Some of Our Main Attractions
Bloemfontein's open spaces reflect the openness of its people- friendly, warm and quietly dignified.
Bloemfontein incorporates a unique blend of rural tranquility and vibrant city life. An unexpected game reserve in the inner city, beautiful rose gardens, suburban parks, a zoo, game reserves and sport facilities are part of the rich diversity on offer within the boundaries of the Bloemfontein Local Municipality. Theatres, restaurants, pubs, and shopping and entertainment complexes provide relaxation for visitors during their stay. Outdoor and adventure tours are within easy reach given the number of resorts, game reserves and dams in the area.
Township tours provide a glimpse of important locations and venues that represent decisive moments in Bloemfontein's and even South Africa's history, for example a visit to Batho where the ANC was founded in 1912 and Maphikela House where Thomas Maphikela, a founder member of the ANC, resided. Some of these tours include the opportunity to experience the vibrant township night life in a variety of jazz clubs and taverns where visitors can taste traditional African home-brewed beer.
All of these and other tourism-related activities emphasize that Bloemfontein has everything a metropolis can offer, including the personal service, hospitality and warmth often lacking in major cities.
The following is information on Parks, Government Buildings, Historical Buildings, Museums, Historical Locations, Art & Culture Venues, Eco Tourism, Places of Interest, Sport & Recreation, Arts, Craft & Farm Markets, Sports Facilities, Shopping, Tertiary Education Facilities, Transport Facilities and Medical Facilities available to tourists in Bloemfontein:
State President Swart Park The facilities at this park form the focal point for sports activities in Bloemfontein. A rugby stadium (where soccer matches are also played), as well as a cricket stadium, athletics stadium, hockey stadium, tennis courts and cycling track are accommodated in this area. King's Park Bloemfontein is know as the 'City of Roses' and more than 4000 rose trees have been planted in the rose garden in King's Park, which was opened in 1925 by the Prince of Wales. The popular art market is also held in King's Park on a monthly basis. Both the Canadian and Scottish Memorials can be found here. Location: King's Way National, Provincial and Local Government Buildings
The Appeal Court was completed in 1929 and serves as the highest court in South Africa. The stinkwood-paneled courtroom itself is probably the most magnificent in the country, while the judges' library adds dignity to the already outstanding building. Bloemfontein has been South Africa's judicial capital since 1910. No entrance fee. Location:
c/o Pres. Brand & Charles; entrance in Elizabeth Str.
Hours: By appointment only. Telephone: 051- 447 2631
The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court, opposite the Fire Station in President Brand Street, is the seat of the provincial court of law. The magnificent interior merits a visit. Civil, as well as criminal cases, from all over the Free State are heard
here. It was built in 1909 at a cost of 60 000 British Pounds. The Magistrate's Court is situated opposite the Old Presidency and forms part of the historical President Brand Street. No entrance fee. Location: c/o Pres. Brand & Fontein.
Hours: By appointment only. Telephone: 051- 447 8837
The Fourth Raadsaal
In the 1800s the Fourth Raadsaal, an impressive and well-designed classical structure, housed the legislature of the Former Republic of the Orange Free State. The building is presently the home of the Free State Provincial Legislature. Location: c/o Pres. Brand Str & Charles.
Hours: By appointment only. Telephone: 051- 430 1780
This building, with an extraordinary stained glass and concrete panel especially visible at night, houses offices of the Free State Provincial Government.
CR Swart Building
The magnificent high rise building, houses the Free State Provincial Administration and the head office of the Performing Arts Council of the Free State.
Bram Fischer Building
This modern glass construction was inaugurated in 1992 and serves as the headquarters of the Bloemfontein Local Municipality.
The City Hall is one of the impressive sandstone buildings designed by Sir Gordon Leith. It is located in President Brand Street, which has been declared a national conservation area in its entirety. Location: c/o Pres. Brand & Charles.
Hours: 08:00 - 14:15 Telephone: 051- 405 8911 Web: http://www.bloemfontein.co.za/
GA Fichardt Library
The Public Library houses an interesting Africana collection as well as an unique drama library.
National Afrikaans Literature Museum
This building that originally accommodated the government structures of the Republic of the Orange Free State in the 1800, is remiscent of the old Cape-Dutch architecture in the area. The National Afrikaans Literature Museum, with the largest collection of Afrikaans literature and manuscripts, as well as artifacts that belonged to well-known Afrikaans writers, are housed in this building. No entrance fee. Location: c/o Pres. Brand & Maitland.
The Old Presidency
This interesting building dating from the 1800s was previously the official residence of he presidents of the former Republic of the Orange Free State. No entrance fee. Location: c/o Pres Brand & St George.
This humble, thatched-roof building with a dung floor was erected in 1849. Since then it served as a church, conference chamber, parliament house and school for the inhabitants of Bloemfontein and the Free State. Documentation relating the origin of Bloemfontein can be seen in this museum. The Wagon Museum behind First Raadsaal is also well worth the visit. Location: St. George Str.
