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Fun Facts about Bloemfontein

History of Mangaung

Mangaung is a Sesotho name meaning "Place of Leopards".

It derives from when the first settlers arrived in this region, they were stunned by the vast plains that were roamed freely by all the leopards.

Bloemfontein forms part of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality.

Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality is a metropolitan municipality which governs Bloemfontein and the surrounding towns in the Free State Province of South Africa.

History of Bloemfontein

The name Bloemfontein derives from the Dutch word for "fountain of flowers".

Warden originally chose the site largely because of its proximity to the main route to Winburg, the spacious open country, and the absence of horse sickness. Bloemfontein was the original farm of Johannes Nicolaas Brits born 21 February 1790, owner and first inhabitant of Bloemfontein. Johann – as he was known – sold the farm to Maj Warden.

Though historically a predominantly Afrikaner settlement, Bloemfontein was officially founded in 1846 as a fort by British army major Henry Douglas Warden as a British outpost in the Transoranje region, at that stage occupied by various groups of peoples including Cape Colony Trek Boers, Griqua and Basotho.

Although modern day Bloemfontein has a reputation for its flowers in an otherwise arid region, the origin of the city's name is unclear.

Popular legends include an ox named "Bloem" owned by one of the pioneer farmers that was taken by a lion near a fountain on his property, while another story names Jan Blom (1775–1858), a Korana KhoiKhoi leader who inhabited the area.

Bloemfontein literally means fountain of flowers or flower spring in Dutch.

With colonial policy shifts, the region changed into the Orange River Sovereignty (1848–1854) and eventually the Orange Free State Republic (1854–1902).

From 1902–1910 it served as the capital of the Orange River Colony and since that time as the provincial capital of the Free State. In 1910 it became the Judicial capital of the Union of South Africa.

Bloemfontein is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa and one of South Africa's three national capitals.

Bloemfontein is also the judicial capital of South Africa.

Until 1994, the city was the sole judicial capital of South Africa. It remains the seat for the Supreme Court Of Appeal (formerly the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court) and is therefore generally regarded as the judicial capital.

It is also an administrative centre with many private hospitals and educational institutions.

Phalima Shuttle Services can organize tours of all the major sights in Bloemfontein. Contact us for more information.

Bloemfontein Location

Bloemfontein is situated on dry grassland at 29°06′S 26°13′E at an altitude of 1,395 metres above sea level. The city is home to 369,568 residents, while the Mangaung Local Municipality has a population of 645,455.

Bloemfontein is located in central South Africa on the southern edge of the Highveld at an elevation of 1,400 metres (4,600 ft), bordering on the semi-arid region of the Karoo.

The area is generally flat with occasional hills (koppies in Afrikaans) and the general vegetation is Highveld grassland.

Bloemfontein Weather (Climate)

Bloemfontein experiences a semi-arid climate, with hot summer days (Jan: max:32 °C min:19 °C; frequent afternoon thunderstorms) and cooler, dry winters, often with frosts (July: max:14 °C min:-3 °C).

Snow is uncommon but as recently as August 2006 it snowed in the city, with snowfalls occurring again at the airport on 26 July 2007.

Bloemfontein Sport

Bloemfontein is the home of sport franchise teams Free State Cheetahs, Knights Cricket and Bloemfontein Celtic FC

Free State Cheetahs

Knights Cricket

Bloemfontein Celtic FC

Museums in Bloemfontein

National Museum
The National Museum of Bloemfontein is the 19th century Bloemfontein street with a cluttered general dealer's store and a pharmacy. Also, a collection of dinosaur fossils can be found.

National Museum for Afrikaans Literature
The old Government building near the Appeal Court. Displays on Afrikaans literature can be found here as well as the Afrikaans research centre.

National Women's Memorial and War Museum
Commemorating the 26,000 Afrikaner women and children who died in British Concentration camps during the Anglo-Boer War between 1899-1902. Emily Hobhouse, a British woman who campaigned for better treatment of the prisoners, is buried at the foot of the monument. The War Museum is devoted to the Anglo-Boer War but has some interesting displays.

Freshford House Museum
Old world charm offers visitors a glimpse into the lifestyle of the 1890s.

Game Reserves near Bloemfontein

Franklin Game Reserve:
Antelopes roam in this reserve freely

Soetdoring Nature Reserve:
The Soetdoring Nature Reserve borders the Krugersdrif Dam. Black wildebeest and gemsbok roam free but predators such as lions and wild dogs are kept in large camps, a large abundance of bird life can be found here.

Willem Pretorius Game Reserve:
The Willem Pretorius Game Reserve is located 150km north of Bloemfontein. It has a great variety of game and bird life. The Allemanskraal Dam forms the central part of the reserve and on the northern side of this dam is a range of hillocks and on the summit of one of these is Doringberg. Here one can find a well-preserved ruin of a prehistoric settlement. Years ago this belonged to the Leghoya people who built extremely small huts, cattle kraals and walls, all from stone, but without mortar.

Naval Hill:
Naval Hill in Bloemfontein dominates the city to the north-east from where magnificent views can be enjoyed from the top of this beautiful hill. Naval Hill was the site of the British naval gun emplacements during the Anglo-Boer War. On the eastern side is a large white horse, a landmark for British cavalry during the war. On the summit the University of Michigan (USA) built an observatory in 1928, but it was closed in 1972, this is a theatre today. The Franklin Game Reserve is on the hilltop where antelopes roam.

Interesting Buildings in Bloemfontein, Free State

Queen's Fort:
The Queen's Fort in Bloemfontein was built in 1848 and is now restored as a military museum

Appeal Court:
The Appeal Court was built in 1929 in Bloemfontein

Fourth Raadsaal:
The Fourth Raadsaal was constructed in 1893. This now houses the provincial legislature.

Old Presidency:
The Victorian style Old Presidency building was completed in 1861. The Orange Free State presidents once lived in these spacious chambers. Behind the building is a collection of old agricultural machinery.

Old Raadsaal:
The Old Raadsaal is the oldest building in Bloemfontein built by Major Warden in 1849.

The twin-spired Dutch Reformed Tweetoringkerk Church is unique in the country and built in 1881 in Gothic style. A worthwhile visit to see the woodwork around the pulpit and organ is recommended.