Bloemfontein is the capital city of the province of Free State of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa’s three national capitals and is the seventh largest city in South Africa. Bloemfontein is also referred to as the city of roses and lies in the middle of South Africa.

Population: 503 000 (2011)

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 Barolong.

Bloemfontein (meaning “fountain of flowers” in Dutch) was founded in 1846 as a fort by Henry Douglas Warden (an English army major).  The city’s Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning “place of cheetahs”. The city became part of the Mangaung Local Municipality in 2000.

The National Women’s Memorial on the outskirts of the city pays homage to those that died in the concentration camps during the war in South Africa. Grey College, the third oldest school in South Africa and the oldest school North of the Orange River is situated in this city.

Bloemfontein Rose Festival

In the early 70’s a couple of council members discussed ways to market Bloemfontein to the world. They realized that roses grew very well in the city and October is a particular good month to showcase this wonderful queen of all flowers. And so the Rose festival was born in 1976.

The main festival happen at Urth Garden Centre.  The centre have an Open Air Cafe and boasts the biggest selection of Roses in the Free State. Visitors can join the Rose High Tea, walking through an expo of Green Businesses, and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.   Various other activities also happen across town and range from mass flowers, a cut-rose competition, several pageants (Miss Rose, Miss RoseBud, Grandmother and GrandFather Rose) and many more.

The gardens of the city Bloemfontein and its residents are particularly beautiful in October. The Free State weather lends itself to abundant vibrant roses. The very cold winters and warm long summers is ideal for the growth of roses and this result in a display of roses that is at its best towards the latter part of October and early November. The date of the festival is normally the third week of October to accommodate the weather patterns.

Contact Info:

Phone: +27 51 451 1913

Bloemfontein residents take great pride in their gardens creating sanctuaries of vivid colours, water and soothing greenery, quite fitting for The City of Roses.

This decision taken years ago to create this unique festival has placed Bloemfontein in the minds of people (residents and visitors) on the flower map and made it a destination of choice for visitors from around the world. Join the thousands of local and international visitors who visit Bloemfontein every year to experience this truly awesome spectacle, The Mangaung Rose Festival.


Bloemfontein Tourism

• Soetdoring Nature Reserve – Tel: 051 433 1167
• Franklin Game Reserve – Tel: 051 412 7016
• Soetdoring Resort – Tel: 051 433 9002
• Cheetah Experience – Tel: 072 905 3457
• Bloemfontein Zoo – Tel: 051 405 8483
• Botanical Gardens – Tel: 051 436 3530
• Orchid House – Tel: 051 412 7017 / 7000
• King’s Park and Loch Logan Waterfront
• Mangaung Township Tour – Tel: 051 405 8489 / 8490
• Tolkien Trail – Tel: 051 405 8489 / 8490
• Macufe Festival (Oct) – Tel: 051 410 4727/8
• Bloemfontein Show (Apr) – Tel: 051 448 9894
• Rose Festival (Oct) – Tel: 051 448 3607
• Volksblad Arts Festival (Jul) – Tel: 051 404 7947
• WildsKOS fees (Jun) – Tel: 051 564 0636
• Free State Triathlon, Maselspoort (Sept)- Tel: 0737185427
• Naval Hill
• Nelson Mandela Monument
• Anglo-Boer War Museum – Tel: 051 447 3447
• National Museum – Tel: 051 447 9609
• National Women’s Museum – Tel: 051 447 3447

Visit the Free State Tourism page HERE for more information on Tourism in the Free State.