Rhodes Holidays - Eastern Cape, Wild Coast & Berg
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Tucked away in the Eastern Cape Highlands is Rhodes, a beautiful, timeless Victorian era village lying at the foot of the highest mountain pass in South Africa. Eastern Cape, Rhodes is where many artists make their home, and galleries abound with some of the finest South African art. Rhodes, Eastern Cape is known as the ‘tail of the dragon’, as it's at the end of the lofty Drakensberg Mountain (dragon's mountain) range.
For the Eastern Cape adventurer, there are incredible Drakensberg mountain walks where you may be lucky enough to see the rare bearded vulture, known as the 'lammergeyer'. Because of its height above sea level, and the tendency towards winter-snowfall, this Eastern Cape area is also known as the ‘skiing capital’ of the country, with Tiffindell lying just above the village of Rhodes.
Pristine Eastern Cape beauty, majestic mountains and blissful serene silence define Rhodes Hotel accommodation at Tenahead Mountain Lodge, lying on 3,500 hectares of unspoilt Eastern Cape mountains, valleys and streams. Also try Rhodes Guest Farm accommodation at Reedsdell Country Guest Farm nestled below the sheer cliffs of the majestic peaks of the Drakensberg, or rustic Rhodes Self Catering accommodation at Cow Lane Cottage - a very unusual, rewarding destination! Visit the WhereToStay Rhodes accommodation page for more info on these wonderful Eastern Cape lodgings.
Rhodes is the ideal base from which to explore the nearby mountains, making it the perfect Eastern Cape holiday destination, whether it be for a weekend escape from the city, or longer family holidays.
Other towns on Where to Stay Eastern Cape near Rhodes accommodation :
Barkly East, Eastern Cape
Less than an hours drive from Rhodes accommodation (59.9km), you will find Barkly East set in the foothills of the majestic Southern Drakensberg mountains, between the Eastern Cape villages of Lady Grey and Elliot. Elevated at 1790 meters above sea level, Barkly East in the Eastern Cape is known as the 'Switzerland of South Africa', because of the snow that covers its rugged mountains in winter. Barkly East in the Eastern Cape, and especially nearby Tiffindell Ski Resort (just under 80km from Barkly East), is one of the few areas in South Africa where winter sports are pursued. In this Barkly East, Eastern Cape area you can experience skiing and snowboarding between May and August, with professional ski instructors showing you how it's done.
The Barkly East summers are famous for excellent fly fishing in sparkling mountain streams, where indigenous rainbow trout and yellow fish are in abundance. Barkly East bird life is enticed by the characteristic lush green valleys covered in wildflowers, making summer in Barkly East perfect for wonderful hikes, mountain biking, horse riding, and swimming in natural Eastern Cape pools. For the 4x4 enthusiast, there are outstanding 4x4 trails suitable for all levels of driver. For the golf fanatic, the Barkly East Golf Club has a nine hole golf course with lovely mountain views, a bar which boasts big screens, and a large fireplace for those cold Eastern Cape evenings.
When looking for accommodation in Barkly East, you'll find superb Barkly East Guest Farm accommodation at Reedsdell Country Guest Farm, a comfortable sandstone Eastern Cape farmhouse with beautiful grounds and magnificent mountain views. Then just 25km from Barkly East there's more stunning Barkly East Guest Farm accommodation at Rosstrevor, Eastern Cape Guest Farm, a hundred-year old farmhouse painstakingly restored and furnished in late Victorian style. These Barkly East Guest Farm accommodation establishments offer a multitude of activities - such as Eastern Cape fly-fishing for trophy size rainbow trout and yellow fish, hiking, horse riding, Eastern Cape bird watching, quad biking and nature walks in the noble Witteberg Mountains. See the WhereToStay Barkly East accommodation page for more on these incredible Barkly East holiday destinations.
If you're visiting Barkly East around April, don't miss the annual Barkly East Wild Trout and Partridge Festival, which draws tourists from far and wide.
