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Bethlehem is in the Free State subdivision of South Africa. The town is in the heart of the picturesque north-eastern Free State and developed as a service centre.


Town Hall

It is a wheat-growing area and named after the biblical Bethlehem (from "Beit Lechem", Hebrew for "house of bread").

Agriculture plays an important role in the economy of the area. Crops include wheat, maize, asparagus, yellow peaches and apples.

The town lies at an altitude of 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) and this contributes to its cool climate with frosty winters and mild summers. The average annual temperature is around 14 °C (57 °F).

Get in[edit]

Bethlehem is approximately 240 km (150 mi) north-east of Bloemfontein, 140 km (87 mi) east of Kroonstad and 90 km (56 mi) west of Harrismith.

By road[edit]

Bethlehem is on the N5 road to the provincial capital Bloemfontein via Senekal and Winburg to the N1. Other regional roads in the town are R76 road to Kroonstad (north), the R26 road to Reitz and Fouriesburg (north east and south) respectively.

By train[edit]

Bethlehem is on the main passenger railway line between Bloemfontein and Durban.

By plane[edit]

Bethlehem is served by a small airport with chartered daily flights to Bloemfontein and Johannesburg.

Get around[edit]


Dutch Reformed Church
  • Nazareth Mission Church Museum displays costumes, porcelain, leather and wood, and antiquated kitchen utensils and farming implements

Heritage sites in Bethlehem:

  • 14 President Burgers Street
  • A B Baartman Wagon House
  • Loch Athlone Dam Wall
  • Main Building of the Bethlehem Technical College
  • Nederduitse Gereformeerde Mother Church
  • Old Magistrates Court
  • Old Nederduitse Gereformeerde Mission Church parsonage
  • Old Nederduitse Gereformeerde Mission Church
  • St Andrews Presbyterian Church
  • St Augustine Anglican Church
  • Strapps Shop
  • The Seminary
  • Town Hall
  • Wooden Spoon Restaurant


  • Pretoriuskloof Nature Reserve offers lovely walks alongside the river Jordan River as it meanders through the town amidst willow trees and towering krantzes
  • Wolhuterskop Game and Nature Reserve (on the outskirts of town), +27 58 303 5732 ext 2269. You can see the game by car, on horseback, or along the hiking trail, and stay in an overnight hut: large herds of zebras, rooihartebees, eland, springbuck, impala, black wildebees and many other antelope species. Hunting packages are available during the season.
  • Water sports: there are four dams in the vicinity of Bethlehem.
  • The National Hot Air Balloon Championship and Air Show in late May/June
  • The Maluti Classic Cycle Tour is held during October


Bethlehem is the main center of the eastern Free State where people from other towns do their shopping, the main shopping malls are:

  • Bethlehem mall
  • Dihlabeng mall
  • Maluti square
  • Village square
  • Metropolitan life centre
  • Shoprite centre

Typical high street shopping is found along the Muller, Cambridge, Louw, Church, High and other surrounding streets.





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