Photo by: Wikimedia, Creative Commons

Bloemfontein is one of South Africa’s three capital cities. This is home of the South African judiciary branch and is home to roughly 369,000 residents. It lies just west of Lesotho, the country surrounded by South African territory. Bloemfontein has a lot of nicknames. Its indigenous name is Mangaung, which means “the place of cheetahs.” And poetically, it is know as “the city of roses,” due to the abundance of flowers in the area and the rose festival that’s also held here.

Bloemfontein is elevated 4,600 ft. above sea level and is bordered by the semi-arid area of Karoo. Since Bloemfontein is seated in Central South Africa, the climate here is different than that of other main cities that are closer to the coast. Bloemfontein has a continental climate. This means summers are hot with frequent thunderstorms, while winters are cool and dry, with a big chance of frost.

There are many sights worth seeing in Bloemfontein. One of them is the old Raadsaal. There, you can see a statue of Christian de Wet, hero of the Boer War. This monument is made with modern European architecture and is a testament of the taste South Africans inherited from their colonizers. Monuments like these make sure that the people of South Africa never forget their colonial past and how they got their freedom.

One other site to see in Bloemfontein is their stadium, the Free State Stadium. South Africans love sports, especially football. The Free State Stadium is Bloemfontein’s local sports venue. This stadium plays host to most football, rugby and cricket games of the local team. This will also host several games for the 2010 South Africa FIFA World Cup.

You can also interact with African wildlife here. There are several game reserves that can give you face-to-face encounters big cats, like the lion and the cheetah. Examples of these are the Franklin Game Reserve and the Bloemfontein Zoo.

There is something for everyone here in Bloemfontein. This city is really a great place to go to if you want to experience South Africa.

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