South Africa’s youngest city and the second largest in the Free State, Welkom, which also goes by the names “Circle city”, “City Within A Garden”, “Mvela” and Sotho name “Matjhabeng”, was first established in 1968, despite existing as a mining area 21 years prior to that. Welkom, which translates to “welcome” in Afrikaans, was actually named after the farm where the first discovery of gold was found in that area.
Situated about 160km northeast of Bloemfontein, Welkom is regarded as one of the few pre-planned cities in the world, which gave rise to its name of “Circle city”, due to the efficient use of traffic circles in the city.
With a usually warm climate, Welkom experiences its annual rainfall during the summer season. Winters tend to be short and dry, with average year-round temperatures reaching 17ºC.
Another one of its names, “City within a Garden” is an apt description for the city because of the many parks and gardens in the area – a quintessential hangout for the outdoorsy. The 18 hole Oppenheimer Park Golf Club is located just outside Welkom, on the edge of a large, flamingo-filled dam and is not to be missed for golfers and explorers alike. If you’re looking for something a little more culturally and historically relevant, the Welkom museum offers a glimpse into the history of gold and its production.
What to do in Welkom
The small town feel of Welkom is perfect for those wanting a quiet getaway. Take advantage of the many parks – and be sure to check out the Flamingo Pan nearby!
Where to stay in Welkom
Where to eat in Welkom