Destinations & Attractions in Northern Ukhahlamba, in Eastern Cape

Northern Ukhahlamba Destinations & Attractions

Northern Ukhahlamba is a region of the beautiful Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, and includes a number of well known towns and destinations (including the famous Tiffindell, as well as Rhodes). Although a stunning destination, this area remains relatively quiet and untouched, leaving its unique beauty unspoilt.

The entire region is dedicated mainly to stock farming, which means that the countryside is dominated by rolling hills and green fields. Of course, the Northern Ukhahlamba region is also home to part of the awe-inspiring Drakensberg Mountain Range, which remains one of the world’s most beautiful ranges, and an extremely popular spot for hiking, camping and mountain climbing.

Northern UkhahlambaNorthern Ukhahlamba

Because Northern Ukhahlamba is an inland, mountainous part of South Africa, it experiences extremes in terms of its weather conditions. Summer times on the lower-lying regions are usually extremely hot, with daytime highs reaching well above 30 degrees Celsius. During winter, this is the ideal place for snow-hunters to come, as it is often blanketed with a thick layer of cold white. The mountain peaks are pristinely bedecked, and the icy conditions affect the entire region, turning it into a winter wonderland.

Tiffindell is, not surprisingly, the only snow resort in the country. It is also the highest resort in South Africa, at 2 720 metres above sea level. Its positioning on the Drakensberg slopes ensures that the snow lasts for as long as possible, and the slopes can be used as soon as the first light falls occur. The natural snowfall is aided by two modern snow machines to ensure that winter visitors are never disappointed.

The magnificent Lake !Gariep is also part of Northern Ukhahlamba. In addition to its undeniable beauty, this lake or dam is a fabulous hotspot for watersports, boating tours, and fishing. Added to this, the entire area around Gariep caters to tourists who love the outdoors, promising plenty to see and do (including hiking, cycling, 4x4 trailing, and more).

There is an endless variety of hikes and walks to try out in the area. Famous trails include Ash Cave Trail, Cathedral Peak, Canyon Trail, Champagne Castle and Monk’s Cowl. These vary in distance and difficulty, but promise something for everyone.

Other towns in the area include Aliwal North (known almost exclusively for its hot mineral springs), Barkly East (another great destination for those wanting to ski in winter), Lady Grey (an irresistibly charming Victorian town) and Venterstad.

Aliwal North

Aliwal North is a small, largely unknown town - aside from its two hot mineral springs that have extremely high concentrations of minerals and gases and formed part of the reason for the town’s development. That and the fact that ...

Barkly East

Barkly East, sometimes spelt Barkley East, lies nestled amongst the majestic mountains of the southern Drakensberg, between the villages of Lady Grey and Elliot. One of the highest lying towns in the country, elevated at about ...


Described as the oldest town in the North Eastern Cape, Burgersdorp lies south in the tip of an inverted triangle between Aliwal North and Venterstad. It is not a town you'll simply happen upon unless you have a lot of time on ...

Lady Grey

The little Victorian-style village of Lady Grey lies surrounded by the Witteberg Mountains, 50 kilometres from Aliwal North on the R58 to Barkly East. You’d be forgiven, if you initially intended staying only a couple of nights ...


Maclear is a small town in the mountainlands of the Eastern Cape. It is set against the magnificence of the Drakensberg Mountain Range and surrounded by rural villages and agricultural landscapes. This part of South Africa ...


Oviston sits perched on the edge of the Gariep Dam within the 16 000 hectare Oviston Nature Reserve in the heart of the Nama Karoo. The town of Oviston rests unnoticed amidst open plains of almost white grass, little koppies, ...


The term ‘frozen in time’ takes on new meaning when applied to the little village of Rhodes, perched in the Eastern Cape Highlands virtually on the border with Lesotho at the foot of the highest mountain pass in South Africa. ...


A snow resort, in South Africa? Indeed, Tiffindell is South Africa’s answer to Europe’s ski resorts in the Alps, only, to be fair, one cannot expect quite the same deluge of snow. One thing you can be sure of, however, is ...


In 2008 the pretty village of Ugie made history when it snowed in the little town that lies between the towns of Maclear and Elliot in the wild west region of the Eastern Cape for the first time in years. Small and insignificant ...


Venterstad lies south west of the Oviston Nature Reserve and Tussen-die-Riviere Game Farm to the south of the Gariep Dam wall. It's rarely that someone visiting this part of the Eastern Cape will not have stumbled across the ...
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