Things to Do in Bloemfontein, South Africa
Bordering Lesotho, and in the heart of South Africa, the Free State offers visitors a wealth of cultural, historical and natural treasures. With so many things to do in Bloemfontein, visitors will be in awe of Free State attractions that make the province one of South Africa’s best kept secrets.
The epitome of big sky country, the Free State is all about open plains and soaring sandstone mountains. With over 30 000 farms producing the majority of the country’s grain, the Free State is nicknamed "South Africa's breadbasket".
The judicial capital of South Africa and the capital of the Free State is known as Mangaung. It is an ideal place to start your tour of the province. Also called the "City of Roses", there are so many things to do in Bloemfontein.
Wondering where to stay? With 80 rooms and luxury suites, Sun International's Windmill Casino is the best place to stay in Bloemfontein as you explore tourist attractions in the Free State.
Top things to do in Bloemfontein
- Spoil your senses with a visit to King’s Park in Bloemfontein
Home to over 4 000 rose bushes and the largest open green space in the city, King's Park is one of the most picturesque tourist attractions in Bloemfontein. The perfect place for an afternoon picnic, King's Park gives meaning to the moniker: "City of Roses".
Opened in 1925, this wonderful retreat hosts a monthly craft market, King's Park Arts and Craft Market, held on the first Saturday of every month. Inside the park, visitors will also find the popular Bloemfontein Zoo, known for its impressive primate collection and its large variety of birds. The Windmill Casino is where to stay in Bloemfontein, and the zoo is only a 10-minute drive away.
- Explore what Lonely Planet calls “one of South Africa’s most striking art galleries”: Oliewenhuis Art Museum
A visit to the Oliewenhuis Art Museum is one of the more popular things to do in Bloemfontein. It resides in a Neo-Dutch style mansion that once served as a residence for royalty and statesmen. Established in 1989, Oliewenhuis exhibits a vast collection of contemporary artwork from South African artists. After a morning spent revelling in the artwork, explore the Oliewenhuis walking trails and end the trip with a picnic in the serene museum gardens.
Tip: don't miss out on the sculpture park in the gardens.
- Enjoy shopping and entertainment at Loch Logan Waterfront
Modelled on Cape Town's V&A Waterfront, this quaintest of tourist attractions in Bloemfontein is a great place to visit on a rainy day. When the sky is cloudy, brighten your day with a movie at the Loch Logan Waterfront cinemas or browse the assortment of shops and flea market stalls.
- Explore South African history at the Anglo-Boer War Museum
Dedicated to the history of the Anglo-Boer War of 1899 – 1902, the museum’s art collection details this significant period giving visitors a unique insight into the war and the context in which it took place. Located behind the historic National Women’s Memorial, the Anglo-Boer War Museum is a fascinating attraction in Bloemfontein. The National Women’s Memorial, the first monument in the world dedicated to women and children, was unveiled on the 16th of December 1913, and is one of the must-see tourist attractions in Bloemfontein.
Did you know? The Free State is home to Vredefort Dome, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
TOP FESTIVALS IN THE FREE STATE
For more things to do in Bloemfontein, bookmark these top festivals in the Free State.
- Vryfees (July)
- Witblits Festival (April)
- Macufe Mangaung African Cultural Festival (October)
- Ficksburg Cherry Festival (November)
There are so many things to do in the Free State, from the most popular tourist attractions in Bloemfontein to an eclectic variety of quirky festivals throughout the year.
Just an hour's drive from Bloemfontein, there are many things to do in Thaba Nchu. You could soak up culture from the Tswana and Sotho-speaking locals, or visit the nearby Maria Moroka Game Reserve, where photograpers will delight in the herds of springbok and zebra that come to drink from the water's edge at Moutloatse Setlogelo Dam. Thaba Nchu is also in the vicinity of the Free State birding route.
Whatever your reason for passing through, you'll find plenty of things to do in Bloemfontein during your stayover at Sun International's Windmill Casino.