SA Road Trip 2016


We arrived in Grahamstown late afternoon and our main concern was to find accommodation, this was not going to be as easy as our previous stop overs. There are numerous Guest Houses and B & B’s to choose from, but not in our price range. Although the local Arts Festival was over, most places were full; we were eventually directed to a Hotel called the Stone Crescent Hotel, 8km’s outside the town.

When we called to book, the price was just perfect for a one night stay over or so we thought.

When we arrived their credit card machine was not working, they had no Wi-Fi (now that is just not right, how on earth can a hotel have no Wi-Fi. That of course is the draw card to stay at any hotel, guest house or B&B, is the Wi-Fi and when it is free, what a bonus.)

After paying for our accommodation in cash we were taken to our rooms, one double bed and one single. It was a roof over our heads, so we decided to make the best of it, and is was for just one night anyway.

So we had to trek all the way back into town for dinner, found a great little restaurant and had a great meal. Evening went well, met the owner who was very chatty and he suggested we go via  Bathurst, Port Alfred, Kent-on-Sea then on to Port Elizabeth and the Garden Route. It was a slight detour but he reckoned it would be worth it. David and I discussed the detour and decided it would not be too much out of our way.

Grahamstown has a population of about 70,000 people in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It is situated about 110 kilometres (70 mi) northeast of Port Elizabeth and 130 kilometres (80 mi) southwest of East London. Grahamstown is the largest town in the Makana Local Municipality, and the seat of the municipal council. It also hosts Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court, and a diocese of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa

Grahamstown was founded in 1812 as a military outpost.

St. Michael and St. George Cathedral is the seat of the Anglican Diocese of Grahamstown. Grahamstown also has Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Ethiopian Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist, Pinkster Protestante, Dutch Reformed (Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk), Charismatic, Apostolic and Pentecostal churches. There are also meeting places for Hindus, Scientologists, Quakers, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Muslims.

We awoke the following morning to tepid water in the shower and could not get out of the hotel quick enough. I still intend to give scathing revue on Trip Advisor soon. So into town we went to have coffee and breakfast and then did our tour of the city. We had been getting so many warnings about the cattle on the road in the Eastern Cape and we had experienced no problems thus far, until we walked about Grahamstown. Besides the huge bull grazing on the centre island of the road as we came in, there were these three donkeys outside St Michael and St George Cathedral, they were rather early to take part in the Nativity scene for Christmas though.


As always it was the churches that caught our attention and after spending an hour or so in the town we were on our way to Bathurst.


We found Bathurst to vey quaint and very very Bohemian.

Bathurst – Many of the original settler houses and other buildings have been preserved, and there remains much of the look and feel of an English village of the early 19th Century. The Pig and Whistle Inn, at the heart of the village, is reputedly the oldest extant pub in the country. Built in 1821 by Thomas Hartley, a blacksmith who came from Nottinghamshire with the Settlers. Later accommodation was added and it became known as the Bathurst Inn. Legend has it that it was nicknamed “The Pig & Whistle” by the men at the nearby 43 Air School in WWII.

While time has moved slowly in Bathurst, there is an increasing population of artists, academics (Rhodes University is only 40 km away), and retirees.

Bathurst hosts a pineapple museum whose building is shaped like a 17-meter-tall pineapple

After popping into a shop or two we were on our way to Port Alfred.

Port Alfred was established in the early 1820s by British settlers who were moved into the area by Lord Charles Somerset as a buffer between the Cape Colony and the Xhosa people. Originally it was two separate towns (settlers arriving on the west bank in 1820 named their settlement Port Kowie, and those arriving on the east bank named theirs Port Frances.

Later, in 1860, when Queen Victoria’s son Prince Alfred visited, the name was changed in his honour.

The port

In 1839, William Cock and George Hodgkinson started to block the natural river mouth to the east and canalise the present opening to the sea. By 1841 South Africa’s first man-made harbour was opened after completion of the stone lined channel between the ocean and the Kowie River. This allowed high-masted sailing ships with their heavy cargo to dock at the wharf.

I reckon we might have stayed longer in Port Alfred than anticipated; there were just so many good photographic opportunities to not to be missed.

Next we whizzed by Kenton-on-Sea

by passed Port Elizabeth and stopped in Jefferies Bay, not sure why we did though, just your normal surfer’s paradise, but none the less we stayed for far too long.

Because of this we missed all of the Garden Route and got to Mossel Bay around 530/6pm.

We had booked in advance for our accommodation in Mossel Bay and wanted to get there at a descent time.

I have promised Davis that we will do the Garden Route sometime in the future – now there is our next road trip in the making.

We were now entering the final part of our journey home, but that will be the final installment, coming up soon.

Thanks to Wikipedia for info gathered, and don’t forget to check out David’s website