Winburg, Lejweleputswa

Winburg lies just across the Laaispruit River alongside the N1 where it merges with the N5. Hugged by a few little koppies and shrub trees, the town is described by its residents as something of a ghost town, with little to recommend it other than a few memorials and the dilapidated remnants of the stone huts that housed the areas very first inhabitants.

The first town to emerge in what today is known as the Free State, and thus in theory an historical village worthy of further scrutiny, Winburg was built on land exchanged for a few head of cattle. It remains a predominantly farming community (between here and Senekal there are fields of sunflowers in season, usually around Febuary and March), frequented by local farmers who come into town to use the banks, local shops and petrol stations.

There are a couple of reasons to take the turnoff into town. The Fords historic hotel has a dining hall used by the Voortrekkers, the cemetery in town is the oldest Voortrekker cemetery in the country, and the Dutch Reformed Church is built out of sandstone and particularly beautiful. There is a Garden of Rememberance, and a Voortrekker Monument in town too.

But do not expect to find a coffee shop or other touristy attractions. A detour through Winburg is principally to assuage your thirst for historical monuments and old buildings.

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