GrahamstownEastern Cape of South Africa.
Frontier Country is a vibrant mix of all the best of Africa - where many intense battles were fought and many famous warriors are remembered. True country hospitality reigns in this area with its world class game lodges, hotels and guest houses. The delightful towns of Alicedale and Riebeeck East are also situated in the area and are fast gaining local and international popularity for their lingering history and the many prestigious game reserves that surround them.
This charming and picturesque small city is well worth a visit. It has maintained its old-time demeanour, and has many examples of buildings in the Victorian, Colonial and Gothic Revivalist styles.
phone: +27 46 622-3241
By planeThere are two airports located in close proximity to Grahamstown. The closest is the Port Elizabeth airport which is 114 km from Grahamstown. The East London airport is 123 km away. There are regular flights from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and other South African destinations to the airports in Port Elizabeth and East London.
By roadGrahamstown lies just off the N2 highway between Port Elizabeth to the west and East London to the east. From Port Alfred in the south follow the R67 north through Bathurst. From the north a number of different routes converge on Grahamstown. Grahamstown is easily accessible by motorways from Cape Town (887 km), Durban (671 km), and East London (152 km). You could also drive in from Johannesburg (950 km). The road conditions are fairly good if you are coming from any of these cities.
By railThe station is on Ayliff street (right in town). However there is no longer a train between Grahamstown and Alicedale, inland to the west.
From Alicedale there are regular trains south to Port Elizabeth and north to Bloemfontein and Johannesburg.
For several years there has been talk of reviving the disused rail link between Grahamstown and Port Alfred, but this project is still very far from completion.
By busSeveral companies, including Greyhound and Intercape, run long distance buses between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, which stop off at Grahamstown along the way. If you choose to travel like this, remember to take some toilet roll as the bus may run out pretty quickly. Minibus taxis from Raglan Street go to
Port Elizaberth R40 3 hours, and East London R60 4 hours.
Albany Museum ComplexThe original Albany Museum was established in 1855 by the Grahamstown medical-Chirurgical Society. The Museum today consists of a family of seven buildings which includes the Natural Sciences Museum, the History Museum, the Observatory Museum, Fort Selwyn, the Old Provost military prison, Drostdy Arch and the
Old Priest’s House.
Cory Library for Historical ResearchThe Cory Library at Rhodes University collects material of all kinds to support research into the history of Southern African and related fields in the social sciences.
Eastern Star Gallery
Fraser's Camp AdventuresFraser’s Camp offers adrenalin-fuelled teambuilding or family adventures with 6 ziplines that range between 135 & 240 m long. The facility is located 38 km from Grahamstown and also offers accommodation on request.
International Library of African Music
The 1820 Settlers National Monument
Makana Botanical Gardens
National English Literary Museum
Natural Science Museum
The Provost Prison
Towns close by
This charming Victorian-styled town, situated 65 km outside of Grahamstown, used to be the core railway junction in South Africa before the mid 1990s. Whilst in Alicedale, do not miss out on a trip to the Mohair Museum, a round of golf at the Gary Player-designed 18-hole golf course and lunch at the 4-star Bushman Sands Hotel. A visit to the Bushman Caves, unscathed rock art and safari experiences in game reserves in the area are also recommended.
A visit to Alicedale includes a Cultural Xhosa Village, a rural township experience, the possibility of a donkey cart ride, olive groves, light lunches at the beautifully refurbished historical Railway Station, untouched Bushman Cave and Rock Art. Not to forget the superb Golf Course at Bushman Sands and Leisure Centre where the ladies can pamper themselves in luxury and comfort. Also not to be missed is the Weaving Museum, which is part of the oldest Mohair Factory in South Africa. Abafazi Crafts and Designs is a delightful outlet for beautiful local bead and basket work. An internationally renowned Interior Decor and Designer furniture outlet is also worth a visit. Tel: +27 42 231-1247
Fort Brown -
Located next to the Great Fish River between Kwandwe Game Reserve and the Fish River Nature Reserve, Fort Brown sprung up around a British Fortification of the same name.
