Welkom, South Africa
Welkom is the youngest South African town and has grown to such a large extent since its founding in 1947 to become the second largest town in the Free State. The discovery of gold on a farm here brought the masses and the economy has not stopped ever since. Today you will find the Gold Museum in the library which highlights the history of the gold industry and mining that has taken place here. Some of the mines are still open for visitors to view and special tours are available.
Things to Do and See
Even though this town is new, there are lots of things to see like the various monuments. There is a WWII Monument, Voortrekker Memorial, Afrikaans Language Monument, Aandek Monument and more. For nature lovers there is a bird sanctuary at Theronia pan where you can bird watch to your heart’s content and there is also an interesting Flamingo Pan. For theater lovers, many of the province’s best dancers, thespians and singers grace the stages at the Ernest Oppenheimer Theater. Ernest Oppenheimer, who founded this town, also has his name memorialized as part of the local hospital.
The Riemland (Central Free State) – The Golden Country
This part of the Free State around Welkom is so named because of the stunning hues of gold that emerge here as the corn fields ripen and the sun hits the sandstone hills, and not forgetting the various underground gold deposits. The Vaal River (one of the major rivers in South Africa) runs through here providing ample irrigation for crops and offering plenty of resort destinations for visitors. You can enjoy fine wines, gourmet dining, and a luxurious lifestyle at many resorts and hotels in this part of the Free State. Some of these places include Inkwe Lodge in Bethlehem, the Protea Hotel Golden Gate Mountain Resort at Clarens, and the Welkom Inn Hotel.