Hours: Mon-Fri: 09:00 - 13:00, Sat & Sun: 14:00 - 17:00
Telephone: 051- 447 9610 Web: http://www.nasmus.co.za/
This building is the only twin-spire Dutch Reformed Church in Southern Africa. The building was completed during 1880 on the site of a much smaller church of which the famous Rev. Andrew Murray was the minister.
Here the last three presidents of the former Republic of the Orange Free State took oath of office. Location: Charles Street.
Hours: By appointment only. Telephone: 051- 430 4274
This cathedral is regarded as the spiritual heart of Bloemfontein's Anglican community and the city's founder, Major Henry Douglas Warden, laid ts foundation stone 1850. Location: St. George Str.
Hours: By appointment only. Telephone: 051- 448 2961
Thomas Maphikela was one of the founder members and also member of the executive committee of the ANC in Bloemfontein in 1935. His double-storey house, where important ANC meetings were held, had been declared a National Monument.
Location: Morakile Str, Bochabela
These houses were built in 1952 to coincide with the visit of King George V to Bloemfontein in order to conceal the squatter settlements in the area.
Location: Namane Street, Batho Location. Museums
Free State Education Museum
This museum serves as an archive for the Free State Department of Education and can
be visited by appointment only. The museum was opened on 26 April 1986. Approach the Tourist Centre (051- 405 8489/90) for contact details to arrange a visit.
This house was built in 1897 by architect John Edward Harrison. It has been restored and furnished by the National Museum and offers visitor sa glimpse into to lifestyle of the 1890s. Location: 31 Kellener Str. Hours: Mon-Fri: 10:00 - 13:00, Sat & Sun: 14:00 - 17:00 Telephone: 051- 447 9609 Entrance:
The National Museum accommodates one of the most extensive collections of fossils and
archaeological artifacts in South Africa, for example the Florisbad skull- highly significant to archaeologists who
concentrate on the study of pre-historic man. Exhibitions also include a realistically created street scene from the early 1900s.
Location: c/o Aliwal & Charles Streets. Hours: Mon-Fri: 08:00 - 17:00, Sat: 10:00 - 17:00, Sun: 12:00 - 17:30
Telephone: 051- 447 9609 Entrance: Web: http://www.nasmus.co.za/
Queen's Fort Military
Museum The Old Fort was erected in 1848 and originally housed the Artillery Unit of the Free State.
The museum depicts all major military conflicts in the Free State from 1820, as well as the struggle against apartheid. No entrance fee
Location: Church Street Hours: Mon-Fri: 10:00 - 16:00 Telephone: 051- 447 5478 Email:
National Women's Memorial and Anglo-Boer War Museum
This monument, created by Anton van Wouw, is a celebrated piece of South African sculpture. The 36,5m sandstone shrine is impressive in its simplicity and is dedicated to the memory of the women and children who died in the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). The museum on the same site exhibits an impressive collection of artifacts related to this war.
Choet Visser Rugby Museum
The Rugby Museum houses one of the largest private collections of rugby memorabilia in
the world. Approach the Tourist Centre (051- 405 8489/90) for contact details to arrange a visit.
Unit Museum: Special Service Battalion
This special battalion was established during the Great Depression in the 1930s
in order to "save the youth from a loss of self-confidence and the risk of moral and physical degeneration" caused by prolonged unemployment at the time. Articles in this military museum date back to the year 1933.
Military Base. Telephone: 051- 402 9111
S.A. Amour Museum
This museum displays a wide range of military armored vehicles and artillery. It consists of an indoor and outdoor area and a reference library. Location: Tempe Military Base. Telephone: 051- 402 1728
Free State Agricultural Museum
This living agricultural museum depicts daily farming activities and in so doing,
represents various aspects of farming culture to be preserved for future generations. Location: Gielie Joubert Str, Glen Hours: Mon-Fri: 07:30 - 15:30, Sat & Sun: Closed.
Bloem Toy Museum
Location: 53 Kmdt. Senekal Str., Dan Pienaar Hours: Wed, Fri, Sat: 09:00 - 17:00 OR By
appointment. Telephone: 051- 436 2544/072- 990 9189 Entrance:
Fire Brigade Museum Location:
Here a concrete column and mosaic city emblem heralds the fountain from which Bloemfontein got its name.
This imposing monument, opposite the City Hall and dedicated to General JBM Hertzog, a military officer in the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and eventually also a prominent figure in South African political history, comprises a statue and fountains created by sculptor Danie de Jager.
Hoffman Square lies between St Andrew Street and Maitland Street and from the centre of the CBD. The monument on the square was erected to commemorate Bloemfontein soldiers who died during the First and Second World Wars.
