Rhodes, Eastern Cape
Did you know?
The entire village of Rhodes was declared a South African National Monument in 1997.
A fine South African all-weather destination is the so-called ‘tail of the dragon’ – the Eastern Cape Highlands. (It's named the 'tail of the dragon' as it's at the end of the mighty Drakensberg mount range. 'Drakensberg' means 'dragon's mountain'.)
The tucked-away village of Rhodes is the perfect weekend hideaway and a travel base for adventurers taking on the many mountain passes in the area. Winters are all about deep snow, and summers mean a riot of mountain colours.
Looming above Rhodes is Naude’s Nek, the highest pass in South Africa at 2 500m. At the bottom of the pass is the Naude’s Nek Monument, dedicated to Stefan and Gabriel Naude, who pioneered this pass on horseback in 1896.
Rhodes was established on the farm Tintern on September 16 1891, and one of the first leading lights was a Scottish cleric who became a dominee (minister) in the Dutch Reformed Church: Richard Ross.
Fluent in both English and Afrikaans, Ross would alternate between the two languages each Sunday while conducting services.
During the South African War (also known as the Anglo-Boer War), Ross was interned by the British at their concentration camp in Aliwal North. After the war he vowed to preach only in Afrikaans.
Rhodes is made up of an alluring jumble of architectural styles, from the rather grand traders’ residences of old to the flat-roofed houses of local farmers.
An enduring feature of Rhodes is the local hotel. Once known as the Horseshoe Hotel, the Rhodes Hotel was the scene of much carousing, no doubt helped by the ox wagon-loads of liquor dragged over the mountains from East London. In fact, a star ox called Wydeman had his horns polished and mounted above the bar after he died.
Rhodes even underwent a much-publicised ‘hippie period’ for a while, as followers of alternate lifestyles moved in. Today it’s a much-beloved weekend destination for city dwellers who want to fish, hike, ride their mountain bikes or simply hide away somewhere deep in the hills.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Walks and trails info
Roger Brown of Rhodes Rambles
Tel: +27 (0)82 358 8712
Tel: +27 (0)45 974 9264
Rhodes general info
Dave Walker of Walkerbouts Inn
Tel: +27 (0)45 974 9290
Rock art tours
Denorbin Farm: Gavin Small
Tel: +27 (0)45 971 9052
Wartrail and New England rock art sites: Dawn Green
Tel: +27 (0)45 971 9078