When visiting Bloemfontein make sure that you set aside a few days as there is so much to experience in the surrounding areas, including national parks, nature reserves, cultural attractions and fascinating small towns.

Did you know?

The Ficksburg Cherry Festival takes place every year during November in the small town of Ficksburg and has been going for 42 years.

Bloemfontein's surrounding areas offer an exciting mix of experiences for the intrepid tourist. There are adventure activities, heritage routes, arty towns, cultural villages and a range of outdoor attractions that are worthy of exploring.

About 200km south of Bloemfontein, you'll find the Gariep Dam which is renowned for watersports. There's also the Gariep Nature Reserve, home to a variety of game and birdlife. In the same area you'll find the Tussen die Riviere and Caledon Nature Reserves which are worth a visit if you're looking for rest and relaxation.

Within two to three-hours' drive (by car) from the city of Bloemfontein lie a rich choice of destinations. A scenic drive you shouldn't miss is the road between Fouriesburg and Clarens in the eastern Free State (an area also known as Thabo Mofutsanyana).

From there, drive on to the Golden Gate Highlands National Park with its majestic sandstone outcrops, the perfect spot for a photographic safari. Head further south and you can make your way to explore a Basotho Cultural Village as well as Phuthadijhaba. Hiking in this part of the Drakensberg mountain range is also very popular.

Bloemfontein's surrounding areas include the Free State's small towns which are full of charm. Clarens is renowned for its artists, restaurants and scenic surrounds, while Ficksburg has sports bars, home industries, heritage buildings and colourful locals. Small towns like Fouriesburg, Clocolan and Ladybrand also offer fascinating insights into life in the agricultural Free State province.

In the Northern Free State, you'll find the Vredefort Dome, the oldest meteorite impact site in the world and now a great adventure tourism destination in the province.

Various tourism routes tailored to special interests are worth exploring and the Free State province is also the gateway to neighbouring Lesotho, a mountainous region famous for pony-trekking and hiking.

The city of Kimberley, in the Northern Cape, with its famous Big Hole where diamonds were once mined is also easily accessible and less than two hour's drive away.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Mangaung/Bloemfontein Tourism Information
Tel: +27 (0) 51 405 8489

How to get here

Bloemfontein is easily accessibly by road (N1) through the central interior of the country. There are also regular flights into Bloemfontein from the other major host cities.

Best time to visit

Visit Bloemfontein and the surrounding areas anytime of the year. Summers are hot, winter mornings and evenings are cold.

Around the area

If you have limited time then perhaps choose just one region – Thabo Mofutsanyana – where both Clarens and the Golden Gate Highlands National Park are situated.

Get around

Having your own car to travel the Free State is your best bet.

Length of stay

Plan to spend a week exploring the sights and attractions of Bloemfontein and the surrounding areas, and then journey to Kimberley in the Northern Cape to see the Big Hole.

What to pack

Hiking boots, sun hat, comfortable clothing and warm attire for evenings when temperatures drop. Camping gear if you are planning on roughing it.

Where to stay

There are a number of guest houses, bed and breakfasts and farm stays on offer in regions such as Thabo Mofutsanyana.

What to eat

Bloemfontein is known for good South African boerekos. There are also lots of good restaurants in Clarens offering the best of local fare.

Best buys

Rural arts and crafts.