Northern Ukhahlamba

Ukhahlamba refers to the majestic portion of the Drakensberg that dominates the northern section of the Eastern Cape

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Northern Ukhahlamba, Eastern Cape

Ukhahlamba, the Xhosa word meaning ‘barrier of spears’, refers to the majestic portion of the Drakensberg that dominates the northern section of the Eastern Cape, forming a border with the Free State.

Where? Northern Ukhahlamba Region, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Overnight? See Northern Ukhahlamba accommodation, in Eastern Cape

This region, through which winds the Orange River, is home to Lake !Gariep, Tiffindell - the only snow ski resort in the country, the hot springs of Aliwal North, and quaint Victorian towns like Lady Grey and the national monument town of Rhodes.

Ukhahlamba is largely sheep, cattle and goat farming country. Its gentle sparseness and lack of evident wealth makes it perhaps a little less sought after by the average traveller, but the fashioning of a tourist route that covers over 600 kilometres between East London and Aliwal North, known as the Friendly N6 Route, has opened up this nether region, where wheat is grown in the foothills of the Drakensberg.

It includes the towns of Barkley East, Lady Grey and Tiffindell on its journey, and binds the Ukhahlamba region and its inland towns to the rest of the province.

With attractive outdoor options like mountain biking, trout fishing, horse trails, rock art, fossil trails, large forestry plantations around Maclear, Ugie and Mount Fletcher, pretty churches, and the water sports paradise that is Lake !Gariep - so vast that it crosses the boundaries of the Free State, Eastern and Northern Cape and the Karoo Heartland and covers over 360 kilometres - it is not surprising that this formerly undiscovered region is receiving unprecedented attention.

If you haven't already done so, why not add the Northern Ukhahlamba Region to your itinerary for your next holiday in the Eastern Cape in South Africa?.

Popular Towns in the Northern Ukhahlamba Region

Aliwal North

Stay? Accommodation in Aliwal North
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...

More information and photographs: Aliwal North Information

Barkly East

Overnight? Accommodation in Barkly East
Barkly East, sometimes spelt Barkley East, lies nestled amongst the majestic mountains of the southern Drakensberg, between the villages of Lady Grey and Elliot. One of the highest lying towns in the country, elevated at about 5800 feet above...

More information and photographs: Barkly East Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Burgersdorp
Described as the oldest town in the North Eastern Cape, Burgersdorp lies south in the tip of an inverted triangle between Aliwal North and Venterstad. It is not a town you'll simply happen upon unless you have a lot of time on your hands, as it...

More information and photographs: Burgersdorp Information

Lady Grey

Overnight? Accommodation in Lady Grey
The little Victorian-style village of Lady Grey lies surrounded by the Witteberg Mountains, 50 kilometres from Aliwal North on the R58 to Barkly East. You’d be forgiven, if you initially intended staying only a couple of nights in Lady Grey, for...

More information and photographs: Lady Grey Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Maclear
Maclear is a small town in the mountainlands of the Eastern Cape. It is set against the magnificence of the Drakensberg Mountain Range and surrounded by rural villages and agricultural landscapes. This part of South Africa remains relatively...

More information and photographs: Maclear Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Oviston
Oviston sits perched on the edge of the Gariep Dam within the 16 000 hectare Oviston Nature Reserve in the heart of the Nama Karoo. The town of Oviston rests unnoticed amidst open plains of almost white grass, little koppies, brilliant...

More information and photographs: Oviston Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Rhodes
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. Rhodes is a...

More information and photographs: Rhodes Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Tiffindell
Tiffindell is not only the site of the annual South African ski and snowboard championships, but on an average winter’s day, the snow resort can host up to 300 skiers on its slopes, which include a main slope and a few flat beginner slopes...

More information and photographs: Tiffindell Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Ugie
Ugie lies beneath the towering cliffs of the Drakensberg Mountain range on the banks of the Inxu River. It derives its name from another river, however - not the one on whose banks it resides, but the Ugie River in Scotland. To all intents and...

More information and photographs: Ugie Information


Overnight? Accommodation in Venterstad
Venterstad lies south west of the Oviston Nature Reserve and Tussen-die-Riviere Game Farm to the south of the Gariep Dam wall. It's rarely that someone visiting this part of the Eastern Cape will not have stumbled across the town. Even...

More information and photographs: Venterstad Information

Did you know?

South Africa’s unofficial ‘snow valley’ lies in the high-lying remote parts of the Eastern Cape and includes the towns of Barkly East, Lady Grey, Indwe, Rhodes, Elliot, Maclear and Ugie.

In the southern reaches of the Drakensberg one finds in the more remote and ruggedly beautiful Eastern Cape Highlands yet more examples of San rock art. Dominated by mountains, sandstone cliffs and green valleys, rock art is part of the landscape.

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