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Roughly translated as "fountain of flowers," Bloemfontein is known as the City of Roses, both because of the abundance of the blooms throughout the city and the annual festival dedicated to the flower. As the seat of the South African Supreme Court, the city is the judicial capital of the country as well as the provincial capital of Free State. Several sports teams and stadiums also call the city home, and its many museums outline the history of the region. Bloemfontein was selected as one of the nine host cities for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

As one of the biggest cities in South Africa, the metropolis has a rich artistic and cultural history. Lord of the Rings author, J.R.R. Tolkien was born here, and the reverence for the city’s artistic heritage abounds, with one of the best performing arts infrastructures in Africa with more than 14 fully equipped theatres, a variety of outdoor spaces, excellent technical backup and international transportation links. 

These include the Sand du Plessis (1000 Seater), Kovsie Kerk (1000), Andre Huguenot (400), Scaena (350), the Scaena Back Theatre (100), Wynand Mouton (350), Albert Wessels (350), Odeion (300), Odeion Amphitheatre (200), Rep Theatre (150), Civic Theatre (500), Stadsaal (800), NALN (200), and the War Memorial Amphitheatre (300).  

In addition to the contemporary and historic theatre infrastructure, the Waaihoek Church where the African National Congress (ANC) was founded in 1912 is located in Bloemfontein, and can be converted into a performing arts hall, as well as ‘Moods and Flavours’ in the Heidedal suburb of Bloemfontein, one of the oldest jazz club in Africa.

Safety and security


Like most major cities, Bloemfontein has both good and bad areas. It is advisable when walking in Bloemfontein, particularly at night, to be aware of people around you, and ideally not to walk alone but in a group. The University of the Free State where PACE is hosted has 24-hour security and panic buttons across the campus.  Ostentatious displays of wealth should be avoided, and it is not advisable to look like a typical tourist with many cameras strung around your neck. Do not leave valuables unattended.

Weather for July


During June and July, you can expect the average high temperature to reach 18°C (64°F). Similarly, every day the temperature drops after sunset and the average low temperature can be 0°C (32°F). It may be rainy, and in Bloemfontein, the cold winds from the Drakensberg Mountain range are quite severe at night so pack warm and come prepared for all eventualities.


Where to Stay

In Bloemfontein, there are various options for accommodation, including hotels, guest houses, and inns. 



For PACE participants, the following places have generously offered special rates: 

Rusplek (30 min walk to the UFS Campus/PACE Hub) - R300 per person for a private room with bathroom. (approx. $16.00, £13.00, €15.00) 

Harmony Residence on the University of the Free State Bloemfontein Campus (10min walk from PACE Hub) has been reserved for Artists or Delegates who wish to stay on the Campus.


Costs range from R180.00 (approx. $10.00, £8.00, €9.00) per person per night, based on two people sharing, to R360.00 (approx. US$ 20.00, £15.00, €18.00) per person per night, based on single occupancy. Harmony Houses 29-31 people per corridor with three separate bathrooms, showers, and toilets on every Corridor. There is a lounge in every corridor foyer, a fully equipped Kitchen and Free Laundry services are available for Guests.

To secure these discounts, you can book directly through the festival by contacting with 'pace23' in your subject line


Harmony Residence Pictures



The following establishments are conveniently located across from the University, but you will have to book directly through them:

Useful Information 



There are no compulsory vaccination requirements for persons entering South Africa. Travelers from yellow fever-affected countries require inoculations to enter South Africa, e.g. Brazil, certain of its neighbouring countries, and central Africa.

Certain northern areas of South Africa, including the northeastern part of KwaZulu-Natal, are malaria regions. In winter, these areas will be low risk, but if you anticipate traveling to a malaria area it is recommended that you take prophylactics before arrival and the necessary precautions while in the area (e.g. protective clothing, insect repellents). South African doctors and dentists are highly trained and hospitals are well equipped. It is strongly advised that delegates take appropriate health insurance prior to their departure.


Time difference (GM+2)


South Africa operates two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time throughout the year, making it the same time as Central European Summer Time and six hours in advance of US Eastern Daylight Time.