Frasers Camp -
Located near an old lookout tower and near the other settlement of The Coombs, this little settlement is located among grassy hills and is an excellent base from which to explore the Fish River and Kap River valleys.
This town lies in the vicinity of the archaeological sites showing cultural activity that predates many claims world-wide, contributing to its status as the cradle of human kind. This typical “platteland dorp” was built around the magnificent Dutch Reformed Church and is surrounded by farms and game reserves.
This historic village, located on the road to Kendon-on-Sea, was founded by early British settlers. The village boasts two Methodist Churches which were erected in 1832 and 1848 which overlook the village green where many a game of cricket has been played over hundreds of years. The village is famous for an event that took place in the Frontier Wars where a resident, Richard Gush, chose to successfully parley with an amaXhosa force that was preparing to attack the village rather than fight.
Seven Fountains -
This village, located off the N2 about 30 km from Grahamstown possesses a splendid Methodist Church. Founded by Irish settlers in 1820 they named their little settlement after the number of springs in the area.
A small village set out by Richard Daniel in the early 1830s along the lines of an English country Village with Daniel’s house, Sidbury Park, being set a little way from the village. Sidbury boasts two splendid churches, with a number of war graves in the church graveyards.
The Grahamstown area is outstanding for outdoor activities such as fishing, golf, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and skydiving. For the nature lover there are plenty of world class game lodges, private game reserves and a wealth of plant and bird life to discover. Annual events include the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, the biggest festival of its kind in Africa, and third biggest in the world, during June/July, the annual National SciFest in March, the Freedom Festival in April, The Eastern Cape Eisteddfod in May and the National Schools festival in July.
Most of the private game reserves in the area are home to Africa’s Big 5 namely the elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. The reserves are all free from malaria and are situated between 20 and 60 km outside Grahamstown. There are many accommodation options in the area that cater for everyone’s needs, from luxury accommodation, to self-catering chalets and perfectly neat camping terrains. You can choose one that compliments your ideal African experience. The area also boasts more than five ecosystems, thus enabling the support of many forms of plant, animal and bird life. Go on a sunset game drive, an escorted bush walk or a night drive and let the spectacular valleys, amazing rivers and abundant wildlife inspire you.
phone: +27 46 636-2752This private game reserve boasts a wide selection of owner managed accommodation ranging from intimate bush lodges to majestic colonial residences.
phone: +27 42 231-8000address: AlicedaleThe 4-star hotel is a delightful blend of rich heritage and modern luxury. Activities range from the great outdoors to pampering and relaxation.
phone: +27 40 635-2116The reserve is rich in history, with several forts bearing witness to the frontier conflicts between Xhosa and settler.
Kariega Private Game Reservephone: +27 46 636-7904address: AlicedaleThis private game reserve is set in 5 000 hectares of pristine wilderness above the Kariega River Valley.
phone: +27 46 603-3400address: AlicedaleSituated on the Fort Beaufort road and straddling the Great Fish River, this luxury Big 5 reserve is dedicated to the preservation of the magnificent but endangered Blue Crane.
phone: +27 42 203-1400address: AlicedaleFive-star accommodation, meals, an elephant sanctuary, endangered and exotic wildlife.
phone: +27 41 581-8170address: AlicedaleLalibela spans 4 ecosystems and offers luxury accommodation
phone: +27 46 603-2000address: AlicedaleDiscover wildest Africa in true luxury at the Pumba Private Game Reserve in South Africa. This Eastern Cape safari lodge has achieved a 5-star rating for its unrivalled beauty, world-class service and the abundance of wild animals on its doorstep. In addition to the famous Big 5 (lions, leopards, buffaloes, rhinos and elephants), guests of the game reserve have the rare opportunity of seeing the magnificent White Lion, stalking prey and lazing under the trees in its natural environment.
