Grahamstown's ghost tours
Did you know?
Rhodes University's Journalism Department is occasionally visited by a man and girl in period dress.
In 2012, Grahamstown celebrated its bicentennial. It started life as a military post in the borderlands where a great southwards movement of tribes was halted by white settlers. Colonial Grahamstown was a mix of respectable burghers, passing-through adventurers and dubious fly-by-nighters. Grahamstown ghost stories abound.
In 1820 a large group of British settlers was brought to this area as a farming buffer zone between Queen Victoria's military might and the nearby Xhosa tribes. The year before, Grahamstown had nearly fallen to the 10 000 warriors of the magician-chief Makhana.
But many new arrivals were artisans, not farmers. The land suffered under their untutored hands, but Grahamstown itself flourished into a wondrous complex of stately architecture. By 1830 Grahamstown had libraries, newspapers, law courts and museums. But what it really became famous for was its many prestigious schools.
This 'culture of culture' has stretched right into the present day, with the stunning achievements of Rhodes University and the annual National Arts Festival in mid-year that celebrates the best of South African creativity – and there are even ghost tours of Grahamstown.
During festival time, there are some great 'skeletons-in-the-cupboard' tours of Grahamstown, recounting tragedies, ghosts and murders that took place here. Grahamstown's ghost tours include Saints, Sinners & Students and Settler Skeletons as well as bus tours, including one to the site of the Blaauwkrantz Bridge train disaster.
Just one word of ghostly advice here: if it's misty morning in Grahamstown, take a brisk walk past the Old Provost building, one of South Africa's most interesting pieces of prison architecture – and one of the most haunted places in Grahamstown.
It's a 'panopticon' prison sytem based on an 18th century design created for 'ceaseless surveillance' of the wretched souls imprisoned inside. And although no one was actually hanged in here, it practically glows with paranormal presences.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Mystery Ghost Bus Tours
Mobile: +27 (0) 79 193 7536