Bloemfontein
An online tribute to the City of Roses


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Bloemfontein
This is an online tribute to the Free State city where I grew up after moving here in 1966. A Cameo of the city if you will. Most of the information here has been gleaned from the web using Google.com (2,220,000 hits on the word "bloemfontein") as well as from personal notes as I went along. As there are plenty of other sites with information on my home city please refer to all the links as well, I have tried to make them as comprehensive as possible, but as you see it was a difficult process to wade through so many webpages, this was a summary of the first 15 google pages

Founded
Origin of name
History & Trivia
Economy
Location
Links
Accommodation
For The Hungry
To Do
Tourist Attractions
Tourist Information
Visit summary

Founded
Rudolph Marthinus Brits left the Garden Route town of Swellendam in the 1820.s and crossed the Orange River in search of better grazing for his cattle. In 1840 he found a favourable site near a strong fountain and bartered a piece of land from the local tribal chief. His nephew joined him and over the years dug an irrigation channel to the orchard and his wife.s flower garden. This fountain proved to be a popular stop over with the migrating Voortrekkers and passing travellers.

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Origin of name
The name of the capital of the Free State is a particularly pretty one, meaning "spring of flowers". Not quite as aesthetic as its name suggests, it is, nevertheless, an attractive, spacious medium-sized city with many parks, gardens and monuments.
To these people the area became known as Bloemfontein (flower fountain), and it has also been called .the city of roses.. The Sotho tribes called it Mangaung, place of the leopard, but there are none to be found there now. However in the last year a few sightings and capture of large male has happened. This spotted cat is making a comeback in the Free State and is not endangered like the Cheetah. Personally I believe the refrence to leopard is incorrect as the Sotho word for leopard means either a Cheetah or Leopard or any spotted cat for that matter.

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History & Trivia
See the links for more information: In 1854 the Orange Free State was created, with Bloemfontein as the capital but the first elected president was accused of treason and forced to resign. It was under the 4th president Johannes Brand in 1863 began his 25-year term as president, and it was during this time that Bloemfontein grew from being a struggling frontier town, in constant danger of being wiped out by Moshoeshoe's warriors, to a wealthy little capital city with railway links to the coast. As the fledgling republic started to develop into a model state.
Its growth was boosted by the discovery of diamonds at Kimberley and gold at the Witwatersrand, when it became a major transport centre. Today the town is a focal point for most of the surface transport systems in the country. Approximately a dozen roads radiate in all directions and Bloemfontein boasts the largest railway workshop in the country. The city is also an educational centre of note with several English and Afrikaans high schools and colleges attaining reputations for excellence.
During the Anglo Boer War, M T Steyn was President of the Republic of the Orange Free State, as it was known at the time. In 1880 Bloemfontein became a municipality, with Robert Innes elected as the first mayor. Bloemfontein.s status was considerably enhanced in 1919, when it was named the judicial capital of the Union of South Africa, and even more so when it finally acquired city status in 1945. It was the discovery of gold and the subsequent exploration of the goldfields in the northern region, which shifted the city.s development from that of an agricultural settlement into the steadily thriving commercial and industrial city it is today.

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Location
Bloemfontein is the provincial capital and South Africa's judicial capital. As well as the legal community there is a university, technicon, large military base and airforce base, so you can meet a wide range of people.
The central area is laid out on a grid and Hoffman square is the centre of the downtown area. To the northeast is Naval Hill where there are good views of the town and surrounding plains and hills called "Koppies" or "Rantjies".
The interior of South Africa is quite dry, so it is not surprising that the early inhabitants chose to stay close to dependable water sources and that many of the towns have names ending with "-fontein", meaning spring.
Bloemfontein - N1 southern route, Centrally located, Bloemfontein, the provincial capital known as the 'City of Roses', is the gateway to the whole of the Free State.
Above and maps exerpt from;
http://www.south-african tourism.org/suggested_tours/free_state.htm
Courtesy;
http://www.south-african-tourism.org



Location of the Free State in South Africa



Location of Edenburg in the Free State - click image to view map (407k)

