Bloemfontein sits in the middle of the country in the Free State. That’s a fairly dry patch of land, yet Bloemfontein is famous as the city of roses and hosts a week-long Rose Festival every year. The national tourism authority ranks it as one of SA's best cities to live in and it has the feel of a country town, with thousands of rose bushes lining its streets. There are excellent museums, a zoo, a casino, a cheetah reserve, a nature reserve, architectural icons and a long history of battles. Things are much more peaceful nowadays, although rivalry between rose growers can get a bit thorny on competition days.