The Gamtoos River
Did you know?
South Africa's first inhabitants, the Mfengu and the Khoi people, once lived around Hankey in Gamtoos River Valley centuries ago.
The Gamtoos River features quite a mix of natural attractions from its large citrus farm, the largest in the area, to 3 small historical villages. Its nearly 8 km-long beach offers you a chance to stretch your legs and unwind. You can also swim in its Atlantic coast waters.
A visit to Hankey, Loerie and Pantensie, 3 villages near the Gamtoos River Mouth will open you up to the historical importance of this area. At Patensie, spend some quiet time around the Kouga Dam, South Africa's first dam to have 2 curvatures and, if the river is overflowing, you can hear it roar like a lion - for ‘gamtoos' means ‘the roaring lion' in Khoi language.
Hankey not only has the largest sundial in the Southern Hemisphere but is also the burial place of Sarah Baartman, the Khoisan girl who was once 'enticed' to go to Europe, only to be exhibited as a freak in Paris, where she died in 1816. Her remains only returned to South Africa in 2002 for a proper burial, and her burial site is here is now a heritage site.
There is more history to this place, for it's here that South Africa's first inhabitants, the Khoisan people, once lived. The grave of its founder Mr Phillip, the missionary who started this village as a base for his evangelical work, is here. From Hankey you can have the most stunning view of this river in the Eastern Cape below.
At the nearby Loerie, taste in the juicy naartjie on sale during the Loerie Naartjie Festival in September, an event that draws many people in and around the area. The citrus groves are a must-see around October when they are flowering. The Baviaanskloof will put you into close contact with baboons, which roam freely in their natural habitat.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Gamtoos Tourism Information Office.
Tel: +27 (0) 42 283 0437 or +27 (0) 42 283 0270/227