Schotia Safarisphone: +27 42 235-1436address: AlicedaleSchotia is home to many antelope, crocodile, warthog, jackal and lions.
phone: +27 41 407-1000address: AlicedaleThe Cape’s Premier Big 5 Game Reserve. Choose between 5 different lodges, or experience a day programme including a visit to the African Arts & Culture Village.
Thomas Baines Nature Reservephone: +27 46 622-7216address: AlicedaleHome of “Tom the Rhino”, Thomas Baines Nature Reserve is named after the famous 19th-century artist who left a valuable record of the rich diversity of fauna and flora in the region, including the now extinct quagga.
FishingWithin a 20 km radius of the city there are over 400 acres of water containing small- and large-mouth bass, barbel, carp, mullet, yellowtail and trout.
BirdwatchingSituated in the middle of a region where four geographical zones meet, Grahamstown is a bird-watchers paradise.
GolfThe Grahamstown area is a golfer’s paradise, with the Grahamstown Golf Course, and the Gary Player designed Bushman Sands Golf Course in close proximity.
Grahamstown Golf Coursephone: +27 46 636-1361
Bushman Sands Golf Coursephone: +27 42 231-8000
Boma Helicoptersphone: +27 82 659-0254Slinging, film and photo sessions, map making and survey, and reconnaissance, game capture and counting of wild animals.
Oldenburgia Hiking Trailphone: +27 46 603-6072Grahamstown’s own hiking trail is the Oldenburgia Hiking Trail which is a two-day circular trail starting and ending at the Grahamstown Municipal Caravan Park.
Mosslands Two River Trailphone: +27 46 622-8956The trail meanders along the Assegaai and Kariega Rivers, mostly under canopy. There are two overnights for 12 people in Reed Cabins overlooking a stretch of water, and an old Settler Cottage.
Under the ArchThere are two shops under the Drostdy Arch, the much-photographed entrance to Rhodes University. The shop called "Under the Arch" sells wonderful unusual gifts, specialising in crafts from the Eastern Cape region and further afield. They also stock a range of beads and snacks. Don't miss the pottery by local potters Greg Jacobs and Richard Pullen.
Earth Art Ceramic Production and Studiophone: +27 46 625-0166address: 613 Kowie Road, BathurstEach vessel is hand thrown and decorated to be completly unique.
Red Caféphone: +27 46 622-8384address: 127a High StA great coffee shop with friendly staff and eccentric customers, owner-managed by Justus. It is licensed and serves delicious light meals. There is an eclectic range of secondhand books on sale.
137 High Street Restaurantphone: +27 46 622-3242address: 137 High StAdjacent to Rhodes University and within easy walking distance of the High Court. They serve excellent breakfasts, lunches and dinners and the best cappuccino in town. Fresh cakes and scones are baked daily. Specials change weekly as well as their dinner menu.
Rat and Parrotaddress: 59 New StA cosy student pub - anyone who has spent any time as a student in the UK will be instantly at home here!
phone: +27 83 651-9244address: 9 Stone's HillOffers accommodation with tranquil country living.
phone: +27 46 622-2843address: 7 Worcester Str
phone: +27 46 636-1287address: 10 Market Str
phone: +27 46 622-2274address: 2 Lansdowne Rd4 star
phone: +27 46 622-8845address: 16 Henry Str
The Highlanderphone: +27 46 622-3564address: Worcester Str
phone: +27 46 636-1541address: 9 Dulverton Rd4 star
phone: +27 46 622-8782address: 2 Thompson St3 star
phone: +27 46 622-2324address: 123 High str
phone: +27 46-6361001address: 6 George street
- Local telephone directory: 1023
- International telephone directory: 10903
- Ambulance: +27 46 622-5664 (10177)
- Fire Station: +27 46 603-6000
- Police: +27 46 603-9111 (10111)
- Hospital: +27 46 622-2215 (10177)