About Amathole Museum

The Amatole Mountain Range stands tall and proud over King William’s Town in the South Africa's Eastern Cape. This part of the country is quiet, not frequented by large groups of tourist or laden with busy motorways. Rather, the appeal of this area is its peaceful ambience and gorgeous countryside. In addition, this part of the country is steeped in history, which gives King (as it informally known) and its neighbours a sense of real South African heritage and culture.

The Amathole Museum is conveniently situated in King William’s Town and, having been established in 1884, is one of the oldest museums in the country. In true museum style, many of the displays are of the wildlife diorama variety; which means exhibits of real, stuffed animals set within their ‘natural’ environment and displayed behind glass. This is especially wonderful for little ones and those that have not seen much wildlife from up close as it really conveys the scale and detail of many of Africa’s faunal species.

The best known of these is Huberta the Hippo, who was acclaimed for her long journey all the way from what was then known as Natal to the Eastern Cape. It was here that she was shot by hunters more than 75 years ago. After many debates and disputes over which provincial museum should get her body, the Amathole Museum won, and she remains one of the highlights for visitors. Significantly, the Amathole Museum is renowned for being home to one of the largest exhibitions of mammals in the country too.

This is a museum of natural history, and its exhibits include anthropological, scientific and historical gems. The cultural section focuses on colonial Eastern Cape, the European settlers and their influence on the old and new South Africa. In addition, there is a massive part dedicated to the Xhosa culture and its history, as well as their customs and rituals.

Although it had small and humble beginnings, the Amathole Museum has grown exponentially to become one of the town’s main attractions. It now includes the Public Library (in which the museum was originally established), Wesleyan Church and the Post Office buildings under its umbrella. These add so much in terms of variety and an in-depth exploration of the town and its people.

During your time in King William’s Town, there are other things to do and see. The Botanical Garden is a large resource for those that love the flora of South Africa, or those that are merely looking for a scenic retreat in which to enjoy the fresh smells and clear sunshine. Those with a penchant for history should pay a visit to the British Kaffrarian Savings Bank (built in 1908), Fort Murray (which dates back to the mid-19th century and is situated right on the Buffalo River), and the Queen Victoria Memorial, complete with its four muzzle-loading cannons.

King William’s Town is almost 250 kilometres from Port Elizabeth (in Nelson Mandela Bay) and just over 52 kilometres inland from East London.

Need to Know

WhereAmathole Museum, King Williams Town, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenWeekdays from 09h00 to 16h30. Saturdays from 09h00 to 13h00. Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

How muchPrices on request.

Telephone+27 (0)43 642-4506

OvernightStay nearby in King Williams Town, in Eastern Cape


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