Eastern Cape DestinationsColchester, Greater Addo
Lying on the banks of the Sundays River, just 20 minutes’ drive from the coast of Port Elizabeth, lies Colchester in a part of the country that remains largely unspoilt, surrounded by sand dunes that date back about 100 000 years.
Colchester residents are proud of their history. The little town named after the oldest town in the United Kingdom, apparently rose to challenge Port Elizabeth as a port about a century ago. The driving force behind the challenge was the engineer who had come all the way from Westminster and who envisaged Colchester as the railway centre for the Eastern Cape Province.
Whilst the unique flow of the river made this area an obvious location, today both residents and visitors are only too happy to remain surrounded by natural habitat, largely undeveloped, save for the recent property boom. The dunes are estimated to be between 6000 and 10 000 years’ old and rest upon even older, compacted dunes that could date back as many as 100 000 years.
The dunes are teeming with wildlife - bushbuck, grysbok, bush pig and smaller animals like mice, meercats and mongooses, which make these beautiful hills made of sand, their home. Birders include Colchester in their itinerary and river cruises along the Sundays River reveal a wide variety of waders, heron, duck, colonies of Cape and masked weavers, and up to four different types of kingfisher. The Colchester salt pans are home to the greater and lesser flamingo, African pied avocet, the blue crane and a number of other waders. Swimming in the tidal pool is very popular, and the Addo Elephant Park is close by