Eastern Cape DestinationsSidbury, Frontier Country
Lying in the midst of what is considered 'frontier country', Sidbury is one of several quaint little towns, with Grahamstown as their centre, that make up one of the most ecologically diverse regions in South Africa and the heart of thousands of hectares of nature and game conservation dedicated to returning this part of the country to its former glory as a free game roaming land.
Historical Sidbury lies just east of Shamwari Game Reserve, forming the tip of a triangle with Alicedale and Paterson, south west of Grahamstown. It is a small village modelled, in the 1830s, on the English village of Richard Daniel's memory that today still boasts two beautiful churches and a number of war graves that bear tribute to what was once war-torn grassy fields.
This area was part of a series of fierce battles fought between British settlers and local people who regarded this land, so glibly divided and sold to settlers, as theirs. A famous visit by Queen Victoria in 1861 to Sidbury placed the little village on the map and the celebrated Sidbury cricket grounds continue to host exciting games to this day.
Now this part of the country once ravaged by war is a malaria-free region that provides wonderful chances to view game, including the Big Five, without having to head off to the nether regions of the Limpopo Province. Whilst the main attraction is arguably the annual Grahamstown Arts Festival, which attracts thousands of performers, musicians, art-lovers, dancers and theatre lovers, the countryside and its myriad game farms and nature reserves easily competes for second position; some would argue first.