Bloemfontein, also known as the City of Roses, is the capital city of South Africa’s Free State Province and its economic and cultural center. The city is also South Africa's judicial capital and lies between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Bloemfontein is quite a modern city, and is home to numerous historic buildings, museums and monuments and attractions and sites, which will interest the entire family. It is also commonly used as the base for those seeking to explore the Free State. The city is also known for the thousands of rose bushes that line its streets, as well as the rose gardens in Kings Park, and also for hosting the annual Bloemfontein Rose Festival. It is an absolutely beautiful place and is definitely worthy of a stop, when in South Africa. Muslims visitors should be aware that they will be able to locate Muslim-friendly facilities in Bloemfontein.
A great way to get to know the city is to take a walk down the flower and tree-lined streets to the city centre. Here visitors will find numerous historical buildings and fascinating museums. One of the many historical buildings found here is the President Brand Street, which is a national monument.
The Franklin Game Reserve is quite unique as it is located in the heart of the city of Bloemfontein. This 250 hectare wildlife reserve is situated on top of Naval Hill; which is home to the iconic ‘White Horse’ sculpture, and is known to offer spectacular views of the city, both of which make it a popular tourist landmark. The Franklin Game Reserve is home to a variety of beautiful birds, as well as wildlife like zebra, giraffe, blue wildebeest and a plethora of other animals. Visitors will also come across indigenous plants and trees while in the reserve.
A popular wildlife excursion in South Africa is the Cheetah Experience. This centre focuses on rescuing and conserving endangered species of wild cats, as well as educating the public. Those visiting the sanctuary will get to interact and get up close and personal with cheetahs, wolves, lions, leopards, meerkats and so many other animal species. The tours here are guided and last for around 60 to 80 minutes. The Cheetah Experience is sure to be enjoyed by the entire family, and therefore should be on every tourist’s itinerary. Also worth a visit is the city zoo.
There are also numerous activities adrenaline junkies will love. When in Bloemfontein, tourists can kayak, raft, jet ski, water ski, sky dive, paraglide and even take a fun ride on a hot air balloon. Some of these activities however, can only be found a couple of hours outside the city.
Bloemfontein has its own airport, the Bloemfontein Airport – also known as Bram Fischer International Airport, which is located just 13 kilometres from the center of the city. This is however only a domestic airport and for international flights, tourists will have to travel to the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg; about 436 kilometres away, or to Cape Town International Airport.
There are a few Halal restaurants in Bloemfontein at which Muslim visitors can dine. Kauai, Marhabaa and Chesanyama are believed to be either Muslim owned or Halal certified, but it is always best to make sure that the food served is Halal before ordering. There is also a Halal outlet of the internationally known McDonald's, in Bloemfontein. Muslim tourists could also dine at local vegetarian and seafood restaurants after making sure the dishes served do not contain any non-Halal items.
There are a couple of Islamic Centres and mosques in Bloemfontein, namely: Bloemfontein Musallah, Bloemfontein Sunni Jamaat and Miftahuddin Islamic Institute Masjid. These mosques are believed to conduct all five daily prayers, as well as the Jumu’ah prayer on Fridays.