The Gold Country

Welkom is situated about 90 minutes northeast of Bloemfontein  and despite being a young town, it still has plenty to offer its visitors. Directly translated from Afrikaans or Dutch, the name Welkom means “welcome”.

As its name suggests, Welkom has welcomed many visitors over the years that come to immerse themselves in all that the “circle city” has to offer.  The nickname “circle city” was adopted due to clever use of many easy flowing traffic circles that make up the traffic design of the city and this system has become an attraction in itself as visitors try to count just how many circles there are this fascinating city.

Welkom has also come to be known as a “city within a garden” due to the many parks and gardens that give the city its many shady trees and pretty settings.  The Flamingo Pan or Theronia Pan are well worth a visit and offer not only beautiful surroundings, but also a perfect day for bird watching.

Born out of a gold rush, Welkom has many activities related to the industry from the Museum to the mine tours and don’t forget to visit the monuments scattered around the city which include a WWII Monument, Aandek Monument, Dog Monument and Voortrekker Memorial.

Take a day tour or stay a few nights, there are wonderful guesthouses, self-catering units, a caravan site and various star graded hotels to choose from.

Places to Visit

Things to do and see

  • Welkom Museum
  • Welkom Mine Tours
  • Ernest Oppenheimer Theatre
  • Welkom Publicity Clock Tower
  • North Flea Market
  • Welkom Shopping Mall
  • Phakisa Raceway
  • Flamingo Pan
  • Theronia Pan & Bird Sanctuary
  • Oppenheimer Park Golf Course
  • Bells Pass (nearby)

Climate

Welkom receives most of its annual rainfall during the summer months.

Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 15˚C and 30˚C.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 0˚C and 17˚C.

Transport

There are daily local flights to the Bram Fischer International Airport in Bloemfontein which is approximately 169 km from Welkom. Car hire facilities are available at all Airports.

Road trips from Johannesburg along the N1  will take approximately two and a half hours.

History

It was in 1946 that the Free State Province announced that gold had been discovered on a farm called St Helena, approximately 160 km outside Bloemfontein. The news spread quickly and it did not take long before the mining industry lay down its roots and the town of Welkom was established in 1947.

Welkom is South Africa’s youngest town, but grew at such a rapid rate, in fact at the same rate as the city of Johannesburg did and received city status by 1955 and is currently the Free State second largest town. Despite its rapid growth, the city is proud of its well-designed traffic system of many traffic circles, minimal number of stop streets and few traffic lights which allows for an effortless flow of traffic.

Welkom remains a vital producer of uranium, mineral ore and gold.

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