Travelling to Bloemfontein

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Position: 29° 06' S     26° 18' E
Height: 1351 m

Also known as the City of Roses, Bloemfontein is the Capital of the Free State Province and the Judicial Capital of South Africa. It is the countries 6th largest City and retains great historical significance. It is situated along the N1 Highway between Cape Town and Johannesburg. This town is renowned for its many cultural attractions, architectural wonders, recreational locations and its fine educational facilities.

Mangaung Local Municipality has a population of 101 50 23 people.

Christian 68%
African Religion 28.5%
Muslim 2%
Hindu 1.5%

Language:The majority speak Afrikaans, English, and  Southern Sotho, some of the other 11 official languages are also widely spoken.

Electricity:City and town power systems generally operate at 220/250 Volts. Wall plugs are not compatible with the USA, Europe and the East. Adapters are obtainable locally.

Public holidays in South Africa:
01 January – New Year’s Day, 21 March – Human Rights Day, Friday before Easter Sunday – Good Friday, Day after Easter Sunday – Family Day, 27 April – Freedom Day, 01 May – Workers’ Day, 16 June – Youth Day, 09 August – National Women’s Day, 24 September Heritage Day, 16 December – Day of Reconciliation, 25 December – Christmas Day, 26 December – Day of Goodwill

What health precautions are necessary: Generally no health precautions for Bloemfontein. Malaria precautions are recommended for all visitors touring some game parks in certain areas, especially in the wet season like KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Preventative medication is available from all South African pharmacies. They also have the latest information on recommended medication for the specific areas you will be visiting.

Drinking water:
Tap water is safe to drink in Bloemfontein and throughout South Africa. Avoid drinking or swimming in untreated water.

Medical care:
South Africa has no national health service. You are advised to buy medical insurance before you arrive in South Africa. Bloemfontein do have some of the best hospitals in South Africa.

Its average summer temperature is +/- 26ºC and its average winter temperature is +/- 8ºC. January is the hottest month, with a temperature range of 15 - 32ºC, while June is the coldest, its range a cold 1ºC to a mild 17ºC. Bloemfontein receives an average rainfall of 500-600mm annually. The latitudes south of the city are even hotter, while in high-altitude north-east, temperatures are markedly lower.

Bloemfontein enjoys long hot summers and clothing is generally informal. In the more up-market hotels, evening entertainment venues or gala dinners, smart-casual wear is often required.
For the summer months( October-March), pack lightweight clothing but include a jacket for the occasionally chilly evening. Bloemfontein  is in the summer rainfall region, so it is best to carry an umbrella or raincoat.
Warm clothing is suggested for the chilly to very cold winter months (April – September) in Bloemfontein.

Public transport:
Taxis are available on request only. Your hotel or guest house will be able to advise you of reputable taxi or shuttle service company. Bus routes are limited to major city centers and are not usually convenient for international visitors. There is no underground system available in Bloemfontein.

Any valid driver’s license is accepted in South Africa, provided it bears the photograph and signature of the holder and is printed in English. If your license does not comply, you should obtain an International Driving Permit before departure. Driving is on the left-hand side. Speed limits are in kilometers. Wearing seat belts is compulsory.

Bloemfontein business hours:
Monday to Friday: business hours are form 08h30-17h00.
On Saturdays shops and post offices are open in the morning.
There are extended shopping hours on Sundays at certain of the larger shopping malls.

Good ideas for souvenirs and gifts to take back home. Antiques, clothing, gold, diamonds, several works of art, e.g. African, and historical souvenirs from war museums.
Exchange money:
The best rate of exchange for foreign currency is available at banks or Bureau de Change. It is advisable to exchange money in cities or major airports, as it tends to go much quicker.

Banking hours:
Monday to Friday: 08h30-15h00
Saturdays: 08h30-11h00

Credit cards:
All Major credit cards are widely accepted, with some restrictions in small towns and rural areas. ATM’s (Automatic teller machines) are situated outside most banks, which offer a 24-hour service.

The monetary unit is the South African Rand (ZAR) Denominations: Note R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10. Coins: R5, R2, R1

Greetings & Gratuities:
The people in Bloemfontein are very friendly and warm hearted. Greeting with  handshakes is customary.
Tips in restaurants are not included in the bill. A 10% tip is suggested. For the individual travelers it is suggested that porters at the airports and hotels are tipped. It is also customary for the local guides and drivers to be tipped at your discretion. Should you need guidance in this respect, please contact your concierge or any of “Adventures Across Africa” staff who would be happy to assist you.

Safety guidelines:
It is sensible to take the same precautions as you would in any of the world’s metropolitan areas. Be observant, and do not draw attention to yourself by flaunting an expensive camera, jewelry, or large amounts of cash. Deposit valuables in your hotel’s safety deposit box. Do not leave your baggage or hotel guest key unattended. Don’t stroll the streets after dark, and when returning to your hotel or guest house late in the evening, use the main entrance. Lock your car doors, and keep the windows closed. Keep personal items and luggage in the trunk, rather than on the seat of the car. Plan your route in advance, and use maps. Park in well-lit areas, and do not pick up strangers. There are criminals in South Africa (just like everywhere else) so take the basic common-sense precautions.

You can buy duty-free goods at the Johannesburg and Cape Town Airports
The international code for South Africa is 27, which should be preceded by the international prefix. When dialing from outside South Africa, omit the 0 at the beginning of the area code, but use it when dialing within the country, When in South Africa, you may need the following numbers: Local directory enquiries – 1023, International directory enquiries – 0903, Emergency Number – 10111, or 112 from a cell phone.

Post Offices:
Open Mon - Fri 08h00 - 16h30 & Sat 08h00 - 12h00. Mail may be addressed to you Post Restante. The main post offices have special counters for this purpose. Postage stamps are widely available (e.g. at some cafés and branches of the Central News Agency - CNA).

Bridal & Fashion Extravaganza
Date: March months
Volksblad Arts Festival
Date: Usually end of July
Castle Granaat Rock Festival
Date: August months
Macufe Mangaung African Cultural Festival
Date: Usually beginning of October months
Bloemfontein Rose Festival
Date: Usually middle of October months
Free State Food Fair
Date: Usually end of October months
Fly Fishing Film Festival
Date: December months

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