Eastern Cape DestinationsRhodes, Northern Ukhahlamba
The term ‘frozen in time’ takes on new meaning when applied to the little village of Rhodes, perched in the Eastern Cape Highlands virtually on the border with Lesotho at the foot of the highest mountain pass in South Africa.
Firmly stamped with quaint and charming examples of Victorian architecture - this part of the world was frequented only by migratory San, before white farmers ventured into the area. From Barkly East one reaches Rhodes along a narrow and winding gravel road.
Rhodes is a remote village, and, because of this inaccessibility, has benefited by remaining one of the most obscure and least frequented little towns in the country. It has, nonetheless, been ‘discovered’ by property seeking executives, resulting in the typical village-style weekend and holiday homes that remain shut up for most of the week. But don’t let this daunt you, as the village retains its immense appeal despite this.
Rhodes was declared a conservation area in 1997 and serves as a retreat from civilisation, its 100-year history providing hours of interesting exploring. Styles of homes are across the board and range from flat-roofed ‘kerk-huise’ to grand traders’ residences, including a Herbert Baker-designed stone school house; and the tree-lined streets add to the appeal. The nearest towns are Maclear, Ugie and Elliot.
There is no shortage of activities, if you want to exert yourself after slowing down in keeping with the atmosphere of the village. Many artists make Rhodes their home and galleries are a must. There are also incredible mountain walks and sightings of the rare bearded vulture, known as the lammergeyer. The area, because of its height above sea level and the tendency towards winter snowfall, is also the ‘skiing capital’ of the country and Tiffindell is just above the village of Rhodes on the slopes of Ben McDhui - the highest peak in the Cape.
See our article "Exploring Rhodes Village" for additional info and ideas on what to do.