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10 Things to do in Bloem


Bloemfontein (meaning a fountain of flowers) is located in the Free State province of South Africa. Bloemfontein is the seat of the Appeal Court and therefore the 'judicial capital' of South Africa and is informally known as the City of Roses.

Not perhaps the first place one would think of when planning a South African holiday, as one usually thinks of Cape Town, KwaZulu Natal, the Garden Route of vibey Johannesburg, Bloemfontein has a charm of its own and there is plenty to do for those who enjoy nature, history and art and culture. Bloemfontein is also the birthplace of JRR Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.



1. Naval Hill: Visit the ‘Centre of Bloemfontein’ – Naval Hill. Situated in the middle of the Franklin Game Reserve which itself is right in the centre of the city of Bloemfontein. From Naval Hill one has an incredible view of the whole city in every direction. Entry is free.

2. Free State National Botanical Gardens: Another place of natural beauty, you can take in the beautiful landscaped gardens by daylight or join a moonlight walk along the paved walkways. Nature talks are offered for those who wish to expand their botanical knowledge. Call: 051 436 3612

3. Anglo Boer War Museum & Women's Memorial: Bloemfontein has much to offer the history lover and the Anglo Boer War Museum won’t disappoint. Step back in time to experience the volatile hostilities that shook the country over a century ago. Be sure to visit the Emily Hobhouse Hall where you can learn about this amazing woman who, by her selfless and courageous actions, exposed the inhumanity of concentration camps during the Anglo-Boer war. Call: 051 447 0079

4. Bloemfontein National Museum: From ancient fossils to the world’s rarest fly (it has no wings…), African cultures to a monster Nile Crocodile model, there’s something for everyone at this treasure trove of a museum. Website:

5. Boyden Observatory: Explore the night sky with the13 inch Alvin Clark refractor – the 3rd largest telescope in SA. Entrance is by prior arrangement. Website:

6. Oliewenhuis Art Museum: Located in a Neo-Dutch manor, the Oliewenhuis Art Museum is a satellite of the National Museum (above). There is a permanent exhibition boasting a wonderful selection of South African art including an outdoor sculpture park and a working African Carousel. Temporary exhibitions throughout the year. Call: 051 447 9609

7. Cheetah Experience: Encounter these beautiful animals, as well as tigers and leopards - in this sanctuary.  The Cheetah Experience is an NPO that is creating an awareness for an endangered specie through a breeding project as well as educating school-going children about the dangers these animals face and can be done to prevent them from extinction. Visit:Cheetah Experience Facebook Page

8. Township Tour: Enjoy an organised tour into the vibrant Mangaung Township. Enjoy local beer and a vibrant nightlife. In October, the Macufe Mangaung African Culture Festival is a must – join the 140 000 other visitors to this annual event. Call: 051 430 7974

9. Choet Visser Rugby Museum: Bloemfontein’s residents are crazy about sport - especially rugby. This city is home of the Cheetahs and also home to a rugby museum! This is the largest private rugby museum in the world! Worth a visit for sports fans. Visit by appointment only. Call: 082 492 1600

10. Mystic Boer Pub: Enjoy a ‘dop’ or grab a burger at this kitsch, fun venue. Live music and DJs, pool tables and a full restaurant, plus a crowd that knows how to have a jol. Call: 051 430 2206.

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Portfolio Collection offers a selection of Free State and Bloemfontein accommodation.

Contact us for bookings and more information.

Feel free to add YOUR recommendations of things to do in Bloem to our comment section below.