Located in the Free State of South Africa, Bloemfontein is situated at the heart of the country. This central location makes it ideal as the judicial capital of the country, as well as a stopping point for travellers between the far reaches of South Africa especially Johannesburg and Cape Town via the N1 route. Sadly, most travel through Bloemfontein without stopping to appreciate this heartland city.
The Free State is the homeland of the Afrikaans Culture, and Bloemfontein is no different. There are numerous monuments, such as the National Women's Memorial (Vrouemonument). This monument commemorates the suffering of over 27,000 Boer (Afrikaans) women and children who died during the Second Boer War in British concentration camps.
Rugby is a celebrated sport all over South Africa, and the Free State Stadium hosts many Super 15 Rugby events throughout the year with the Toyota Cheetah's being the local team. The Cheetah's is a fitting name for the favoured sports team, because Bloemfontein's Sesotho name is Mangaung which means "place of the cheetahs".
Despite being situated in an area of dry grassland, Bloemfontein is home to the Botanical Gardens, as well as an Orchid House. Bloemfontein also hosts an annual rose festival. More than 4000 rose trees have been planted in the rose gardens in Kings Park, and many businesses and cultural clubs display a rose in their emblems.
Being a city that is central to both the Free State province and South Africa, Bloemfontein serves as a geographical wonder for overnight travellers. This has given much scope and attention to the accommodation, restaurant & shopping tourism industries and in the past 20 years the city has seen many tourism inspired businesses spring up.
A trip to Bloemfontein would not be complete without going for a jog on Naval Hill and a trip to the Saturday morning Boeremark in Langenhoven Park.
How about some family friendly entertainment? Masselspoort water park & Gwen Bali water world offer fun in the sun for children of all ages during the summer and the Pretty Gardens nursery has a play park to keep the children entertained while mom has a coffee (or mock tail) with her girl-friends.
Are you looking for a place to study? The University of the Free State offers multiple courses, and has an excellent medical department situated right by the Universitas hospital. There is also the Central University of Technology which is close to the suburb known as Willows.
There is a saying among University students: "You cry twice in Bloemfontein, once when your parents make you move here, and once when you have to leave." So don't underestimate Bloemfontein, this little city in the center of South Africa has made itself at home in many people's hearts.