Eastern Cape / Eastern Cape Visitorials / Visitorials: We Love South Africa

I Love Barkly East because …

Updated Monday, 22 May 2017

Hi, I’m Kate Nelson from Barkly East in the Eastern Cape.

BARKLY EAST IS BEST KNOW FOR tranquil guest farms, spectacular mountain scenery, snow in the winter and fly-fishing in the summer.

GET YOUR PICTURE TAKEN having a snowball fight during winter, or bathing in a mountain jacuzzi in the summer.

THE BEST SCENERY PICTURES CAN BE TAKEN AT the top of any of our 8 mountain passes, especially Lundean’s Nek, Joubert’s Pass, Bastervoetpad and Naudés Nek.

OTHER HAPPY SNAPS AT at Rhodes Village and Lady Grey.

Street scene in Barkly East

WHEN THE WEATHER’S GOOD, I LIKE TO get a lungful of pure mountain air. Call Wild Mountain Adventures for hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, fly-fishing, 4×4 trails and river rafting.

WHEN THE WEATHER’S BAD, IN LIKE TO sit in front of a roaring log fire and drink Gluhwein.

I THINK THE BEST TIME TO VISIT depends on what you enjoy the most. We are fortunate to have four distinct seasons, so come for snow and cosy fireside evenings in the winter, lambs and wonderful birding in the spring, lush green vistas, wild flowers and full rivers in the summer or spectacular autumn colours. The choice is yours … or you could just return again and again for a different experience each time!

MY FAVOURITE BREAKFAST SPOT IS a home cooked farmhouse spread at our guest farm (The Old Dairy Restaurant). Especially when the eggs have been collected fresh that morning and you can enjoy your cereal watching the cows that donated your milk.

FOR LUNCH, I SUGGEST Walkerbouts Inn in Rhodes for their tasty ‘design your own’ pizzas straight from their oven.

MY FAVOURITE RESTAURANT IS Intaba Lodge at the bottom of Barkly Pass, Try the mouth-watering juicy steaks.

Barkly East, Eastern Cape

BEST LATE NIGHT SNACK is from the fridge! Our nearest fast food shops are 120kms away in Aliwal North and we celebrate being a KFC-free zone!

MY FAVOURITE FLY-FISHING SPOTS ARE on the Diepspruit, Vlooikraal and Joggem rivers.

try driving 350kms to Bloemfontein! Seriously, you won’t find casinos, nightclubs or theatres anywhere in Barkly East. But pop into the golf club or any of the pubs in town and you will meet welcoming warm-hearted people.

, stop by the side of the road to take a photo and a friendly farmer is sure to stop and ask if you’re OK or need help!

BARKLY EAST’S BEST KEPT SECRET IS that it exists at all. It’s the undeveloped, uncommercialised ‘wild’ vibe that makes it so special.

MY FAVOURITE THING TO DO WITH FRIENDS IS saddle up the horses and hoof it up the mountain. It’s much less effort than hiking to the peaks! For some LIVE MUSIC I like to listen to the dawn chorus. Wonderful sopranos are performed by the Cape Robins, combining with the deep soulful bassoon of the Sussex bulls and the sweet gurgling melody of the mountain river. God’s own orchestra.

Kinmel Guest Farm at Rhodes, Northern Ukhahlamba

TO RELAX AND RESTORE MY SOUL, I LIKE TO lie back under the crystal clear night skies and admire galaxies that seem so close you feel you could reach out and touch them. After a few glasses of wine I’m pretty good at making up my very own constellations!

IF YOU’RE FEELING ADVENTUROUS, TRY an off-road 4×4 trail or mountain biking any of one of the 8 mountain passes. (Wild Mountain Adventures on +27 (0)79 536 3996).

MY FAVOURITE HIKE IS the 4 day Wartrail Skywalk slackpacking trail. Breathtaking views, fantastic guides, delicious food and a comfy bed at the end of each night – awesome!

MY FAVOURITE PADSTAL IS between Barkly East and Lady Grey. Pop in there for delicious jams and quirky hand-made crafts. (“padstal” = farmstall / roadside cafe)

MY FAVOURITE BIRD-WATCHING SPOTS ARE the New England loop, Otto Du Plessis pass and the vulture breeding colony near Lupela Lodge between Lady Grey and Barkly East.

IF YOU’RE HERE IN JUNE, JOIN IN THE FUN AT at the Lady Grey McNab party. A full Scottish banquet with haggis, bagpipes and kilts is a surprising find in this sleepy part of South Africa.

Approach to Rhodes

MY FAVOURITE NATURAL MUSEUMS ARE the stunning and well preserved San rock art sites in the area. Check out the rock art tours expertly guided by local archaeologist Dawn Green

MY FAVOURITE BUILDING IS the 1890s sandstone barn on Rosstrevor Guest Farm, recently converted from an old diary into a rustic yet elegant function and wedding venue.

TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN? A FUN OUTING IS to go to Woolly’s of Wartrail craft shop and tea gardens. It’s a blissful spot for parents to enjoy watching their kids run around in freedom and safety. Stunning views, a jungle gym, river swimming pools and animals to pet to keep children old and young amused.

BEST CHEAP AND CHEERFUL OUTING IS to go out and build snowmen in the winter, or play in the waterfalls and river pools in the summer.

WHEN MONEY’S NO OBJECT, I LIKE TO stay at Tenahead Lodge – at 2,500m above sea level it is the highest 5 star resort in South Africa. Where heaven meets earth!

MY FAVOURITE WEEKEND GETAWAY IS to sleep under the stars in one of the huge riverside sandstone caves in the area and realise how little has changed in the area since the San did the same hundreds of years ago.

Anglican Church in Lady Grey

WHEN I WANT TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY, I buy locally-made products including jams and marmalades at the Padstal and hand-made scarves and beanies from Woolly’s of Wartrail.

I Love Barkly East because of its tranquillity, safety and lack of pollution – it’s literally a breath of fresh air!

Useful Barkly East Links:

Desirable Digits

Rosstrevor Guest Farm: +27 (0)79 536 3996
Intaba Lodge: +27 (0)45 931 1402
Walkerbouts Inn, Rhodes: +27 (0)45 974 9290
Die Padstal: +27 (0)51 603 7076
Woolly’s of Wartrail: +27 (0)45 974 9900
Rock Art Tours: +27 (0)45 971 9078
Tenahead Mountain Lodge: +27 (0)45 971 8901
Wild Mountain Adventures: +27 (0)79 536 3996