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Posted on: Friday, 22 February 2013

Alfred Nzo District

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Northern Ukhahlamba

Northern Ukhahlamba

The Alfred Nzo District Municipality has, as its seat, Mount Ayliff. It is situated in the northern part of the Eastern Cape and is surrounded by Lesotho, KwaZulu Natal, the OR Tambo District and the Ukhahlamba District. Being so centrally situated makes Alfred Nzo an ideal base from which to launch your tour of South Africa.

The Xhosa cultural heritage of this area is fascinating, and gives this quiet retreat a sense of true South African pride and identity. Visitors are encouraged to visit local villages, interact with the folk occupying the land and immerse yourselves in this authentic African hub.

Because of the presence of the magnificent Southern Drakensberg Mountains, this area is renowned for its natural splendour and impressive vistas. Of course, these mountains also provide the ideal place to hike, walk, mountain bike and explore. The highlands of Matatiele and Umzimvubu are exquisite, and may just be the perfect place to engage your 4 x 4 in an adventurous approach to exploring this part of the country.

The interior parts of the Alfred Nzo District (i.e. not along the coast) are characterised by lush foliage, dense forests, looming mountains and sprawling agricultural farms. The scene is set for a tranquil escape from people, cars, sirens, alarms and constantly-ringing phones.

A Xhosa Woman

A Xhosa Woman

Avid fishermen are rewarded in this district, which provides ample opportunities for trout fishing. The long sandy beaches are irresistible to swimmers, surfers and sunbathers during the heat of the South African summer.

The Alfred Nzo District is the smallest in the Eastern Cape, occupying an area of only 7 952 square kilometres. The first language is Xhosa, but there are many Zulu– and Sesotho-speaking inhabitants here as well. Its three main towns are Mount Ayliff, Matatiele and Mount Frere. This district boasts a fascinating history that tells the complex story of South Africa’s past. This only makes one appreciate the unity and progress accomplished to date even more.

The Alfred Nzo winters become very cold, and there is high rainfall for much of the year. Winter snows are common, blanketing this little town in a pristine ice duvet.

Whether your dream holiday involves making snow angels or lazing on white sandy beaches lapped by turquoise waters, the small Alfred Nzo District has just what you need.

Book your accommodation in Northern Ukhahlamba today or find all other hotels in the Eastern Cape.

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Hiking in the Drakensberg


Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.

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