Elliot, Eastern Cape - 97.7km from Rhodes accommodation
Known in Xhosa as 'Ecowa" for mushroom, which grows profusely in this area in summer, Elliot, Eastern Cape lies in the valley of the Slang River, and is basically a rural farming town surrounded by a wonderful backdrop of Eastern Cape mountain grandeur, crystal streams teaming with trout and bass, waterfalls and towering cliffs. With an area of only 7km, and a population of just 2,267, Elliot, Eastern Cape could be dismissed as just another 'dusty' little town, however, because it's been firmly nestled in the majestic mountains for over 100 years, Elliot holds it's own.
Also in the Eastern Cape Elliot area are the majestic Drakensberg peaks of Giants Castle and The Pillars, and lying just 18km South of Elliot is the magnificent Gillie Cullem waterfall. To the North-East of Elliot, the scenery is dominated by the "Gatberg' - meaning 'hole mountain', due to the hole that has eroded through the softer strata near its summit. The Xhosa name for this majestic landmark is uNtunjinkala, meaning 'crab's opening'. While in Elliot, make sure you see the fascinating rock formations and sandstone caves adorned with Eastern Cape bushman art - rock paintings from the Eastern Cape’s earliest inhabitants, the San people, who provide a unique eye into the world of many generations ago.
The sleepy (almost) one horse Eastern Cape town of Elliot may be easy to pass by, so don't expect a buzzing night life, however, just 9km outside the actual town centre of Elliot lies Intaba Lodge, cosy, rustic Elliot Bed & Breakfast accommodation where you'll experience warm Eastern Cape hospitality at its best. For more on this charming establishment, see the WhereToStay Elliot accommodation page.
Plan on coming back to Elliot, because it's a case of "arrive a stranger, leave a friend".
Ugie, Eastern Cape
Travelling 126km South from Rhodes accommodation, you will find the small picturesque Eastern Cape village of Ugie lying on the banks of the Inxu River, tucked away at the foot of the majestic backdrop of the Drakensberg Mountains. Although Ugie may be dismissed by most as a typical 'small town', it's a well kept adventurer's secret! It's to this delightful little Eastern Cape town to which fisherman flock to catch trout in the rivers and dams. Hikers have the most glorious scenery to trek through, with some of the world's finest rock to be found in caves in the local mountains, one of which, the Gatberg, has a large hole in its summit. In the village of Ugie itself, you can find the popular Ugie Tractor Museum, a collection of old farming machines and implements.
Lady Grey, Eastern Cape (132km from Rhodes accommodation)
Lady Grey is a delightful little Eastern Cape Victorian style village in which you'll want to linger longer. Surrounded by the beautiful snow-capped Witteberg Mountain Range close to the Karringmelkspruit River gorge, this quaint little Eastern Cape town is in close proximity to both mountains and water, making Lady Grey famous for it's beautiful scenery. Just outside Lady Grey, Joubert's Pass provides a gorgeous drive up to a reservoir in the centre of a nature reserve, where bird watching is reputed to be the best in the area, and if you're looking for adventure, then the rugged terrain around Lady Grey provides a number of hikes, mountain bike and 4x4 trails.
The town of Lady Grey itself has a number of Victorian buildings worth a visit, including the old Dutch Reformed Church. The Lady Grey Museum focuses on local celebrities, with exhibits on people like Athol Fugard and Tiro Vorster, who have roots in this area of the Eastern Cape.
For overnight Lady Grey Bed & Breakfast accommodation, the Mountain View Country Inn in the heart of Lady Grey offers super low rates for families, and Lady Grey Guest Farm accommodation at Vorstershoek Farm Accommodation has panoramic views that are absolutely breath taking, making you feel like you are looking into the future! For longer stays, Lady Grey Self Catering Cottage accommodation is situated 35km from Lady Grey, and 135km North-West from Elliot accommodation, on the scenic Eastern Cape Joubert's Pass. Tucked away in the Eastern Cape Witteberg Mountains, Glen Doone Fly Fishing Cottage is within walking distance from the renowned Karringmelkspruit, whose pristine waters and wily wild trout makes for fly fishing at its best. See the WhereToStay Lady Grey accommodation page for more info.