South Africa's city-on-a-hill, judicial capital and best-kept secret, Bloemfontein, also known as Bloem, the City of Roses, or Mangaung, this modern metropolis has retained its small-town charm.
Things To Do In Bloemfontein
- Star Gazing. South Africa’s first digital planetarium, opened in 2013, is the ideal place to view the wonders of the universe. Each show lasts an hour. Contact 051 401 9751 to book.
- Helicopter Tours. Tour the city of Roses in a helicopter. This pilot-guided tour of all the city has to offer, from the Bloemfontein CBD to its naturally beautiful surroundings, is not to be missed.
- Hot Air Ballooning. Floating silently over the city, or further afield, such as over the Vredefrort Dome (Unesco world heritage site) or Golden Gate national park, as the sun rises, is an unforgettable adventure. A mouthwatering breakfast served with sparkling wine awaits when you land.
Fun Things To Do In Bloemfontein
- The National Museum. This natural history, cultural history and art museum was established in 1877 and continues to provide hours of delight to visitors. Permanent exhibitions on display include African cultures, archaeology, geology, palaeontology and astronomy. The museum's paleantology and archaeology sections feature the only complete skeleton of the Euskelosaurus, the earliest known plant-eating dinosaur, anywhere in the world.
- The Oliewenhuis Art Museum features art that’s broadly representative of South Africa’s rich and diverse creative heritage. Guided museum tours are available, or take a stroll through it at your leisure.
- The Free State National Botanical Gardens. Situated among the dolerite hills of a breath-taking natural valley and stretching over 70 hectares, a hike in the Free State NBG takes you through indigenous African grasslands and woodlands. The kids will be amazed at the ‘petrified’ tree that is over 150 million years old. The Free State Botanical Society organises sunset concerts in the summer, romantic moonlight walks, and educational tours.
- Bagamoya Wildlife Estate. Located in Motheo in Bloemfontein, a visit to the Bagamoya Wildlife Estate is a chance to get up close and personal with some really big cats including lions, tigers and leopards. Why not take a game drive, watch the lions feeding, or relax at the Lioness Restaurant while the kids enoy some outdoor activities. The estate is home to 28 different types of buck, giraffe, hippo, lions, tigers, bat-eared foxes and loads, loads more.
- The Rose Garden Urban Flea Market. If shopping and indulging in the best, most creative local foodie fare, arts and crafts is your thing, and a picnic lunch while you enjoy fabulous homegrown live music is on top of your holiday To Do List, then the legendary Rose Garden Urban Flea Market is the place to be. Open every Saturday.
- Loch Logan Waterfront. This upmarket shopping mall in the heart of Bloemfontein is home to a wide variety of stores from high fashion to lifestyle, as well as your pick of fine dining and thrilling entertainment venues. Shops include CAN, Baby City, Guess, YDE, Woolworths and Aldo. Restaurants include Ocean Basket, The Raj, Fresko Gelato and Cinnabon.
- The Orchid House. Immerse yourself in another, wildly sensuous world inside this magnificent glass-domed garden which is home to a stunningly large collection of hundreds of rare and beautiful orchids. The Orchid House is in Hamilton Park.
Bloemfontein experiences warm, dry weather in the summer months (October to February) while temperatures can drop below freezing in the winter months when frost and snow is not uncommon.
Best Time Of Year To Visit Bloemfontein
The best time to enjoy the gardens is in spring and summer months (October to February) when the flowers are in bloom.