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Bloemfontein Travel Tips, South Africa

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Bloemfontein is the judicial capital of South Africa, one of the three national capitals of the country besides Cape Town and Pretoria. It is located in a dry grassland some 1,395 m (4,577 ft) above sea level, and has a population of 370,000 people (2011 estimate). Bloemfontein is also the provincial capital of Free State Province.

When British army major Henry Douglas Warden built a fort in 1846 on the site that became Bloemfontein, there was already an Afrikaner settlement. The town was made capital of Orange Free State Republic in 1854. That was when it acquired many of its public buildings. It is the seat of the Supreme Court of Appeal, hence making it the judicial capital of South Africa.

Today Bloemfontein has a reputation for being a city of flowers, particularly roses. Its name is Dutch for "fountain of flowers". It experiences a semi-arid climate with hot summers and cool, dry winters. The hottest month is January, when the average high temperature rises to 31°C. Coldest months are June and June, with average low temperature of -1°C.

The Fourth Raadsaal (Free State's provincial legislature) and Monument to Christiaan de Wet, BloemfonteinThe Fourth Raadsaal (Free State's provincial legislature) and Monument to Christiaan de Wet, Bloemfontein
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Eiffel Tower replica, BloemfonteinEiffel Tower replica, Bloemfontein
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Visiting Bloemfontein

Bloemfontein Airport (BFN) receives flights from Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

Places of Interest in Bloemfontein

  1. First Raadsaal
    The oldest building in Bloemfontein, this simple structure housed the people's council, or Volksraad.
  2. Franklin Nature Reserve
    Nature reserve at Naval Hill. There was an observatory here that operated from 1928 until 1972, during which time it helped discover some 7,000 star systems.
  3. King's Park and Zoo
    Landscaped park with a small zoo on the western edge of town.
  4. National Museum
    Museum showcasing an outstanding collection of fossils and dinosaur bones. There is also a reconstruction of a Bloemfontein street from the 19th century.
  5. National Museum for Afrikaans Literature
    Museum celebrating leading Afrikaan writers.
  6. National Women's Memorial and War Museum
    Memorial to the Boer and Black African women and children who perished in the British concentration camps during the South African War.
  7. Old Presidency
    1861 building occupying the site of Major Warden's farm.
  8. Oliewenhuis Art Gallery
    Gallery on Harry Smith Street displaying an outstanding collection of South African art.
  9. President Brand Street
    Major street in Bloemfontein lined with historical buildings such as the Appeal Court and the Fourth Raadsaal.
  10. Soetdoring Nature Reserve
    Nature reserve bordering the Krugerdrif Dam and home to a rich collection of wildlife.
  11. Tweetoringkerk
    Literally the two-spired church, this is a Dutch Reformed church built in 1881 in the Gothic style.

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