Bloemfontein

Photo of Bloemfontein

About Bloemfontein

Founded in 1846, Bloemfontein, meaning ‘fountain of flowers’ in Afrikaans today has a population of around half a million people, despite being one of South Africa’s three capitals. This small size means it is much safer and easily navigable than some of the country’s other cities. Poetically referred to as ‘the city of roses’, a testament to their abundance, this small yet walkable city is strewn with heritage houses, historical monuments, and is surrounded by some of South Africa’s most expansive landscapes. Though historically an Afrikaner city, Bloemfontein was also the birthplace of the African National Congress, not to mention ‘Lord of the Rings’ author, J. R. R. Tolkien. Our pick of the best places to stay in Bloemfontein showcase some of its best heritage hotels.

WHAT NOT TO MISS

  • Visit the Fourth Raadsaal, erected by President F. W. Reitz in 1890, a grand Renaissance-style building, where the last session of the Parliament of the old Boer republic of the Orange Free State was held before the occupation by British forces.
  • The Naval Hill Planetarium and Boyden Observatory, an astronomical research observatory should not be missed by anyone wanting to witness the sky at night.
  • Take a walk through the tree-lined President Brand Street and visit its several museums. Learn about Bloemfontein’s turbulent history at the Anglo Boer Museum and Battlefields.
  • If travelling in mid-October, be sure to visit the Bloemfontein rose festival, a testament to its moniker ‘the city of roses’.
  • Take a drive out of town to the Soetdoring Nature Reserve, where, as there are no dangerous animals, walking is permitted.
  • Complete the one-day Modder River hiking trail.

Our pick of the best places to stay in Bloemfontein showcase some the best hotels for exploring this charming city.

WHERE TO STAY IN BLOEMFONTEIN

For local exploring

  • The homely, historic, owner-managed farm, Bloemstantia, located in a residential corner of Bloemfontein, is the perfect base for exploring this historic city.

Travel Information

  • Fly to ​Bram Fischer International Airport, the gateway to the Freestate and under a thirty-minute drive from town, with daily flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg.
  • If you want to rent a car to explore the stunning vineyards and beyond - for prices visit our online partner Rentalcars
  • Enjoying a year-round temperate climate, Bloemfontein seldom sees temperatures above 30C. The best months to visit are November and December, when the weather is warm and dry.

Still not sure?

  • You could widen your search to the best places to stay in the Free State?
  • Or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.

Best Hotels in Bloemfontein

  • Bloemstantia Bloemfontein 6 rooms from £59

    Housed in a traditional Cape Dutch style in a historic corner of Bloemfontein. This charming home-turned-hotel is filled with works of art, antique furnishings and original features. Beautifully decorated rooms include tea and coffee making facilities. A hearty breakfast is served; meals on request.

    Local exploring  -  A perfect homely base for exploring Bloemfontein
    Sights nearby  -  Oliewenhuis Art Gallery is just 2 km away
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Full of character
    Check Availability