Explore our Forests
The forests of the Amathola Mountains which our guesthouse looks onto are among the finest in the country. The Forests of the Amatholas and the Waterkloof along with the Fish River bush were the natural fortresses of the amaXhosa during the Frontier Wars.
Today the Amathole Mountains provide some of the nicest hiking to be enjoyed anywhere. The 6 Day 100km Amathole Hiking trail is regarded as the King of trails in South Africa, but shorter day walks can also be undertaken such as to Sandile’s Cave.
Visit the Amathole Museum
Among the many places of interest in King is the Amathole Museum which contains one of the largest collections (over 40 000 specimens) of African mammals in the world. Best known for Hubertha the wandering hippo that walked all the way from Zululand to the Kieskamma River it also houses the Kitton library – a most valuable collection of books, including some written by the very first European explorers of Southern Africa.
Visit the churches
King is known for its fine church buildings – many built of stone. The Brownlee Congregational church built in 1860 is a reminder that King began as a mission station. The Missionary Museum (the only one of its kind in the country) is housed in what was originally the Wesleyan Church and portrays the history of missionary Endeavour in SA.
Explore Rock art sites
Rock art holds great fascination and Victor Biggs of Thomas River is the expert in this field. African art can be enjoyed at the De Beers Art gallery on the Fort Hare Campus in Alice 60km from here.
Into Struggle History?
A struggle history tour of the region can be most rewarding. Visit freedom Square and the ANC, PAC / Azapo archives at Fort Hare. Visit Steve Biko’s grave and also the graves of Griffith and Victoria Mxenge. A tour in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela from Mveso (his place of birth) to Qunu to Clarkbury to Healdtown to Fort Hare can be done in one day but necessitates an early start and a lot of traveling on poor roads.
Go on a Frontier War Tour
There are four official routes in the Amathole Region namely: The Maqoma, Sandile, Phalo and Ndlambe Routes. Prior reading up on the regions history will be a great advantage and wet your appetite. Mostert’s ‘Frontiers’ is good. Guided tours to the forts as well as battlefields of both here and KwaZulu Natal are a highlight of many a tourists visit to South Africa.
Follow in the steps of the first missionaries
Visits to the sites of the early mission stations are equally fascinating. The first missionary endeavors among the Bantu speaking people of South Africa began at the edge of the Pirie forest.
When David Livingstone was just a boy of 4 years old, John Brownlee and Robert Moffat set sail for Africa’s shores. They were both gardeners, who were to devote their entire lives to missionary endeavor. Moffat headed north, Brownlee headed east to found the first permanent mission station among the Xhosa people. Six years later he moved with his family together with Dyani Tshatshu to begin the Buffalo Mission that later grew into a garrison town named King William’s Town. (King has a missionary museum, open to the public by prior arrangement).
Visit wildlife reserves
Double Drift Game Reserve on the Fish River can be enjoyed without having to break the bank. The ruins of Fort Wiltshire and Double Drift Post that are to be found on the banks of the rivers bordering this reserve, add to the interest of ones visit. It was once part of no mans land. Inkwenkwezi is another game reserve within an hour’s drive of King and is close to the coast.
Relax on golden beaches
Also within an hours drive, you have a choice of many fine beaches. Lovely for those sunny windless days when it’s not too hot! And then beyond the Great Kei River lies the famous Wild Coast!
Interact with local cultures
Meet local people or rough it and stay a night in a rural Xhosa homestead instead of some artificial “cultural village”