Eastern Cape DestinationsAliwal North, Northern Ukhahlamba
Aliwal North is a small, largely unknown town - aside from its two hot mineral springs that have extremely high concentrations of minerals and gases and formed part of the reason for the town’s development. That and the fact that the town lies right on a strategic ford on the Orange River, probably the main reason for the development of a railway from East London, that catapulted the town into rapid development as a commercial centre for the British colony.
Aliwal North lies on the border between the Free State and Eastern Cape. Both provinces regard it as theirs, whilst the town feels bound by neither. Today the town is mainly a farming community, producing wool, maize, wheat, beef and dairy, and the Orange River is now known as the Gariep.
The town’s mineral springs continue to draw visitors and the Spa Holiday resort produces water at around 34 degrees in their indoor and outdoor pools, said to have curative qualities, particularly for illnesses like rheumatism and arthritis.
There are a number of historical buildings in Aliwal North worth a visit, including the Kerkplein Museum and the Garden of Remembrance, which includes a British blockhouse. The Buffelspruit Nature Reserve lies close by and gives you access to a rich collection of antelope, buffalo and some striking grassland scenery.