Blink and you might just miss it. Bathurst is a very small, charming town in the Eastern Cape, situated between Grahamstown and Port Alfred. It is inhabited mainly by artists, academics, surfers and those that have chosen this as a quiet spot in which to retire. Being so close to both Grahamstown and Port Alfred makes this a great launch-pad from which to explore other well-known areas of the Eastern Cape, while still immersed in the laid-back lifestyle of the countryside.
Bathurst and its surrounds comprise one of the largest pineapple farming regions of the country, and visitors are sure to get a glimpse of the pineapple motif that penetrates the entire town. Something for which Bathurst is best known is the giant pineapple. This is, in fact, the biggest pineapple in the world, at 16.5 metres (or 3 storeys) high! Made from fibreglass, steel and concrete, the pineapple is complete with a gift shop, tourist information centre and observation deck, boasting views that stretch as far as the Indian Ocean.
This is also an agricultural hub of chicory and beef farming. With green, lush farms stretching for miles, the landscape around Bathurst is truly a beautiful one.
Here are some things to do and see during your time in the quiet nook of Bathurst:
- There are a number of game reserves within the vicinity. These include the Amakhala Game Reserve, Sibuya Game Reserve and Moyapark Bird Reserve.
- The Bathurst Agricultural Museum showcases the farming equipment and methods of yesteryear. This isn’t only for avid farmers, though. There are sights and interactive displays for everyone, young and old, to enjoy.
- The Bathurst Agricultural Show is an annual festival that welcomes in excess of 20 000 visitors over the course of its three days. In 2013, this event is scheduled to be held from 30 March to 1 April. It includes live music, a flea market, food village, beer garden, art and livestock.
- Bradshaw’s Mill was built in 1821 by an original Settler and is now a South African National Monument. It has played a major role in the wool industry in this country.
- The Wesleyan Chapel is another of the Settler’s establishments, built by the very same Settler that built the mill (Samuel Bradshaw). It is also a National Monument, dating back to 1832.
- Port Alfred is just 15 minutes’ drive from Bathurst and is home to awesome surfing beaches and a number of shops, bars and restaurants.
- Grahamstown is a student town, since it is home to Rhodes University. It is brimming with quaint coffee shops, galleries, museums and quirky restaurants. Every year, it hosts the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, which is attended by thousands of people from all over the world.
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