King Williams Town, Amatola
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Considered one of the most interesting towns to visit in the region, along with Grahamstown, King Williams Town began its life on the banks of the Buffalo River as a mission station in 1834. About 50km west of East London, King William's Town is renowned for its beautiful stone buildings, many of which date back to the Frontier wars.
King Williams Town has a number of interesting museums - one of which houses the body of Huberta the hippo who walked some 1500 kilometres across KwaZulu Natal to the Eastern Cape in the early 1900’s and the Amathole Museum has the biggest collection of mammals in Africa. King Williams town is also associated with political unrest during the apartheid era. Inextricably linked with Bisho - the two are regarded as one - because of its part in recent freedom liberation, King William’s Town is closely tied to Steve Biko, leader of the Black Consciousness movement, whose grave is just outside Ginsberg and is now a Garden of Remembrance. Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki hail from the area (it is just a short trip along the N2 to Umtata) and many tourists now follow the Nelson Mandela Route, which starts in King William’s Town, to Umtata and the Nelson Mandela Museum.
Today King William’s Town is the administrative capital of the Eastern Cape. Despite this, the town is worth visiting for its natural beauty. The botanical gardens are renowned and Jacarandas that line the streets come into flower in spring. Nearby are the Rooikrans and Maden Dams, which serve as great places to fish and pursue water sports and, should you be attempting the 100 km Amatola Hiking Trail, the town is only 22 km from its start and serves as an ideal base.
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King Williams Town Reviews
"King Williams Town is all about jacarandas and history. The road in and out of the town has pretty scenery and the museums are good to see. ..." - Zinhle, Mpumalanga
Visitorials: We Love South Africa
King Williams Town Visitorial
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We’ve asked those in the know to share their favourites things about King Williams Town. Find out where locals go for the best cup of coffee, lunch suggestions and much more. We’re letting you in on all of their secrets ... I Love King Williams Town because ...
Featured Attractions in (or near) King Williams Town
Set close to the little community of Blinkwater, Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve lies on the Post Retief road, almost equidistant between Adelaide and the historical town of Fort Beaufort, in the Amatola escarpment. This roughly 2 000 hectare reserve conserves scarce Dohne ... more information
There are four excellent three-pars at the King Williams Town Golf Course as well as trees, bunkers and water hazards that will challenge all levels of golfers. The Amatola Sun Classic, which forms part of the South African Winter Championship was established at King Williams Town Golf Club. The course has great ... more information
The Museum offers visitors an inspiring journey through the life of Nelson Mandela. Known affectionately as 'Madiba', he is loved and respected world-wide for his tireless energy to bring about a better life for all. Mandela has insisted that the Museum should not be a tribute dedicated to him, but should rather ... more information
Bantu Steven Biko, one of the most recognised leaders of the Black Consciousness Movement, is regarded as one of the greatest martyrs of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. Born in the township of Ginsberg just outside King William’s Town, Steve Biko was to die whilst in police custody in 1977, after being held ... more information
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