The Eastern Cape Highlands Region, 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.

Did you know? Once you've booked your hotel or Eastern Cape Highlands accommodation in the Eastern Cape, explore the town and destination pages below for info on attractions, activities and things to do when you explore the Eastern Cape Highlands region.

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.

The Eastern Cape Highlands 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.

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.

It includes the towns of Barkley East, Lady Grey and Tiffindell on its journey, and binds the Eastern Cape Highlands 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.

Did you know? 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.

If you haven't already done so, why not add the Eastern Cape Highlands Region to your itinerary for your next South African Travel plans or holiday in the Eastern Cape?

Find accommodation in the Eastern Cape Highlands

South Africa Accommodation / Eastern Cape Accommodation / Eastern Cape Highlands Accommodation

Destinations in the Eastern Cape Highlands Region

Aliwal North

Overnight? Aliwal North accommodation
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 right on a ...

Barkly East

Overnight? Barkly East accommodation
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 sea level, i...


Overnight? Burgersdorp accommodation
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 doesn't li...

Lady Grey

Overnight? Lady Grey accommodation
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 staying a...


Overnight? Maclear accommodation
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 wild and unto...


Overnight? Oviston accommodation
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 blue skies and lit...


Overnight? Rhodes accommodation
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 quain...


Overnight? Tiffindell accommodation
A snow resort, in South Africa? Indeed, Tiffindell is South Africa’s answer to Europe’s ski resorts in the Alps, only, to be fair, one cannot expect quite the same deluge of snow. One thing you can be sure of, however, is that Tiffindell has the monop...


In 2008 the pretty village of Ugie made history when it snowed in the little town that lies between the towns of Maclear and Elliot in the wild west region of the Eastern Cape for the first time in years. Small and insignificant Ugie may appear to be, but...


Overnight? Venterstad accommodation
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 if it's just to slo...

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