President Brand Cemetery and Presidents' Acre
Many men, women and children who had lost their lives in the Anglo-Boer War are buried in the President Brand cemetery. The Presidents' Acre that forms part of this cemetery is the final resting place for former State Presidents of South Africa.
Location: c/o President & Church St. Hours: Daily: 08:00 - 17:00
New Clare Township
This is the old residential section for the "colored" Community before they were forcefully removed to their current location in Heidedal.
Cleansing, Healing and Reparation Memorial
This memorial, situated on the grounds of the City Hall, serves as a symbol
of the sacrifices made by various individuals and groups in the Free State in the fight for freedom in various conflicts during the past centuries.
Location: City Hall, Nelson Mandela Drive.
Free State Youth Martyrs' Monument
Commemorating young people who lost their lives in the struggle against apartheid
is the focal point of this monument. Location: Nyokong Str, Bochabela
Dam of Tears
For those interested in the history of the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), a visit to this small dam that formed part of the Bloemfontein concentration camp for women and children is a must.
Naval Hill and the White Horse
A Naval Brigade was situated there for a considerable time during the Anglo Boer War to protect Bloemfontein against the boer invasions. The White Horse was laid by the men of a remount depot and was inspired by the famous white horse of their home country, Wiltshire. Location: Entrance from Union Avenue; White Horse can be seen from Andries Pretorius Str, against the slopes of Naval Hill.
Hours: 08:00 - 17:00 Art and Culture Venues
Sand du Plessis Theatre
Completed in 1985 at a cost of over R60 million, this is one of the most impressive theatres in South Africa. Work of art form part of the decor. Location: c/o Markgraaff & St. Andrew Hours: By appointment for a tour;
Tickets for performances are as advertised. Telephone: 051- 447 7771 Web: http://www.pacofs.co.za/
Located close to the Sand du Plessis complex, this theatre also stages a wide variety of quality productions presented here.
Wyand Mouton Theatre
Especially student productions are presented in this well-equipped theatre located on the
campus of the University of the Free State.
Oliewenhuis Art Gallery
This Neo Cape Dutch manor was originally erected to house the governors-general of the
province and later state presidents of South Africa during their visits to Bloemfontein. In 1985 this building was transformed into an art museum where impressive exhibits are on display. Location: Harry Smith Street. Hours: Mon-Fri: 08:00 - 17:00, Saturdays: 10:00 - 17:00, Sundays: 13:00 - 17:00 Telephone: 051- 447 9609 Entrance: free- enjoy the tea
Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery
This gallery is situated at the Sasol Library on the campus of the University of the Free
State and exhibits not only student art, but also works by other well-known artists. Location: Nelson Mandela Drive, Brandwag. Telephone: 051- 401 9111 Web: http://www.uofs.ac.za/
Mmabana Cultural Center
This center in Thaba Nchu exhibits and sells works by local artists.
Formerly known as Ramkraal, this centre house in an old prison. It serves as an education centre for arts, crafts and culture where local entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply their craft.
Location: Old Ramkraal Prison, Dr Belcher Road
Botsabelo Art & Craft Centre
A variety of African arts and crafts are on sale at this centre. Approach the Tourist Centre
(051- 405 8489/90) for contact details on numerous smaller art galleries and studios in the Bloemfontein area.Eco Tourism
Maria Moroka Game Reserve
This reserve is situated at the foot of the Thaba Nchu Mountain. Game viewing, picnicking, enviornmental education, fishing, game drives and bird watching can be enjoyed.
Bloemfontein Orchid House
This green house is one of the most modern of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. It houses a large collection of plants. No entrance fee. Location: Union Avenue.
This peaceful and well-maintained botanical garden is the only one of its kind in the Free State. Location: Entrance from Rayton Road.
Hours: Mon-Sun 08:00 - 18:00 Telephone: 051- 436 3530 Entrance: Adults
Franklin Game Reserve
Situated on Naval Hill in the Bloemfontein inner city, this reserve offers glimpses of several species of game and an expansive view of the city and surrounding countryside. Location: Entrance from Union Avenue. Telephone: 051- 405 8124
Fragrance Garden for the Blind
This garden, catering especially for the needs of visually impaired people, is situated at
the foot of Naval Hill.
In this zoo, interesting collections of birds and animals are well displayed in almost natural surroundings. The zoo, which commemorates its centenary, has the largest collection of primates in South Africa.
Location: King's Way. Hours: Summer: Daily: 08:00 - 18:00, Winter: Daily: 8:00 - 17:00 Telephone: 051- 405 8498/84
Soetdoring Nature Reserve and Predator Park
This reserve is only 45km from Bloemfontein and is an ideal place to
enjoy a family picnic or angle on the banks of the Modder River. The reserve also houses a predator park with lions and
Cape wild dogs, giving visitors the opportunity to see the feeding rituals of these wild animals. Location: Along the R700.
Hours: 08:00 - 17:00 Telephone: 051- 433 9002 Entrance: