Travels in the Eastern Cape

In April 2012 we decided to take a one week break in the Eastern Cape.

Sunday is a day of rest in the former Transkei and is a good day for travelling, although care must still be taken to avoid cattle, goats and other animals.

It is not recommended that this road is travelled at night.  Some areas are not fenced and animals roam freely.

The veld was green and in good condition after the summer rains.

The road winds down into a valley that is fertile and very populated.

The area near Izingolweni is very beautiful, however you need to be on the lookout for pedestrians.

Stafford’s Post is a well known landmark where you turn left at the T junction on the way to Kokstad.

The lovely colours of autumn were all around us on the road to Kokstad.  The Wimpy is Mt Curry is a good stopover for brunch.

Kokstad is named after the Griqua chief, Adam Kok III, who led his followers there in 1862 from Philippolis.

Up until now the roads had been pretty good.  We left Kokstad and then the trouble started.

After a delay of 20 minutes we were on our way again.

Mt Frere is situated at the foot of the Frere mountain which was named after Sir Bartle Frere who was the governor of the Cape from 1877 to 1880.

Leaving Mt Frere.  During the week this town would be full of taxis and shoppers.  On Sundays it is quiet and calm.

The autumn skies in the Traskei are clear and blue.

The roads were in great shape between Mt Frere and Qumbu.  We made good progress.

Qumbu was fairly busy for a Sunday.  With only 240 kms to East London we were on track.

Mthatha is the largest town in the old Transkei.  It would usually be only another three hours travelling to East London.

However, we weren’t expecting the major roadworks on the south side of Mthatha.  It appears as if they are making a double highway.

Every few hundred metres we came across ‘traffic calmers’.

We counted over fifty five speed humps which really slowed us down and made the dear driver anything but calm……

We made slow progress.  At Dutywa the weather suddenly changed.  It was 16 deg outside and overcast.


Butterworth is a bustling town 113 km from East London.

It is named after Joseph Butterworth, who was the treasurer of the Wesleyan Missionary Society that was stationed there in 1827.

Butterworth seems to be preserving some of its historic buildings, however the twon council is not doing a good job of maintaining the town.

Crossing the great Kei river.   The White Kei, the Black Kei and the Tsomo rivers are all tributaries of the Kei river.

Kei is derived from the Khoikhoi word meaning ‘sand’.

Gonubie is a seaside resort at the mouth of the Gonubie River.  The name is derived from the Khoikhoi meaning ‘bramble river’.

It took us 9 1/2 hours to travel from Durban to Gonubie.  We have been travelling this road for 40 years and this was the longest time it had ever taken.