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About Bloemfontein

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Bloemfontein, the Heart of the Free State

Bloemfontein, the home of the University of the Free State, is the sixth-largest city in South Africa and situated in the Mangaung Municipality, which covers about 6,300 km2, with approximately 850,000 inhabitants. The citizens of this city are renowned for their generosity and make the Free State’s capital a very special place.

Bloemfontein (direct translation: flower fountain) is officially known as the Judicial Capital of South Africa, but over the years many names have been attributed to the city. The best-known name is “central city”, followed by the “City of Roses” because of the abundance of beautiful roses in the municipal and residential gardens. The natural, architectural and historical legacy of central South Africa is interwoven with this modern, developing city.

The pride of Bloemfontein, however, is its friendly and hospitable people, with strong family networks. The result is a peaceful atmosphere, distinctive to the heart of the Free State. Today this vibrant city, with the caring character and tranquillity of a big town, is the economic, educational and medical hub of a vast inland area in South Africa.

The central location of Bloemfontein plays an important role in the transport network of our country and offers the opportunity to travel comfortably to any location. It is often said that anything in the country travels either through or past Bloemfontein.

Through its connection to our university, the provincial health facilities are characterised by sophisticated technologies and dedication, which ensures an enjoyable patient experience. High standards of excellence result in the Universitas Hospital being not only a training centre but also a research base for the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State.

Besides an active theatre, there are many clubs, restaurants, coffee bars and other spots to hang out for students who wish to enjoy the nightlife of this city.

The city’s excellent Highveld weather and good sports facilities offer sport and outdoor enthusiasts the best they can wish for. Bloemfontein is the national centre of excellence where different sporting codes use the state-of-the art facilities of the Sport Science Institute of the University of the Free State in preparation for elite events such as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championships and the All Africa Games. Some of the facilities include a boxing academy, athletics track, Olympic-size swimming pool, astro hockey field and accommodation.

Many surprises await the person who does not know Bloemfontein. From art and music, culture and history to all kinds of sports – you name them – there is something for everyone. The South African War Museum, National Museum and the Women’s Memorial will take you back in time for a variety of experiences that will be hard to forget.

For those interested in astronomy, the new Naval Hill Planetarium and Boyden Observatory will certainly make you dance amongst the stars. Bloemfontein will thus have the first digital planetarium in Africa south of the Sahara.

Examples on the entertainment calendar are, for instance, the Volksblad Vryfees Arts Festival and Macufe – definitely cultural melting pots where a rich diversity of art and culture thrives.

May our affordable city with its fascinating mix of diversity and tradition enchant you as a student of the University of the Free State!

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