Not just a pretty face, the Friendly N6, incorporating the Eastern Highlands, is renowned for being one of SA’s most hospitable places to visit. Laced with insurmountable natural beauty, wildlife and culture, where locals call you by your name and the landscapes leave you breathless, from mountain biking to 4×4 adventures and motorcycle tours, the Friendly N6 offers travellers with 5-star sightseeing.
Get Out And About and Explore!
Drive up Naude’s Nek Pass
Spend a day, and take a drive up Naude’s Nek Pass – the Eastern Cape’s most beautiful mountain pass. Summiting at just under 2600 metres, this pass is worth every minute. Take along a picnic basket and stop at the top to enjoy the stunning views of the road just travelled. Turn around and the view is expanded across the Drakensberg Mountain Range. Continue your trip to the small village of Rhodes. Lots of gravel roads, and tons of nature!
Include a visit to Tenahead for coffee and scones. From Rhodes, drive all the way to Maclear which should take you about two hours if you do not stop for photos! Or approach from Barkly East which is a 60km drive on a dirt road and will take about an hour. Either way it is a must do for every adventurer.
Flyfish in Rhodes
If flyfishing is your thing, pack the rods and try out the beats on more than 200km of running water in the Rhodes area. Opportunities range from small, crystal clear streams high up near the escarpment to the mighty Kraai River formed at the confluence of the Sterkspruit and the Bell River at Moshesh’s Ford. Wild rainbow trout and smallmouth yellowfish provide great sport in summer.
Day permits can be obtained from the Wild Trout Association office at Walkerbouts Inn and at the Rhodes Info Centre in Muller Street.
Hike Ben Macdhui
If you are interested in architecture and historic British Colonial buildings, especially those built at the height of Queen Victoria’s reign, Queenstown is a treasure house of Victorian-era churches, administrative buildings and schools that echo a past of wealth and stylish elegance. Queenstown was established 150 years ago as one of a string of outlying forts. The surveyor, Thomas Bowker, took an open lot of ground and established the fort in a hexagonal shape with six thoroughfares down which cannon fire or rifle fire could be directed. Today, the famous Hexagon of Queenstown has been turned into a large garden..
Visit the Queenstown Frontier Museum on Shepstone Street and you will learn fascinating things about the early era of the town. Exhibits include a full-size, furnished frontier cottage and a natural history collection.
TSOLWANA GAME RESERVE – https://www.visiteasterncape.co.za/parks/tsolwana/
Sterkstroom (strong stream after the nearby Hex River) is at the foot of the Stormberg Mountain Range. It was once a coal mining town, founded in 1875 the by Dutch Reformed Church. Visitors Visit the Museum, nature reserves and the Marico Waterfall or go bass fishing, walking or hiking.
The town came by its unusual name by a convoluted route. Sir Harry Smith (Governor of the Cape) named it Aliwal to commemorate the famous battle in which he defeated the Sikhs of India in 1846. It lies on a strategic ford on the Orange River which was used by the Bushmen and the Voortrekkers. This was upgraded with a pontoon in 1872.
The town is the centre of a prosperous farming community whose main products are wool, maize, wheat, beef and dairy. The many attractions include museums, historical places and buildings, nature reserves, a beautiful golf course as well as San rock art.
Founded in 1856, Lady Grey is tucked away in a valley below the awesome Witteberg mountain range. This little town and area is rich in sandstone, fossil beds and San rock art. A variety of birds, game, alpine plants, rock and stone formations can be seen here. Lady Grey was also known for its railway track, where the train had to manoeuvre backwards and forwards up the slopes in some areas.
The Cape Vulture Sanctuary in the Karnmelkspruit gorge is well worth a visit where you can get an eye-level view of these magnificent birds. This area has some of the best fly-fishing waters in the country with crystal clear streams and breath-taking scenery. Fishing is catch and release only. You will catch yellow fish and trout in these waters.
Lady Grey hosts a few artists and The Arts Academy produces young artists in drama, dance, music and singing. The choir has live performances throughout the year. Exhibitions are held regularly. Apart from the church and the museum, other historical places include the Powder Magazine, historic buildings and the cemetery with graves of Boer war soldiers.
Accommodation varies from backpackers to four-star lodges, camping sites, game farms and self-catering establishments. There are a number of restaurants and coffee shops in town.
