted.