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Bloemfontein City Snapshots

Text Ailsa Uys Photographs Supplied Best Sleepover Located just outside the city, Liedjiesbos Guest House is Bloem’s most stylish farm stay. It’s an indigenous, architectural and environmentally friendly haven where the owners are genuinely passionate about preserving and even improving their little piece of heritage. 083-282-5701, liedjiesbos.co.za Best Art Experience Through the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, the University of the Free State commissioned works by 17 South African artists to adorn the Bloemfontein campus. Pieces by prominent names, such as Willie Bester, Noriah Mabasa, Strijdom van der Merwe, Kagiso Pat Mautloa, Thomas Kubayi, Azwifarwi Ragimana, Willem Boshoff and Brett Murray, create a new dimension to and appreciation of the campus. 051-401-9111 Best Pizza Bella Casa in Westdene is a truly authentic, owner-run pizzeria serving up delicious wood-fired pizzas. The Kitchen Sink pizza with Peppadews, olives, spinach, feta and bacon is a must! Cosy in winter and festive in summer, the outside area buzzes nightly with a lively crowd, so make sure you book ahead. It’s a great, easy-going place for reliably good food – from lunch till late. 051-448-9571 Best Breakfast Food without pretension is exactly what Picnic at Loch Logan Waterfront does best. Everything is home-made daily and served fast and efficiently. The baked goods are the best in town and include potato and rye breads, ciabatta and buttery croissants, and the cake table tempts even the most determined. Try the chocolate ganache. 051-430-4590 Best Quiche and Cake Comfy and casual Koekela in Westdene is sweet seduction. Owner Carol-Anne goes by the motto: ‘Why does chocolate make my clothes shrink?’ The interior, in hues of red, deep purple and turquoise, is just as zany. For ultimate sticky decadence, the marshmallow and pineapple tart tops the list. 051-430-1949 Best Sunday Stroll is the Free State National Botanical Gardens. Meander though the veld and into the hills, enjoying sweeping views of the city. The bird hide overlooks the lake built by British soldiers in the Anglo-Boer War, and trails wind through indigenous bush to historic Iron-Age sites. 051-436-3530, sanbi.org Best Night-Time Adventure Boyden Observatory houses a collection of unique telescopes – South Africa’s oldest and third-largest as well as the Metcalf Triplet telescope, which is famous for numerous ground-breaking discoveries in modern astronomy. It’s a great place for an informative and entertaining family outing. You’ll be impressed by the constellations, engulfed in the universe and bowled over by Boyden. 051-401-2561, assabfn.co.za/friendsofboyden Best for Sparkly Gifts Magpies love to browse the glittering wares to be found at the appropriately named Kristall at Loch Logan Waterfront. Crystals galore along with a blinding selection of diamanté jewellery make for the blingest shop around. You can even find gorgeous, crystal-encrusted underwear. 051-447-7965 Best Adrenaline Rush Soaring like a bird over the Free State in a glider has to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Bloemfontein Gliding Club offers lessons and flights in what is considered the fourth-best area for cross-country flying in the world because of the summer thermals over the open spaces of the Free State. Contact Jacques, 082-454-9717, bgc.org.za Best Spa Be enveloped in sheep’s-wool blankets and relax next to an open fire at De Oude Kraal Country Estate and Spa. A generations-old estate 35km south of Bloemfontein, it’s the perfect weekend retreat for stressed urbanites. There’s plenty of pampering to be had at the spa, with massages such as Woolgathering Daydream (aromatherapy) and Black Back Jackal (full-body Hawaiian). 051-564-0636, oudekraal.co.za This original article is from the March 2012 issue of House and Leisure…