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Bloemfontein, South Africa: World Cup 2010 city guide A guide to the best attractions, restaurants and bars of Bloemfontein ahead of South Africa's World Cup.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

With one million residents, the provincial capital of the Free State is the sixth biggest city in South Africa and the country’s judicial capital; the Court of Appeal sits here. The city centre features some fine sandstone architecture dating from the late 19th century, when Bloemfontein was the capital of the small independent Orange Free State Republic.
What to see

Most buildings of note are within easy walking distance of each other along President Brand Street. The Tourist Centre (60 Park Rd; 051 405 8489; www.bloemfontein.co.za) produces a useful map showing “The Rose Walk through Bloemfontein”, which takes about 1½ hrs. With another spare hour, drive to the top of Naval Hill in the Franklin Nature Reserve, from where there are expansive views of the city’s skyline.

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A long day or overnight trip could be made to Kimberley (116 miles to the west) to visit the fascinating Kimberley Mine Museum and Big Hole (053 830 4417; www.thebighole.co.za), easily the most popular tourist site in this region. South Africa’s fortunes were built on the diamonds found at Kimberley, and the Big Hole is the largest hand-dug hole on earth.
Where to eat and drink

Bloemfontein’s nightlife is concentrated at the Loch Logan Waterfront (www.lochlogan.co.za), an a lakeside shopping/eating complex close to the sports stadiums in King’s Park. Walk the boardwalk to choose from a variety of restaurants and bars. The Jazz Time Cafe (051 430 5727) is a good bet for late-night cocktails and lounge music.
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South Africa city guide to Pretoria
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South Africa city guide to Johannesburg
South Africa city guide to Polkowane

Francisca Kellett and Lizzie Williams are the co-authors of the 2009 South Africa Handbook, published by Footprint (www.footprintbooks.com).

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