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Goodyear Park, Bloemfontein
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Goodyear Park
Bloemfontein, South Africa

On first inspection Bloemfontein appears to be just another modern city sprawling into the suburbs, but a closer look reveals many of the historical buildings that have shaped its past.

Fans of the Lord of the Rings may be interested to search out the birthplace of author JRR Tolkien, who was born in the city in 1892.

He was born in a house on the corner of West Burger and Maitland Streets, although the building has long since been demolished.

As with all large South African cities, you need to be wary of your personal safety and the city centre - particularly after business hours - and the area around the railway station is best avoided after dark.

Although Free State, of which Bloemfontein is the administrative capital, is landlocked, it opened its own waterfront on Loch Logan in 1998.

It's based on Cape Town's waterfront area and has the usual shops and restaurants.

For evening entertainment after the day's play, the area of Westdene, close to the city centre, contains numerous bars and restaurants and is relatively safe at night.

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