LADY GREY CAPE VULTURE SANCTUARY – http://adventuretrails.co.za/blog/?attachment_id=690
RED PALETTE ART ROUTE – http://www.ladygreytourism.co.za/Articles.asp?CategoryID=12&ID=3
LAMMERGEIER HIGHLANDS RESERVE (fly fishing, 4 x 4 trails, hiking, birding, mountain biking, river games, star gazing, wild flowers, photography etc) – http://www.ladygreytourism.co.za/Articles.asp?CategoryID=12&ID=3
JOUBERTS PASS – http://www.sa-venues.com/attractionsec/jouberts-pass.htm
OTTO DU PLESSIS PASS – http://www.sa-venues.com/attractionsec/otto-du-plessis-pass.htm
Just getting to the holiday hideaway of Rhodes in the Eastern Cape Highlands is an adventure, as you drive through stunning mountain passes and valleys that take you within sight of the Maluti range between South Africa and Lesotho. The entire village of Rhodes was declared a South African National Monument in 1997.
Rhodes is the perfect weekend hideaway and a travel base for adventurers taking on the many mountain passes in the area. Winters are all about deep snow, and summers mean a riot of mountain colours.
Looming above Rhodes is Naude’s Nek, the highest pass in South Africa at 2 500m. At the bottom of the pass is the Naude’s Nek Monument, dedicated to Stefan and Gabriel Naude, who pioneered this pass on horseback in 1896.
Rhodes is made up of an alluring jumble of architectural styles, from the rather grand traders’ residences of old to the flat-roofed houses of local farmers.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT – https://rhodesinfo.co.za/
Elliot & Dordrecht
Situated at the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg, Elliot’s myriad activities all play out against the backdrop of dramatic mountain scenery – San rock art, abseiling, fly-fishing, horse-riding trails, hiking, 4×4 routes and trips to dinosaur footprints and skeleton sites.
Dordrecht, is very popular as a trout fishing destination. The well-wooded, tranquil Dordrecht Kloof, with the Hogsett Reservoir, on which the town depended for its water supply for almost a century until 1991, is a popular picnic spot and hikers should find plenty of evidence of San rock art. It is also the venue for the popular two-day Kranskop Hiking Trail.
Ugie is named after the Ugie River in Scotland, this little town on the banks of the Inxu River lies between Maclear and Elliot and prides itself on the natural surroundings of towering mountains and winding streams. Ugie’s undoubted charm will make it hard to leave this beautiful part of the country. The numerous icy streams and dams are ideal for trout and offer superb fly-fishing.
Streams and dams are stocked with brown and rainbow trout and, although different waters require different fishing styles, the thrill of catching a large, strong trout on a thin trout rod is quite unparalleled. Many anglers opt for a catch-and-release policy, but for others, the delicacy of fresh trout is too much to resist. Ask a local tour guide or your guesthouse operator to assist you with permits and/or fishing equipment.
TRACTOR MUSEUM – http://elundini.org.za/index.php/2-uncategorised/23-ugie-tourism
PRENTJIESBERG TRAIL – http://www.linx.co.za/trails/lists/ec06list.html#Ugie
DINOSAUR FOOTPRINTS – http://www.elundini.org.za/index.php/2-uncategorised/23-ugie-tourism
If you like photography, mountain trails, rock art or patiently waiting for that big old trout to take your fly, then Route 56 in the Matatiele region is a great way to drive from Durban to Cape Town. The Matatiele area was once an area dominated by wetlands and marshes. The name, derived from Sesotho, means ‘the ducks have flown’. Route 56 is marketed as ‘the shortest route between the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal’. However, it’s not really the best way to go if you’re in a tearing hurry. There’s just too much to do in this wondrous mountain country that straddles Lesotho, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
MEHLODING HORSE AND HIKING TRAIL – http://www.mehloding.co.za/
FLY FISHING – http://www.mehloding.co.za/
MOUNTAIN BIKING – http://www.mehloding.co.za/
BIRDING – http://www.mehloding.co.za/
4 X 4 TRAILS – http://www.mehloding.co.za/
ONGELUKSNEK NATURE RESERVE – https://www.visiteasterncape.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Destination-Guide-2016.pdf
MATATIELE NATURE RESERVE – http://www.sa-venues.com/game-reserves/kzn_matatiele.htm
MATATIELE MUSEUM – http://www.mehloding.co.za/