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Economy
You


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Links
http://webcam.bfn.co.za/ http://www.geocities.com/assabfn/pictures_bfn.htm http://hentie.freeyellow.com/ http://bloemnet.co.za/
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Tourist Information
Tourist information. Bloemfontein Tourist Information Office: Tourism Centre, PO BOx 639, Bloemfontein 9300, 60 Park Road, Willows. Tel: 051 405 8489/90 Fax: 051 447 3859. Bloemfontein Tourist Centre Park Road, PO BOx 20120, Wilows Bloemfontein 9320 Tel & Fax: 051 447 8447 Cell: 082 4152 277 ( Marius ) E-mail: srt@internext.co.za A geat place to start your websearch on information on our city is; http://www.bloemfontein.co.za/ http://www.airports.co.za/acsa/blm/blm_home.html http://www.linx.co.za/bloemfontein/ http://www.roekeloos.co.za/reis/bloemfontein.html
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Tourist Attractions
The Orchid House Franklin Game Reserve and Observatory It is othe only game reserve in a city centre to be known in South Africa. This reserve is home to a selection of indigenous game including springbok, zebra, blesbok and eland, as well as a number of birds. The Lamont Hussey Observatory, inside the game reserve, has been converted into an intimate theatre. Against the south-eastern slopes of Naval Hill is the well known white horse. This horse was laid out during the Anglo Boer War by the men of the Wiltshire Remount Dept as a landmark for horseman coming in from the plains More then 4000 rose trees have been planted in the rose gardens in Kings Park, which was opened in 1925 by the Prince of Wales. The Bloemfontein Zoo is also in this park, well known for it's large collection of primates. The most unusual animal is the liger, the only example of a cross breed of a lion and a tiger. The Sand du Plessis Theatre and Opera House is one of the most modern in the world. The City Hall one of numerous impressive sandstone buildings. This building with its unusual hall was designed by Sir Gordon Leith. The National Museum http://www.nasmus.co.za/INDEX.HTM On the corner of Charles and Aliwal Sts, is open daily between 8am and 5pm(1 to 6pm on Sunday); entry is R3. The most interesting display is a re-creation of a 9thcentury street. Tel: 051 447 9609 Now restored as a military museum, Queens Fort was built in 1848 during the Free State-Basutho Wars.The fort, on Church St south of the stream near the corner of Goddard St, is open (free) on weekends and Monday from 8 am to 4 p.m. Military Museum Of the Boer Republics is devoted to the Anglo-Boer Wars. It is open from 9 am to 4.30 p.m. on weekdays, 9 am to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday; admission is R2. The museum is south of the centre, on Monument Rd. From Hoffman Square bus Nos. 14 and16 run to or near the museum. http://andromeda.marques.co.za/clients/museum/ National Women's Monument Located along Monument Rd. Tel: 051 447 3447 open from 8am-4:30pm in weekdays and 9:30-4:30 in weekends. Is built at the military museum, commemorates the Afrikaner women and children who died in British concentration camps during the Anglo-Boer Wars. Emily Hobhouse, the British hero who alerted the world to this infamy, is buried here. The National Afrikaans Literature Museum Located at Cnr President Brand & Maitland Sts. Tel: 051 405 4711, open 7:30am-4:30 Mon-Fri, 9am-noon Sat. The Museum is in the Old Government building on the corner of President Brand and Elizabeth Sts. It houses an Afrikaans research centre and has displays on Afrikaans literature. It is open on weekdays and Saturday morning (free). President Brand Statue If you head south down President Brand Street from Charles St, the city hall 1934, with its reflecting pool, is on the right. On the next block, on the same side of the road, is the Appeal Court (1929). Opposite the court is the Fourth Raadsaal 1893, which was the parliament house of the Free State republic . On the corner of Elizabeth St is the Old Government building 1908 and diagonally opposite, on the block between Mainland and St Andrew, is the Jubileum Building & Hall. The building was designed as a coffeehouse and meeting place for young people. Further down, on the corner of Fontein St, are the fire station 1933 and the imposing Supreme Court 1906. Just north of corner of St George's St, the Old presidency is a grand Victorian style building. Free State presidents once lived here, in what must have seemed extraordinary opulence. The museum is open from 10 am to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and from 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends free. On St George's St, just east of President Brand St, is the first Raadsaal, the original parliament house still with its thatched roof and dung floors. Visiting hours are from 10.15 am to 3 p.m. on weekdays, 2 to 5 p.m. on weekends. The Botanical Gardens This is divided into formal gardens, natural woodlands and wetlands. Soetdorting Nature Reserve Just north of Bloemfontein, Soetdoring Nature Reserve is home to Burchell's zebra, blesbok, springbok and wildebeest, as well as many birds, including martial eagles and secretary birds. Something that put us on the map a while, although last season for some reason they decided to roost somewhere else: http://www.nasmus.co.za/ORNITHOL/swallow1.html The Waterfront is a popular gathering place and watering hole for the Bloemfontein fauna and flora, here are a few pictures; http://www.ofm.co.za/Gallery/Waterfront.asp
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To Do
Enjoy world class performances at the Sand du Plessis Theatre and Opera House Enjoy game and bird watching in the Franklin Game Reserve and Observatory Skydiving at the Tempe Airfield Have a round of golf at the Bloemfontein Golf Club Fly Fishing Abseiling Hiking 4x4 Route Paintball; Hunting Horse Riding Theatre: Sand du Plessis Theatre, Markgraaf and St. Andrew Streets, PO BOx 1292, Bloemfontein, Tel: 051 47 77 71 Bloemfontein hosts important cricket, soccer and rugby games. The Rose Festival - this link is a bit oudated ** http://minotaur.marques.co.za/rosefestival/ Our gliding club http://home.shisas.co.za/bgc/ For those entrepid souls that fly without wings and want to experience the Ultimate Dirt Experience, MotoX, Enduro and now Quad Racing at BORC/Bloemfontein Off Road Club's fine facilities situated ajacent to the Tempe Airfield, you can always find someone raising dust there most weekends and on Wednesday afternoons. http://www.borc.co.za Sports Facilities

