Very different from the cosmopolitan ambience that Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban offer, Bloemfontein has a different kind of charm for its visitors. Bloemfontein airport is much smaller in size compared to its counterparts; however there are connecting flights to Bloemfontein from the three big cities. If you’re in Johannesburg, a scenic drive to the city will take a mere four hours.

Thanks to the abundance of rose gardens in and around the city, including the annual rose festival which is held here, this city is poetically known as “the City of Roses”. Another highlight of the city is that it is the birthplace of famous South African icons like comedian Leon Schuster and J.R.R. Tolkien, best known as the author of high fantasy The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, amongst others.

A historical city in South Africa’s evolution, this is also where the African National Congress rooted itself back in 1912, and has since restored its cultural appeal. Filled with culture and surrounded by the most incredible nature views, here are a few of Bloemfontein’s main attractions.

Cheetah Experience – Wild cat lovers will find this a jaw-dropping experience. Here, endangered species are conserved, with special focus on breeding of the cheetah. Other species you will find here include leopards, lions and wolves. Like they say, you can’t come to Africa and not experience this.

Anglo Boer War Museum & Women’s Memorial – The Anglo Boer War of 1899 – 1902 is one of the most significant events in South Africa’s history. The War Museum is made up of a unique art collection and exhibits that will have this period in time unfold right before your eyes. The Women’s Memorial is a larger-than-life structure in remembrance of the brave women and children who suffered in the War. This historical landmark is one of the city’s gems.

Free State National Botanical Garden – On the outskirts of Bloemfontein you will find this picturesque valley with natural vegetation of over 400 species of plants. Showing off a landscaped colourful garden, this is the perfect place to go for a walk and admire the splendour of nature. Nature talks and moonlight walks are popular year round.

Vodacom Park – This stadium is used mainly for rugby union and association football. It was originally built for the 1995 Rugby World Cup and was later used in 2010 as one of the venues for the FIFA World Cup. Catch a game by local superstars the Bloemfontein Celtic, who play in South Africa’s domestic Premier Soccer League.

Loch Logan Waterfront – Just as the city’s cultural and historical heritage is reflected in its museums, art galleries and cultural festivals, this development has contributed immensely to the Bloemfontein’s economic growth and the development of the region. This three-storey shopping mall hosts all of your favourite South African fashion and convenience chains, including a host of exclusive restaurants.