Fort Frederick

Built in 1799 to defend the mouth of the Baakens River, Fort Frederick stands overlooking the harbour in Port Elizabeth

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Fort Frederick

Like many national monuments, Fort Frederick first appears as little more than a few brick walls, albeit old walls that seem to hold little significance or attraction for visitors.

Where? Corner of Belmont Terrace and Fort Street, Central, Port Elizabeth

When? Open daily from sunrise to sunset

How? Call +27 (0)41 585-9711

Overnight? See Port Elizabeth accommodation, in Eastern Cape

It is only in learning the history behind a building that it takes on a meaning of its own, although in the case of Fort Frederick, it is worth visiting for the views over Algoa Bay alone.

Built in 1799 to defend the mouth of the Baakens River, Fort Frederick stands overlooking the harbour in the South African ‘windy’ or ‘friendly city’ of Port Elizabeth.

Fort Frederick served as protection against a possible landing of French troops in the harbour during the Napoloeonic wars when British occupation of the colony first occurred. By the time the 1820 settlers arrived, a shot had still not been fired in retribution from the fort (which remains the case today) and a few houses had grown up around Fort Frederick to house the local population of 35 people.

The fort that was named after the Duke of York was, in effect, one of the initial buildings of Port Elizabeth, which sprang up around the fort. It is rather small, when compared with similar forts in Inverness, Scotland or Calcutta, India, but it has been incredibly well preserved and is close enough to the Donkin Reserve to incorporate in the Donkin Heritage Trail.

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Did you know?

On the north side of the fort lies the grave of Captain Francis Evatt, Commandant of Fort Frederick between 1817 and 1847. Captain Evatt is known to have overseen the arrival of the Settlers in 1820 - Reference: NMBT.

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