Eastern Cape Map: East London to Port St Johns
The stretch of the Eastern Cape from East London up to Port St Johns, and inland, incorporating some of the Transkei, is scenic and serene, and rich in history.
Look out for some of these towns while travelling through this section of the Eastern Cape.
Butterworth - the oldest town in the Transkei, built close to the site of chief Hintsa’s palace, Butterworth was founded by Methodist missionaries in 1827. It was named for the treasurer of the Wesleyan Mission Society at the time, Reverend Butterworth.
Coffee Bay - the name stems from the 1893 running aground here of a ship carrying coffee beans, some of which started to grow – they could not however survive the unsuitable climate.
Flagstaff – a small trading town with a colourful history. Back in 1875 two traders ran a trade store here which became so popular that they had to erect a very tall flagstaff next to the store. When the white flag flew, would-be customers knew the shop was closed to give the men a much-needed break.
Idutywa – was thus named (meaning 'place of disorder') after a dispute between local people and a raiding party from KwaZulu-Natal.
Kei Mouth – A charming, sleepy coastal village with an outboard-motor driven pont (car ferry) with which you may cross the river.
Kentani - the site of the last battle of the Frontier Wars between Xhosa and settler in 1878.
Mazeppa – discover the numerous middens left behind by the prehistoric beachcombers (strandlopers) that once frequented the area.
Port St. Johns – artistic types and travellers are attracted to Port St Johns with its relaxed, bohemian vibe.
Qunu - the birthplace of Nelson Mandela who spent the first two years of his life at the neighbouring hamlet Mveso. A visit to the Mandela Museum (which offers free tours) is a must. Book in advance and you will be able to enjoy a Xhosa dinner too.
Umtata - Visit the Nelson Mandela Museum in the Bunga building, which traces the icon’s incredible life using of photographs and essays as well as a selection of fascinating given to Mandela from far and wide through the years.
Willowvale – named for a small mission station that was in turn named for the row of willow trees behind it. The station was abandoned following the decimation of the Xhosa population at the Battle of Kentani.