Bloemfontein is one of those cities that still offers a quality of life second to none. Our rich history is proof of many past achievements and accolades – a tradition we still strive to uphold, and a platform we’re constantly building on. With such a sterling past and vibrant present, the future is guaranteed to be fabulous. Get It went in search of a few reason as to why we think Bloemfontein is BLOEMing nice!

Why we LOVE Mangaung??

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Bloemfontein had a reputation as the city with not one, but two observatories, namely the Boyden – a unique astronomy research and educational centre outside the city - and the Lamont-Hussey atop Naval Hill, which now serves as a drama theatre. In its heyday, it hosted the huge 27inch Lamont Refractor, the largest in the southern hemisphere during its lifetime.




The National Women’s Monument in Bloemfontein was erected in order to acknowledge the pain and suffering of both women and children during the Anglo-Boer war. The war took place between 1899 and 1902, and during that time approximately 26000 women and children died.




Bloemfontein is one of only two cities in the world to have a nature reserve situated in the middle of the city, New York being the other. Naval Hill’s Franklin Game Reserve was named after John Franklin, a South African senator, attorney and mayor of Bloemfontein in the 1930’s. The game in the reserve includes springbok, blesbok, gemsbok, impala, mountain reedbuck, red hartebeest, ngu’s, eland, steenbok, giraffe and ostrich.


The first medical linear accelerator in the Southern Hemisphere was installed in Bloemfontein in 1968.


Bloemfontein is the capital city of the Free State as well as one of the nation’s three capitals, and is generally regarded as the judicial capital. Up until 1994, Bloemfontein was the sole judicial capital and it remains the seat for the Supreme Court of Appeal.


Bloem had the very first railway to the Cape, built in 1890



Bloemfontein has an important political history, with both the ANC and NP parties, amongst others, having been founded right here in the city of roses.


The entire President Brand street is actually a national monument, and is well-known for the many historical buildings that line it. These include the Town Hall, Old Presidency, the Afrikaans Literature Museum, the forth “Raadsaal”, the Appeal Court and the High Court.


Bloemfontein also houses the Anglican Cathederal, the National Museum, the National Women’s Monument, the War Museum and the legendary Dutch Reformed “Two Towers” church.




The biggest Fire Fighting Museum is South Africa is situated at the Ehrlich Park fire station in Bloemfontein.

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The National Museum in Bloemfontein accommodates one of the most extensive collections of fossils and archaeological artefacts in South Africa. One is the Florisbad skull – highly significant to archaeologists who concentrate on the study of pre-historic man.




The architectural style of Bloemfontein’s buildings runs from Mediterranean to British Renaissance and Classical.




Maphikela House is a provincial heritage site, and is known as the place where the ANC was initially formed in 1912. Many convert ANC meetings were held in this double story building,




The Oliewenhuis Art Gallery hosts South Africa’s largest collection of local art works.

Powerful personalities:



Celebrated writer J.R.R. Tolkien, famous for penning The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, was born in Bloemfontein on 3 January 1892. Although he left for England at the age of 3, he remembers our city as being a rather “hot” one. His father, Author Tolkien, died in Bloemfontein and was buried in the now historic Bloemfontein Cemetery - his headstone can still be viewed there today.


You can also find the original “nooi van my hart” - Sarie Marais - in the Bloemfontein cemetery.


Not only has Bloem produced more than a handful of sportsmen/sportswomen and actors, we’ve also done our bit for bringing music to the masses. International rock sensation Seether is fronted by Sean Morgan Welgemoed, who was born in Bloemfontein. Cobus Potgieter, the self-taught drummer who is internationally recognised for his online videos, notching close to 18 million views, lives in Bloemfontein. We also have a number of extremely talented local bands, including The Vulcan Nerve Pinch, All Will Fall, Colour Cold, Colour Blind, Collin Street and K2 to name just a few.


Comedian Leon Schuster was born in Bloemfontein, and attended school here. Bloemfontein also boasts a number of soapie stars. Antoinette Louw (Inge), Hendrik Cronjé (Lukas), Sekoati Tsubane (Kabelo) en Crystal Donna Roberts (Janine) are all proud University of the Free State alumni. Corine du Toit of Egoli fame and Generation’s Heidi Mollentze also grew up in the City of Roses.




The privately owned Choet Visser Rugby Museum was first opened in 1974, and houses the biggest private museum collection of its kind in the world.

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Great-to-know Bloem info:




We live in a city with all the modern facilities, but still only have to deal with moderate traffic – in essence, one generally never has to spend more than 30 minutes buckled up in the driver’s seat. Add to that our new improved roads, which will be completed by April 2010, and you’re talking pure driving pleasure.




