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Bloemfontein, Dutch for “fountain of flowers” or “flower spring” is one of South Africa’s three capital cities - the judicial capital - and is the capital city of the Free State Province. Owing to the abundance of roses in the area Bloemfontein is poetically referred to as “the city of roses” and there is a rose festival held there annually.

Officially founded in 1846 by British army major Henry Douglas Warden as an outpost for British soldiers, the area was invaluable largely due to its close proximity to the main route to Winberg. Bloemfontein was originally the farm of Johannes Nicolaas Brits, born in February 1790, and he later sold the land to Major Warden.

Bloemfontein is located on the southern edge of the Highveld in central South Africa and borders the Karoo. The area is mostly flat with occasional hills and Bloemfontein experiences a continental climate, with hot summer days and cool, dry winters. Afternoon thunderstorms are commonplace in the summer and while the area is not known for snow, snowfall has occurred as recently as July 2007.

Large areas of the 70ha expanse have been left in a relatively natural state, creating a habitat for small game and showing the indigenous vegetation of the area.

Suburbs include Heidedal to the east and southeast, Woodland Hills Wildlife Estate, Fauna and Willows to the south of the city, Langenhovenpark, Bayswater, Hillside and Waverly can be found in the North of the city. Bloemfontein is also home to the suburb of Batho where the Maphikela House is situated.

Bloemfontein will host some of the matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup at the Free State Stadium, which has a capacity of 48, 000 and is also home to the local rugby team, the Free State Cheetahs.

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