Bloemfontein City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 17, 2007

Bloemfontein is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa. The Sesotho name of the city is Mangaung, which means “place of cheetah” it, also means “flower spring” or “fountain of flowers” in Dutch and Afrikaans. Due to the abundance of flowers and the annual floral festivals held in the place, Bloemfontein is most popularly known as “the city of roses”. The city has a very scenic background with almost 370,000 residents.

Residential Places in Bloemfontein

There are plenty of suburban communities in Bloemfontein. Some homes include a big front lawn, a backyard, a basketball court or even a swimming pool. Available townhouses can have two to four bedrooms plus two bathrooms. Some pads are studio-type while others have two stories at higher prices. Great suburban areas include Bayswater, Fauna, Fichardtpark and Park West. These areas are conveniently close to commercial establishments and parks.

There are more suburban residential areas like Hillsboro, Naval Hill, Pentagon Park, Waverley, Helicon Heights and Dan Pienaar in the northern side of Bloemfontein. These areas have schools and churches nearby. Luxurious estates and mansion are also available or open for rent for vacationers. There are lodges and guesthouses as well offered by the locals so UK expatriates may find these more convenient.

In the downtown area, there are a number of condominium units, apartments and hostels. The closer to the town center, the more expensive the rate of accommodations. City locations are usually complete with facilities like spa, gym, bar and café. Monthly dues may still exclude water, gas and electricity.

Hospitals and Universities of Bloemfontein

Bloemfontein has two main universities namely the University of the Free State and the Central University of Technology. The University of the Free State is conveniently located near several commercial and educational establishments despite its agricultural origin and atmosphere. The campus is an academic village full of laboratories, classrooms and lecture halls, offices, dormitories and other facilities. There is also a training hospital for medical students just a short distance away.

Overall, there are more than 20 facilities in the campus. The university is particularly famous for its arts and communication courses. The Central University of Technology was built in 1981 and was originally called “Technikon Free State”. There are several other schools and colleges in Bloemfontein offering primary education and international study programs.

Medical Facilities in Bloemfontein

Bloemfontein Medi-Clinic is a private hospital with a bed capacity of 377. It is part of the Medi-Clinic group of private hospitals. Medi-Clinic is on of the top hospital groups in the continent and owns more than 40 private hospitals in South Africa. The hospital serves local and international patients several excellent medical services. The institution features state-of-the-art diagnostics, fully equipped laboratories and clinics and quality units.

Pelonomi Private Hospital has 68 beds and recently opened in 2005. It offers 24-hour casualty services to Bloemfontein, Mangaung, Heidedal and other patients coming from the rural regions. The hospital is the result of a Public Private Partnership between the Free State Department of Health, Netcare and Community Healthcare Holdings. Other notable health establishments in the city are Universitas Hospital and Rosepark Hospital. These are known for highly trained medical professional and staff.

Commercial Places in Bloemfontein

There are a number of shopping centers in Bloemfontein as well as flea markets, independent shops and supermarkets. Loch Logan features a flea market every Saturday where UK expatriates may find several unique and souvenir items.

The main attractions in the city tend to focus more on outdoor activities and entertainment. Hamilton Park features over 6000 orchids. The orchid house is complete with waterfalls and pools plus a fragrance garden for blind visitors.

There are historical tours as well starting at the Publicity Association in Hoffman Square. The entire walk covers around 5 kilometers. There is also King’s Park Rose Garden featuring over 4000 rose bushes. Every first Saturday of the month, an arts and crafts market is set up for tourists and the locals. State President Swart Park features several recreational areas along with the Free State Stadium where the biggest sports events are held. Bloemfontein Zoo is another attraction in the city featuring an array of rare and exotic animals like the liger, which is a cross between a tiger and lion.

The Famous Butchers Grill is a great place to try excellent steaks and dishes from quality grain-fed beef. The restaurant features original South African beef with a good selection of local and imported wines. Primi Piatti is like a sports bar serving delicious snacks and drinks. It also has a breathtaking view of Loch Logan. Fishpaste restaurant and bar is located at 31 President Steyn Avenue. The place serves excellent drinks and food and has a very fascinating atmosphere.

Service Establishments in Bloemfontein

Datamonitor is one of the top water utilities in South Africa featuring water analysis, sanitation, distribution and purification services. Power supply in Bloemfontein is provided by a number of private companies with some owned by foreign industries. Gas is distributed the same way by private sectors. There are also public sectors providing gas, water and power to residents. Water in South Africa needs to be purified first for safe consumption.

Telecommunications has grown significantly in Bloemfontein due to the influx of visitors in recent years. Telkom South Africa is one of the leading telecommunications companies offering mobile phone services, satellite and cable connections and information technology services. There are other private companies as well providing DSL and Internet to all residents in the city.

South Africa at present is an exporter of energy. Eskom is one of the main suppliers of electricity in the country. It produces more than half of the total electricity in the entire African continent. The technology used is very innovative by using an oil-from-coal approach in producing coal-fired electricity.

Embassies in Bloemfontein

There are no UK embassies located in Bloemfontein but residents can immediately go to Cape Town to visit the Consulate-General or the British High Commission in Pretoria. The consul aims to provide immediate consular services to UK expatriates who have business or personal transactions in South Africa. The offices serve as a point of contact for any Briton needing international assistance.

For more information, contact the British Consulate-General at 15th Floor, Southern Life Building, 8, Riebeeck Street, Cape Town, 8001. Telephone number is (00) (27) (21) 405 2400. The British High Commission is at 255 Hill Street, Arcadia 0002. Telephone number is (00) (27) (12) 421 7500.

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