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Accommodation
Accommodation. Innes Guest House, situated on the peaceful northern slopes of Naval Hill. 29 Innes Ave. Waverley, Bloemfontein. Tel: 051 433 1555, Fax: 433 1661. Leppe-Le Garden , Unit Self -catering, Cosy, 14 Usmar Str. Fichardt Park. Tel: 051 522 7898/405 8489. Libri Guest house, 7 Deryck Nel Str.Bloemfontein 9301. Tel: /Fax: 051 522 8179. Olienhout Gastehuis, 9 Dean Ave. Waverley. Cell: 082 775 0237, Tel/Fax: 051 447 0453 Stanville The Inn, 85 Zastron Str. Bloemfontein. Tel: 051 447 7471, Fax: 477 7514, E-mail: stinville@global.co,za Staley Guest House, E-mail: staley@intecom.co.za Stadium Inn, Tel. 051 447 4747, Park Rd. City Lodge ,Tel. 051 447 9888, on the corner of Henry St and Parfitt Ave. The Cecil Hotel ,Tel. 051 448 1155, on St Andrews, opposite Hoffman Square. Holiday Inn Garden, Court Bloemfontein 051 47 0310, on Zastron St west of the intersection with Voortrekker. Hotel Bloemfontein ,Tel. 051 30 1911, in Sanlam Plaza on East Burger St. Caravan and Camping Parks Dagbreek Caravan park on Andries Pretorius St has tent sites, and rooms in old railway coaches. 800m out on the Petrusburg/Kimberley Rd is the Bloemfontein Caravan Park, with caravan and camping sites Two km out on the Petrusburg/Kimberley Rd is the new Reyneke Park, with caravan sites Hostels. Taffy's Backpackers at 18 Louis Botha St, Waverley, is in a private home it describes itself as a B&B for overseas travelers and has dorms. Bed and Breakfast Guesthouses B&Bs/guesthouses are the best option. The tourist office has an up-to-date list and makes bookings. The Lions Den Tel. 082 416 0571 or 051 436 6561 after hours, 6 Captain Dawson St, is a fully equipped two-bedroom flat. http://ase.net/servlet/SearchHotel/902/-29.13/26.2/Bloemfontein
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For The Hungry
Restaurants. Steak-lovers have the usual wide choice , including Camelot Carvery, 149 Voortrekker St; Streers, 200 Zastron Rd; Beef Baron, 22 Second Ave , Westdene, 9301. Road map D3, Tel: 051 447 4290 Lita's Restaurant, Tredenham Guesthouse, Eeufees Rd., 9301, Tel: 051 433 1285 Schillac Trattoria on Zastron Rd is a good Italian restaurant. On the corner of Kellner St and Second Ave Tweedelaan is Characters, a fairly lively but expensive Italian restaurant with a pleasant bar. My personal favourite is the seafood specialists Catch22 in the Mimosa Mall, hovever there are so many more it would take a special page! It is said Bloemfontein has the highest rate of restaurants per capita in the southern hemisphere, we obviosly like eating out here in the hinterland!
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Visit summary
Some ramblings as I live here. This is the greatest city in Africa as far as I am concerned, being virtually in the centre of South Africa, one can go for day trips as well as reach most places of intrest in the country within a day's hard driving, hey! Make the trip part of the visit and take two days I say.
Radio Stations OFM (Radio Oranje) http://www.ofm.co.za/ Radio Rosestad
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