The name Bloemfontein translates into ‘Fountain of Flowers’, surprisingly appropriate given Bloem’s location in the centre of the semi-arid Free State province. The small city is in fact surrounded by dry, rolling grassland, punctuated only by the occasional small koppie or hill, but once within its bounds, the scenery changes. You might like to consider booking accommodation in Bloemfontein if flowers, especially roses make your heart sing.
Known as the ‘City of Roses’, Bloem’s streets are lined with 1000’s of rose bushes, meaning the whole city blooms every spring, filling it with the scent and colour of flourishing flowers. This is also the time of year when it hosts its annual Rose Festival drawing rose-lovers from all over the country and Bloemfontein accommodation becomes hard to come by.
Apart from roses, Bloemfontein also plays host to the largest collection of orchids in the world. You can find these orchids in Hamilton Park, which nestles at the foot of Naval Hill, a small nature reserve in the northern reaches of the city. This hill is well-known in the city as it offers the best bird’s eye view of the settlement.
Other attractions in and around Bloemfontein include the Boyden Astronomical Observatory and the annual Volksblad Arts Festival which happens in July every year.