Bloemfontein houses the Free State’s only botanical garden. With a variety of Karoo plants, more than 100 different bird species and 54 reptile species, it’s well worth the visit.




Another legendary Bloemfontein tourist attraction is our breathtakingly beautiful Orchid House. Not only are the Orchid’s a feast for the eyes, they also provide a truly amazing olfactory feast.




We are the only city in the Free State with a 24hr McDonald’s.


It is not for nothing that we are known as the City of Roses. Every year, the sheer abundance of rose varieties on show at the annual Rose Festival attracts many a visitor to our area.


The name “Bloemfontein” is actually a German word meaning “fountain of flowers”.


The Bloemfontein Airport, which is situated a mere 10km from the CBD, handles approximately 212 000 passengers per year. The recent upgrades now also make it even more convenient for our visitors.


Our area also boasts two great regional radio stations – Lesedi FM and OFM. OFM has the second biggest footprint in South Africa for a regional radio station, as well as the number one media blog




Bloemfontein is rumoured to have more restaurants per capita than any other city in South Africa.




It is said that if you had to travel all the tarred roads in Bloemfontein, you would essentially be driving to Cape Town and back – not such a small place after all, right?

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Two prominent national roads, the N1 and the N8, cross in Mangaung.


The Sand du Plessis is one of the most modern theatres in the southern hemisphere, completely unique in South African theatre architectural design. It boasts a revolving stage that is one of a kind due to the fact that it requires no drive motors, but forms its own magnetic field, ensuring noiseless operation. The 11-story high tower above the stage ranks amongst the highest in the world and is the highest in South Africa.




In 2007 Men’s Health magazine ran a poll, which was also published in the Sunday Times. The findings showed that Bloemfontein was rated the best place to live in South Africa.




In 2006, a poll done by Ask Africa and Finweek declared the Bloemfontein suburb Dan Pienaar the most in demand suburb in South Africa.


The Bloemfontein Zoo is the perfect outing for both young and old. By day, one can observe a little animal behaviour in the beautiful and shady surrounds. However, they often, in collaboration with the Friends of the Zoo foundation, host adventure-filled Zoo Snooze evenings, where family and friends can actually sleep over and enjoy all the night-time zoo fun. The world famous “Liger” – a must-see cross between a lion and a tiger, also resides in this zoo.




Bloemfontein also appears to be an international favourite. We have a street named after us in Liverpool, England. We also share our name with a four-piece Canadian rock band.


Bloemfontein houses two top tertiary educational facilities, namely the University of the Free State (UFS) and the Central University of Technology (CUT). The Motheo FET College is also an institution that provides training and additional education.


Bloemfontein is home to the legendary Mystic Boer – one of the favourite destinations for those visiting our city, and a social institution in its own right. Started by brothers Willem and Johann Coertzen back in 1997, the pub-cum-restaurant-cum live music venue has stood the test of time. Constantly reinventing itself, while staying true to its roots, the Mystic Boer is sure to continue to do so.




The MACUFE Festival is an annual event that pulls in thousands of festival-goers from around the country. This cultural festival is presented by the Department of Sport, Art and Culture, and is considered one of the biggest in Africa.



Another popular item on the Bloemfontein social calendar is the Volksblad Arts Festival. This annual event is held on the beautiful grounds of the University of the Free State, and offers festival-goers a wide variety of performances from some of the top South African artists, as well as a unique shopping and recreational experience


The South African Doping Control Laboratory at the University of the Free State’s Department of Pharmacology is officially approved by the International Olympic Committee’s Medical Commission to conduct analytical procedures for the detection of all chemical substances banned in sport. This facility also played a vital role in South Africa’s success in bidding for the Soccer World Cup event in 2010.



The weekly “Boeremark” (agricultural market) in Langenhovenpark is a not-to-be-missed event that treats Bloemfonteiners to a generous slice of life on the farm. Not only will you be able to buy everything for the week ahead - everything from home-baked goods and organic veggies to fresh-cut flowers and vacuum-sealed meat – there’s also tons to do, see and eat, making it the ideal way to kick off the weekend.




Child Welfare and Child Line is a non-profit organisation that was formed in Bloemfontein by a group of volunteers in 1914. Last year, this organisation turned 95 years old, and boasts a long list of successful community projects that have been implemented over the years.


Mangaung is the seventh biggest municipal area, and the sixth biggest continuous municipal residential area in South Africa.


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