The city of Bloemfontein in the Free State is situated almost in the middle of South Africa. It is the country’s seventh-largest city and judicial capital. However, Bloemfontein or “Bloem” (also called “Mangaung” in the local SeSotho language) is a city with a small-town feel.
Bloemfontein is affectionately known as the City of Roses for its floral display every spring. The city is also rich in history and culture, with many Victorian-era buildings, museums and markets, showcasing the work of local artists and creatives to explore. Sport is an institution here, so if you plan to visit when there’s a rugby or soccer match scheduled, book a ticket and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
Bloem receives summer rainfall and average temperatures are a sunny 26ºC. Be warned, it’s not uncommon for the mercury to exceed 30ºC on those sweltering Free State summer days. Average winter temperatures are a pleasant 16ºC and frost is common. Snow falls on the mountains and peaks of the province, outside of the city.
Bloemfontein is also a common stopover city between Cape Town and Gauteng. The drive from Johannesburg to Bloem takes around four hours, and from Bloem to Cape Town usually takes around six hours. For a quick domestic flight, the city’s Bram Fischer International Airport is served by South African Airways, British Airways and Mango.
Bloemfontein is a flower-filled garden that’s waiting to be explored. The city has many beautiful parks and nature reserves, which are perfect for a spring picnic and exploring.
And while flower species of varying kinds can be enjoyed year-round, many visitors time their visit around the popular Rose Festival. The city’s hot summers and frosty cold winters mean that the roses are best from late October and early November and the festival coincides with this.
Roses aside, shoppers, history buffs and art lovers will find a surprising number of diversions to delight in, in the city.
What to do in Bloemfontein
While the natural beauty of Bloemfontein natural beauty is evident in the many parks and gardens, the museums and historical sites are also not to be missed during your visit.
Where to stay in Bloemfontein
Where to eat in Bloemfontein