The capital city of the Free State Province, Bloemfontein has the laid-back, friendly vibe of a country town. Hanging with the locals is a must because people here still believe in old-fashioned hospitality and traditions. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation – it’s the best way to find the 'in' spots.
Sunny most of the year, Bloemfontein activities that are encouraged by the clear skies include cycling, quad biking and barbecuing anywhere near water (swimming pool, dam or river). A great way to wind down the day is taking a leisurely drive to a favourite lookout spot like Naval Hill to salute the sunset with something cold and enjoy the star-strewn night sky that follows.
Bloemfontein's live entertainment scene is a fun way to access local culture, as are restaurants that serve regional specialties like fragrant Free State grilled lamb and farmers’ sausage (called “boerewors”). The Free State’s Golden Gate National Park is a major highlight and offers up scenery not to be missed – it’s definitely worth the drive and can be counted as a Bloemfontein attraction.
Sporty types can use their time out for a game of tennis or bowls, a leisurely cycle or a short hike. If you like to be pampered, there’s always the massage table and the spa. On weekends, locals flock to Maselspoort, a green spot on the Modder River where parents can stoke the barbecue fires while the young ones explore the surrounds.
Bloemfontein is home to some of the country’s most beautiful gardens and parks. Don’t miss out on the Botanical Gardens with its esteemed orchid house, where thousands of these tropical plants flourish. King’s Park just west of the city centre is home to the zoo and Loch Logan – good for a morning stroll, a browse through the market and a light lunch at the water.