Bloemfontein is a large city in the South African province of Free State. Founded in 1846, it has a reputation for being a major retail and sporting destination in South Africa, although its location makes it ideal for safaris as well. The city is also known for its many green spaces, as reflected in the city’s name, which translates as ‘Fountain of Flowers’. In Bloemfontein, you’re likely to come across many relics from the 19th century, when many Boer settlers called this part of the country home, while there are plenty of parts of the city where modernity’s brush has been stroked. Bloemfontein’s climate is pretty favourable too, enjoying long hot summers and pleasantly mild winters.
For driving in the suburbs, a large family saloon would be smoother when going on some of the minor routes, which tend to vary in quality throughout Bloemfontein.
Driving in Bloemfontein
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
The N1, one of the main motorways through Bloemfontein, is a toll road going north towards Johannesburg and Pretoria.
The N6 and N8 roads, going into and out of the city, are free of charge to drive on all the way in either direction.
Some of the locals in the city speak Afrikaans as their first language, with only a few natives actually speaking English as their second.
Highlights & Hotspots
The Oliewenhuis Art Museum, set in a wonderfully-restored Cape Dutch house and gardens, hosts plenty of rolling displays of contemporary artworks, many of them coming from local artists. Photography is also on display here as well as a few sculptures.
To get a taste of the wild, you should visit Naval Hill and Franklin Game Reserve. The reserve is home to many species of wild animal, although none of them will hurt you! Aside from the wildlife, you’re close to a local observatory where you can watch the stars at night.
Rugby union is massive in the city. The local teams, Central Cheetahs and Free State Cheetahs, play at the Free State Stadium, one of the largest grounds in South Africa. Bloemfontein Celtic, the city’s main football club, also plays their games here.
One of the best places to shop in the city is at the Waterfront mall. There are plenty of chain stores there, although some retailers unique to Bloemfontein also have outlets. There are plenty of restaurants there too.
Bram Fischer International Airport is located around a couple of miles east northeast of the city centre. It serves mainly as a destination for domestic flights from larger cities in South Africa, in particular Cape Town to the west and Johannesburg to the north.
The airport is connected by a link road which goes south onto the N8 motorway. The motorway will then take you westbound towards the centre of Bloemfontein