Situated about 120km south-west of Johannesburg on the Mooi Rivier, Potchefstroom is known as an academic town because of the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University that was founded in 1838. With a population of around 130,000, those who live there are divided as to how the town got its name. Some say it was a combination of the leader (Chef) of the Voortrekkers, Andries Potgieter (Potch) and the nearby Mooi River (Stroom). However, Geoffrey Jenkins writes, "Others, however, attribute the name as having come from the word 'Potscherf', meaning a shard of a broken pot, due to the cracks that appear in the soil of the Mooi River Valley during drought resembling a broken pot".
No matter how the town got its name, it does nonetheless have a few things worth seeing and doing for anyone who visits. Here are 5 things to do in Potchefstroom.
Potchefstroom Country Club is set in beautiful surroundings and is considered one of the toughest and best-kept courses in the North West Province.
Every good town has a popular street for going out, having a hot or cold drink and seeing the life of the area. Whether it's a weekday, weekend or even a Sunday night, take a walk up Steve Biko street and visit Die Akker Koffiehuis or one of the restaurants to experience the vibe of student life in the area. For a great spot to take children, visit Mike's Kitchen and get buy-one-get-one-free burgers every Monday!
For those with a sense of adventure, Koepel Mega Zip Adventures is a great way to enjoy the open spaces around Potchefstroom. With two zip lines totalling 1200 metres in length, there is a superb opportunity to view some game from an unusual angle. Koepel Mega Zip Adventures is a great day out for the whole family.
Like almost any noteworthy town, Potchefstroom has a town museum. This small but fascinating museum tells the story of Potch through the eyes and stories of 4 amazing men: Andries Hendrik Potgieter, a Voortrekker who founded the town in 1838, Marthinus Wessel Pretorius, the president of the South African Republic, Otto Landsberg, an artist whose work is on exhibition here as a permanent fixture and Totius, a poet known for translating the Christian Bible into Afrikaans. If anyone wants a wonderful story told to them then the Potchefstroom Museum is just the place to visit.
For those with a love for historic buildings, Goetz-Fleishack House is just the place to see. As the only surviving example of a townhouse that once fronted New Market Square, it was formerly the primary residence of AM Goetz, magistrate of Potchefstroom during the First Anglo-Boer War (1880 – 1881).
As well as a wide selection of restaurants and places to eat, there are plenty of places to stay in Potchefstroom. From small B&Bs to hotels, there are options for every budget and lifestyle. We were made to feel most welcome at Ma Cachette Guesthouse, situated on the corner of Meyer- and Molen Street in Potchefstroom.
Ma Cachette offers 7 elegant rooms with underfloor heating for winter warmth and air conditioning and ceiling fans for the hot summer days. All the rooms have an en-suite bathroom, television, air conditioning, tea and coffee facilities and WIFI. Breakfast and dinner is served daily and booking is recommended!
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