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Grahamstown, Frontier Country, Eastern Cape

Grahamstown, Frontier Country, Eastern Cape

Grahamstown is the hub of the Frontier Country region of South Africa – the heart of the rapidly growing malaria free, wildlife eco-tourism industry of the Eastern Cape. Grahamstown is also a city with a history – once the centre for settlers to the region, it became the military base supporting the 100 year frontier war with the Xhosa nation and the outcome was the Cape’s then second largest city.

Today, all that remains of that period are the forts, historic buildings, museums and an old world feel – an ideal setting for all the excellent educational institutions that developed, like Rhodes University and several of the country’s top private schools confirming its position as an Academic city.

However, as Grahamstown lies in one of the most diverse ecological regions in South Africa, with a variety of biomes that provide both unspoiled and spectacular scenery and exactly the right conditions for game – thousands of hectares are devoted to nature and game conservation, bringing with them the return of great herds of wildlife to the places where they once roamed freely. Some of the better known reserves are Shamwari, Lalibela, Kariega, Kwandwe, Kwantu and the Great Fish River Reserve.

The Grahamstown National Arts Festival in July is the biggest in Africa and brings over 50,000 visitors to participate in the diverse culture and activities on show; drama and jazz, flea-markets and cabaret, traditional and way out, for adults and kids – it appeals to everyone. Try to book accommodation and shows well in advance, take good walking shoes and get ready to be elevated, delighted, enriched.

Grahamstown activities and attractions

Take a day trip to Bathurst on the Sunshine Coast, the centre of pineapple production in S.A and close to Kenton-on -Sea and Bushman’s River resorts.

Spend a day at the Thomas Baines Nature Reserve for canoeing, bass fishing, wildlife, bird watching and other outdoor activities for the whole family.

Visit the the museums, including the Observatory Museum, which houses a Victorian Camera Obscura, with a magical mirror that reflects the town onto a large circular table and is one of only two in the world. Part of the museum complex is the Provost Prison, where you can even overnight for the real experience of a prisoner.

Take a trip to Alicedale, by train (you better believe it) or car, and visit the oldest weaving museum in South Africa, see a traditional Xhosa cultural village, local beadwork and furniture, and maybe play a round at the Bushman Sands Signature Golf Course.

Visit the Makana Botanical Gardens, established in 1853, which is now part of the beautiful grounds of Rhodes University.

Do a hike – the Oldenburgia hiking trail, Grahamstown’s own hiking trail, is a two-day circular trail starting and ending at the Grahamstown Municipal Caravan Park. There are another two shorter walking trails in town – the Dassie Krantz and Gowie Kloof. ☎ +27 (0)46 603-6072

Getting there: From Port Elizabeth take the N2 east and stay on the N2. Driving time is about 1hr 45 mins. For more information on the Eastern Cape, Visit ShowMe Eastern Cape




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