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Grahamstown, a lively university town, is situated approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes from the city of Port Elizabeth. Grahamstown is permeated with cultural and historical attractions, but is best known for the National Arts Festival, which draws over 50,000 people to the area annually.
The Arts Festival is a vibrant riot of culture and entertainment, with hundreds of stalls selling everything from clothes to woven rugs, handmade jewellery and much more. Over the eight days of the festival, more than 500 shows are offered, including performances of drama, opera, jazz and cabaret.
Apart from being a well preserved example of a colonial town remniscent of the life of ‘1820 Settlers’ who came out from England, Grahamstown has endless sightseeing options for history and culture buffs, with a multitude of monuments, museums and significant buildings on offer. The Albany Museum Complex comprises five separate museums, and is the second oldest institution of its kind. The museums focus on South Africa’s social and natural environment, particularly the Eastern Cape region, and include the Natural Science Museum, the History Museum, the Observatory Museum, the Provost Prison and Fort Selwyn.
Other popular attractions in Grahamstown are the 1820 Settlers National Monument, the International Library of African Music, the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Artificer’s Square, and City Hall with the Settlers’ Memorial Tower.
Leisure opportunities abound in the scenic countryside surrounding Grahamstown. Within a 20-kilometre radius of the city are over 162 hectares of water, presenting fabulous fishing opportunities. Additionally, the area is a bird-watcher’s paradise, with a wide variety of feathered species to be viewed. Grahamstown Golf Course is situated on the outskirts of the city, and hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking are additional pastimes on offer.
Grahamstown is situated in close proximity to a multitude of enticing destinations, including a number of game reserves. The Great Fish River Reserve is a breathtaking natural environment of river and valley, with a rich historical background. Additionally, the Addo Elephant National Park, the Amakhala Game Reserve, the Coombs View Reserve, the Kariega Private Game Reserve and more are all situated within an hour of Grahamstown. Reed Valley Crocodile Farm is located approximately 60kms away, on the N2 in the direction of Port Elizabeth. The seaside is only an hour’s drive away via the interesting fruit and sheep farming town of Bathurst. Port Alfred is the nearest seaside town, but the delightfully undeveloped holiday settlement of Kenton-on-sea, further South is a great place to spend a day lolling on the beaches between two pretty river estauries.
Grahamstown is situated approximately 1 hour, 30 minutes by car from Port Elizabeth, and is also connected to Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, and other destinations in the country by bus. The closest airport is at Port Elizabeth, which is two hours away by car. From here there are regualr flights to Johannesburg and Cape Town.