Bloemfontein sits at a crossroads in South Africa, with Johannesburg to the north, Cape Town to the south, Durban to the east and Kimberley and Namibia to the west. As a result it oftens serves as a stop-off point for travellers going somewhere else, but it's actually a nice, quiet place to spend a day or two if you have the time. It was also, rather surprisingly, the birthplace of famous fantasy authour J.R.R. Tolkien, who was born in 1892 and lived there for three years.
Bloemfontein, lies plum in the middle of the Free State, at the heart of South Africa and is embraced by several of South Africa’s provinces and shares a border with the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.
Knows as the City of Roses, Bloemfontein serves as something of an oasis as it is the only major city for miles around, it is also the sixth largest city in the country. Despite being situated in an area of dry grassland, Bloemfontein more than lives up to its name, with thousands of rose bushes lining the city and more than 4000 rose trees having been planted in the rose gardens in Kings Park.
For an interesting introduction to the city's mix of architectural styles, visitors should take a walk down President Brand Street. The Oliewenhuis Art Gallery stocks a good collection of painting and sculpture, and is set in some beautiful green gardens.
The big upcoming event on the South African horizon is of course the FIFA World Cup beginning on the 11th of June 2010. One of the most prestigious and popular world sporting events, the World Cup 2010 promises to bring throngs of passionate supporters from around the globe. Held once every four years, it's a football tournament (known as soccer in South Africa) where 32 world nations vie for the famous golden trophy.
Bloemfontein will be hosting some of the World Cup matches at the Free State Stadium, which has a capacity of 48,070.
Bloemfontein has a fairly moderate climate compared to many other parts in the country. Temperatures average beteween 25 and 30 degrees Celsius from October to March and between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius from May to August. Nights are roughly around 12 to 16 degrees during winter, but only slightly above zero in June and July. Extremes of 38 degrees and -9 degrees have been recorded. May to September is fairly dry, November to March is the rainy season. Annual rainfall is around 500 mm.
Shosholoza Meyl has the following trains:
If you would like to travel around by car, and it is suggested you do, due the fast distances in the Free State, then there are numerous car rental companies available. Car hire companies include Avis, Imperial, Value Car Hire,First Car Rental, Global Rental as well as many others. Usually, the local ones are cheaper but don't have the same standard as the international ones, which have more branches throughout the country and therefore are able to help you more quickly if needed.
See also International Telephone Calls
The SAPO (South African Post Office) is the nation's postal service. Post offices are open from 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Domestic and international deliveries are reliable but can sometimes take up to several weeks. If you want to send something oversees of any value, try using one of the private mail services, like Postnet.
as well as Hien (3%)
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