Value Added Tax (VAT) at the rate of 15% is levied on most goods and services and is included in the displayed price of most goods. International visitors are encouraged to keep their slips as they can reclaim VAT on goods (not services) priced higher than R250.00 at the airport on departure, in some harbours, and at Customs Offices.



In South African restaurants, it is customary to tip a minimum of between 10 - 15% of the bill.  For tables larger than 10 it is common for the tip to be included in the bill.  It is also customary to tip anyone who has provided a service to you (car guards, petrol attendants, hotel porters, tour guide operators, masseuses etc). 




The currency in South Africa is the Rand, denoted by the symbol R, with One Rand (R1) made up of 100 cents. Foreign currency can be exchanged at local banks and bureau de changes. All major credit cards such as American Express, Bank of America, Diners, Master Card, Visa, and affiliates are accepted in most places in South Africa. Generally, credit cards are not accepted for the purchase of petrol. Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) offer a complete 24-hour service. Machines displaying international credit and debit card logos can be used with the respective cards.

Mobile phone, SIM card & RICA: 


In South Africa, everyone who purchases a new Prepaid SIM card is required to register their number through a system called RICA. If you buy your SIM card at the Vodacom shop at the airport (OR Tambo) you just need to present your passport. 


If go to a store that sells SIM cards you will need to RICA with the following:

  1. Full names and surname

  2. ID number or passport number – you will need to show one of the following documents as proof of identity:

    1. As a foreign visitor, you will need to provide either a letter from your Hotel where you will be staying or

    2. A letter from the owner of the home you will be staying to confirm your residence whilst in South Africa

Travel requirements


Please note that anyone traveling to South Africa must have two consecutive blank pages in their passport, which lie side by side when the passport is open (i.e. left and right-hand pages). Passports must also be valid for at least six months. Passengers traveling to South Africa with passports that do not comply with these requirements will either be stopped from boarding the aircraft or risk deportation on arrival in South Africa.

Check the visa requirements for your country carefully. For many countries, you need to apply for your visa in person. While visas are not required for citizens of some European countries and many other countries, a valid passport is required. A list of countries that currently do not require a visa can be found on the South African Government website.

Participants requiring a visa for entry into South Africa are strongly advised to make their applications in their home countries at least six months before their intended date of travel. For more information please contact your nearest embassy or South African Consulate or consult your travel agency.

Delegates wishing to travel to South Africa's neighbouring countries and back to South Africa are advised to apply for a multiple-entry visa. Passengers traveling to South Africa are required to have a minimum of two blank pages in their passports to enable the issuance of an entry visa. If there is insufficient space in the passport, an entry will be denied and the passenger is likely to be detained pending return to their country of origin. Perhaps this is the time to renew those almost-full passports!

Travel Assistance

If you would like assistance with travel bookings, feel free to contact Nina Gerdener, Travel Consultant at Travel Counsellors Bloemfontein.


Tel:           +27 82 771 1716



·    Emirates Airways:

·    South African Airways:

·    Air France:

·    British Airways:

·    KLM:

·    Turkish Airlines:

·    American Airlines:

·    Virgin Atlantic:


Car Rental & Taxi services

Bloemfontein does not have Uber yet, but there is a range of alternatives available for Delegates and artists who choose to not book accommodation on the University of the Free State Campus. 


Suggested Shuttle Service:

Citty Bug Shuttle

Click here
Bookings/Enquiries: 0861 33 44 33 (06:00 to 17:00)


Car Rental Services: 

1. Avis

2. Hertz

3. Bluu Car Rental

4. Thrifty Car Rental

5. Winona Shuttle & Tour Services

Taxi Services: 


Phone: 078 566 8997

2. AMP Meter Taxis/Cab & Mohai Cab

Phone: 071 852 3307

3. KGK and AMP Taxi

Phone: 064 923 8976

Car Hire: 

If your hiring a car, Excess insurance is very expensive in SA, so it’s worthlooking into getting a car hire excess policy prior to coming. Here’s a useful website.

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