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Destination Details

Bloemfontein, South Africa

Bloemfontein is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa's three national capitals; the other two capitals are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Pretoria, the administrative capital.

Bloemfontein is popularly and poetically known as "the city of roses", owing to the abundance of these flowers and the annual rose festival held there. city's Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning "place of cheetahs" and it has been included in the Mangaung Local Municipality since 2000

Bloemfontein is situated on dry grassland at 29°06′S 26°13′E, at an altitude of 1,395 m (4,577 ft) above sea level. The city is home to 369,568 residents, while the Mangaung Local Municipality has a population of 645,455.

 

History

Though historically a predominantly Afrikaner settlement, Bloemfontein was officially founded in 1846 as a fort by British army major Henry Douglas Warden as a British outpost in the Transoranje region, at that stage occupied by various groups of peoples including Cape Colony Trek Boers, Griqua and Basotho. Although modern day Bloemfontein has a reputation for its flowers in an otherwise arid region, the origin of the city's name is unclear. Popular legends include an ox named "Bloem" owned by one of the pioneer farmers that was taken by a lion near a fountain on his property, while another story names Jan Bloem (1775–1858), a Korana KhoiKhoi leader who inhabited the area. Bloemfontein literally means fountain of flowers or flower spring in Dutch. With colonial policy shifts, the region changed into the Orange River Sovereignty (1848–54) and eventually the Orange Free State Republic (1854–1902). From 1902–10 it served as the capital of the Orange River Colony and since that time as the provincial capital of the Free State. In 1910 it became the Judicial capital of the Union of South Africa.

 

Recent history

Until 1994 the city was the sole judicial capital of South Africa. It remains the seat for the Supreme Court Of Appeal (formerly the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court) and is therefore generally regarded as the judicial capital. It is also an administrative center with many private hospitals and educational institutions.

 

Geography and climate

Bloemfontein is located in central South Africa on the southern edge of the Highveld at an elevation of 1,400 metres (4,600 ft), bordering on the semi-arid region of the Karoo. The area is generally flat with occasional hills and the general vegetation is Highveld grassland. Bloemfontein experiences a semi-arid climate with hot summer days (Jan: max:32 °C (90 °F) min:19 °C (66 °F); frequent afternoon thunderstorms) and cooler, dry winters, often with frosts (July: max:14 °C (57 °F) min:−3 °C (27 °F)). Snow is uncommon but as recently as August 2006 it snowed in the city, with snowfalls occurring again at the airport on 26 July 2007.

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