Destinations & Attractions in Amatola, in Eastern Cape

Amatola Destinations & Attractions

The Amatola Region is named after the mountain range of the same name, and is known for its exquisite vistas. These mountains enjoy the majestic abundance of dense forests (comprising of stinkwoods and yellowwoods, amongst many other beautiful jade-coloured indigenous adornments), which give this part of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa a very special appeal.

These breath-taking scenes are the irresistible backdrop to the many little towns, rustic informal settlements, and villages that lie at the foot of these mountains. In addition to being aesthetically magnificent, the area boasts a rich history that makes it fascinating.

These Amatola Mountains once acted as the homes of the ancient Khoisan people, who lived off the abundance of the land. As explorers arrived in South Africa, they soon established military posts and small communities. Adelaide, Fort Beaufort and Cathcart all began as military outposts, for example. This area was also the site of many of the wars that took place between colonialists and the indigenous people. The formal Frontier War Tours comprise the Maqoma, Sandile, Phalo and Ndlambe routes.

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Some of the local towns that are of interest include Alice (home to Fort Hare University), Stutterheim, King William’s Town (the original pulse of the Amatola region and the site of anti-apartheid activist, Steve Biko), and the picturesque mountain village of Hogsback.

There are many farms in the area, which is famous for its orange orchards.

Due to the mountainous terrain, the Amatola region is very hot in summer and very cold in winter. In fact, this is one of the few areas in South Africa in which snow is regularly experienced during July and August. The Amatola Hiking Trail is a six-day, one-way trail that spans just over 100 kilometres. It is tough in places, and moderate in others, but never easy. The views are spectacular, and promise once-in-a-lifetime memories. For those who prefer, this trail can also be tackled on a mountain bike or even on horseback. In addition to this challenging hike, there are a number of shorter, easier routes through the mountains, each with its own unique beauty.

Hogsback continues to be one of the area's chief tourist attractions. The local community is an eclectic collection of artists, craftsmen and those that love the countryside and all the beings (including fairies and pixies) that call this home.

The Amatola region is a sensory delight that first-time visitors will not easily forget, and that continues to lures South African and international travellers year after year.

Adelaide

Lying just south of the Winterberg Mountains, seeped in settler history, Adelaide is a charming little town some 37 kilometres from Fort Beaufort - one of the largest towns in the area that also happens to boast one of the finest ...

Bedford

Just west off the N10 between Cradock and Cookhouse lies the settler town of Bedford on the southern edge of the Winterberg mountain range. It lies in what is termed the smaldeel, probably Dutch for 'small section' as it refers ...

Cathcart

The little town of Cathcart, set in the foothills of the Amatola, is something of a sanctuary, although its popularity amongst the gliding fraternity means that numerous gliders take off from the nearby hills, their silent and ...

Cintsa

The quaint little seaside village of Cintsa (or Chintsa), lies just 45 kilometres north east of East London. It is often mistakenly regarded as part of the Wild Coast, and though it lies very close to it, manages to fall just ...

Cove Rock

The exquisite coastal stretch of Cove Rock covers one kilometre of the Eastern Cape shores, just minutes away from the heart of East London. This continues to be one of the most significant industrial cities of the Eastern Cape ...

East London

A city that still manages to retain some of its old fashioned values blended with a dollop of laidback charm makes East London - the gateway to the wild coast and the sunshine coast and the only river port in South Africa - one ...

Fort Beaufort

Lying in the heart of the citrus farming Katriver Valley, Fort Beaufort is a little historical town that dates back to 1822, when a frontier post was established here by the British, who occupied the town until 1870 during a ...

Gonubie

The little beachside village of Gonubie, considered fondly by East Londoners as theirs, lies on the beautiful estuary of the Gonubie River just eight kilometres outside of East London, perfectly placed to act as a stopover en ...

Hogsback

On the western end of the forested Amatola Mountains lies a village, overlooked by mountains and surrounded by indigenous Afro-montane forests that are centuries old, called Hogsback. It lies only an hour-and-a-half’s journey ...

Katberg

About 30 kilometres from Hogsback and close on two hours from East London, the little town of Katberg lies in enviable countryside. Citrus orchards, green lucerne fields, clear rivers and soft green valleys with forested ravines ...

Keiskammahoek

Not many people know where Keiskammahoek is. Those who do travel the lesser-known roads of the Eastern Cape between King William's Town or Fort Hare, and Stutterheim - up the Red Hill and Dontsa passes - to reach it, before ...

Kidds Beach

The little seaside village of Kidds Beach, just 30 kilometres from East London, lies on the rocky shore of the Indian Ocean, its beach an uninterrupted landscape of white sand and sea, and little else to interfere with its sheer ...

King Williams Town

Considered one of the most interesting towns to visit in the region, along with Grahamstown, King Williams Town began its life on the banks of the Buffalo River as a mission station in 1834. About 50km west of East London, King ...

Molteno

Regarded as the coldest town in South Africa and home to Ouma rusks and the Stormberg biltong factory, the little farming village of Molteno lies north west of Hofmeyr, roughly 13 kilometres from the town of Stormberg - where the ...

Steynsburg

The small village of Steynsburg is secluded within the gorgeous mountain ranges of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. At only 17.4 square kilometres in area, this little town is home to hundreds of households, or about 8 ...

Stutterheim

Lying nestled at the feet of the eastern slopes of the Kologha Mountains, the little town of Stutterheim is on the N6 to East London, is easy to reach, and is situated in one of the most naturally beautiful parts of the country. ...

Tarkastad

Set against the dramatic Winterberg Mountains, between Cradock and Queenstown, only three hours from Port Elizabeth, Tarkastad is a typical Karoo town on the banks of the Tarka River, its streets lined with quaint historical ...

Winterberg

Winterberg lies virtually in the shadow of the Winterberg Mountains that include some of the highest peaks in the province, roughly 20 kilometres from Tarkastad. Winterberg is beautiful. The valley scenery bounded as it is by ...

Winterstrand

Winterstrand is a small, quiet village along the coast of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, about 25 kilometres from East London. This is one of the ever-growing cities of the province, home to an enormous industrial ...
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