The Eastern Cape of South Africa is a province of natural beauty and an undeniably mysterious allure that comes from its ancient heritage and natural abundance. Rhodes Village is secluded within the Southern Drakensberg in the highlands of this province, bordered by Lesotho. It is, therefore, surrounded by imposing mountain faces, rolling foothills and the lush greenery that is found so freely here.
The travel magazine, Getaway, named Rhodes Village one of South Africa’s Top 20 Secret Places. It is surrounded by mountains, rivers and valleys and was declared a Conservation Area in 1997.
The entire village has the distinctive Victorian look and feel of yesteryear about it. The combination of its historical value, charm and natural splendour makes Rhodes Village the perfect getaway for just about any traveller, whether from South Africa or abroad. Those who want to escape the bustle of city living will be just as enthralled by this destination as nature-lovers looking for an adrenalin rush.
This isolated village is far away from any major towns or cities. Even the small hub of Barkly East is a good 60-kilometre drive through the mountains. So, time spent here truly feels like time away from the ‘real world’.
Snow on the mountains is common during winter and may, on rare occasions, even be found in the cool summer months. Therefore, extreme caution must be taken when hiking or driving through these bergs.
During your time in Rhodes Village, the following activities are definitely recommended:
- Fly-fishing – fishing for trout is a favourite pastime in Rhodes Village. The cold mountain streams are the ideal home for a variety of great catches, including large yellowfish. There are five trout farms, guaranteeing productive fishing for trout and other species. Otherwise, the main trout-fishing rivers are the Kraai, Bokspruit, Bell and Joggemspruit rivers.
- Hiking, mountain biking or horse riding the mountain paths in summer. Do not take unnecessary risks and always be well-prepared before embarking on such activities.
- Abseiling down the face of one of the local mountains is sure to get the heart racing while you enjoy fabulous views of the landscape from your elevated positioning.
- Being such a mountainous area, the many caves here were once occupied by indigenous folk who lived off the land. They left fascinating insights into their lives and customs in the form of rock art, painted on the caves’ walls. A tour of these natural art galleries is memorable, to say the least.
- Bird-watching enthusiasts will revel in the opportunities presented to watch some of South Africa’s favourite avian members soaring overhead, chirping in the bushes or feeding in the wild.
- Tiffindell is the only ski- and snowboarding resort in the country and is situated very nearby to Rhodes Village. It is also the highest resort, at 2 720 metres above sea level. This premier vacation spot is an absolute must during your time in the highlands of the Eastern Cape.
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