Known as the 'City of Roses', Bloemfontein is a small interior city that forms the economic and cultural centre of the Free State and is the judicial capital of South Africa. With wide streets, beautifully kept gardens, and historic state buildings, Bloemfontein is a modern city with an old-fashioned charm.
Surrounded by rural farmland for many miles in every direction, the metropolis is the central transport hub for the rest of the country and is visited mainly as a stopover to other destinations. While visiting, tourists can stroll down the historic, tree-lined President Brand Street, which has been declared a national conservation area, and admire the architecture of the old sandstone government buildings. One of the major centres of activity in Bloemfontein is the man-made Loch Logan Waterfront, which offers a range of shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs and is the place to be after dark.
The Oliewenhuis Art Gallery is also a worthy attraction as it houses magnificent work by both traditional and contemporary South African artists. There are a number of wildlife reserves in the area, including Caledon, Franklin, Soetdoring Dam, and others.
Bloemfontein also has several good golf courses, and a zoo that the kids will enjoy. Travellers should visit the beautiful Free State National Botanical Gardens, and have a look at the Free State Stadium, the largest structure in town, which hosted five games for the 2010 World Cup. The monthly art market in Kings Park, the annual Rose Festival in October, and the agricultural show in March all pull crowds from around South Africa as well as visiting tourists.