Bloemfontein Tourist Attractions

Bloemfontein, the "city of roses" and Boer stronghold, is capital of the Free State and its economic and cultural center. As the seat of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court it is also South Africa's judicial capital.

Bloemfontein City Hall

Opposite the National Museum is the City Hall designed by Sir Gordon Leithe, 1935, which is decorated with Italian marble and intarsia work in Burmese wood.

City Center

Naval Hill

To the northeast the central area extends almost to Naval Hill, which is reached on a street branching off Union Avenue. Since 1930 this low hill has been occupied by the Franklin Nature Reserve (area 250ha/620ac), with antelopes, zebras and giraffes.
From Naval Hill there is a fine view of the city. Also on the hill is the former Lamont Hussey Observatory, now converted into a theater. The large white sculpture of a horse on the east side of the hill was set up during the Boer War and served as a landmark for the British cavalry

Orchid House

The Orchid House in Hamilton Park, at the foot of Naval Hill, has the largest collection of orchids in South Africa.

King's Park

In King's Park, which was opened by the Prince of Wales in 1925, is a rose garden with over 4,000 rose bushes. An arts and crafts market is held here on the first Saturday in every month.
The western part of the King's Park is occupied by Bloemfontein Zoo. The most unusual inhabitant is a "liger", a cross between an African lion and a Bengal tiger.

Military Museum

The Queen's Fort, originally established on this site in 1848 was rebuilt shortly before the outbreak of the Boer War. It is now occupied by the Military Museum, which illustrates the role of the South African army in the two world wars. There are also displays of weapons, including the legendary Mauser, and photographs of the 1914 rebellion.

Sand du Plessis Theatre

The Sand du Plessis Theatre (1985), with 950 seats, is the venue throughout the year for opera, ballet, drama and concerts.

H. F. Verwoerd Building

The H. F. Verwoerd Building has brilliant stained glass windows composed of over 17,000 pieces of glass.

President Swart Park

The city center is bounded on the west by two parks, President Swart Park and the King's Park. In President Swart Park are the Free State Stadium, with seating for 35,000 spectators, the venue for major sporting events, as well as a heated swimming pool, tennis courts, playgrounds and a camping site.

Oliewenhuis Art Gallery

In a Cape Dutch mansion is the Oliewenhuis Art Gallery, a satellite of the National Museum in Bloemfontein. The Oliewenhuis concentrates exclusively on South African art ranging from the old masters to contemporary paintings and sculpture.
Address: 16 Harrismith Street, South Africa

National Women's Memorial

This 37m/120ft high obelisk on the south side of Bloemfontein commemorates the 26,000 women and children who died in British concentration camps during the Boer War. In the base of the monument is an urn containing the ashes of Emily Hobhouse, an Englishwoman who campaigned for better treatment of the internees.

War Museum of the Boer Republics

War Museum of the Boer Republics is dedicated to the Boer forces which took part in the Boer War. The exhibits include weapons and other objects of the period.
Address: Monument Road, Bloemfontein, Free State 9301, South Africa

Surroundings

Botanic Gardens

At Bloemfontein's Botanical Gardens (area 45ha/110ac) visitors can get a general picture of the vegetation of the highveld. Also of interest are the petrified tree trunks many millions of years old. Part of the area is a carefully tended park, with a lake, but in by far the larger part the natural vegetation has been left as it was.
Address: Rayton Road, off Dan Pienaar Drive, Danhof, Free State 9310, South Africa

Soetdoring Nature Reserve

On the Modder River is the Soetdoring Nature Reserve. Within its area of 4,117ha/10,170ac, which includes Krugersdrif Dam, live large numbers of water birds and other wild life, including lions and cheetahs which have recently been reintroduced.

Aventura Maselspoort

At Maselspoort, on the Modder River, is an attractive holiday center, with a wide range of leisure activities and a variety of accommodation for visitors.

Supreme Court

Bloemfontein's Supreme Court (1906) is a large, stately building, elegantly adorned both inside and out.
Address: Box 258, Bloemfontein, Free State 9300, South Africa
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