Ubukhosi Village, Mngqesha
Did you know?
The historical King Sandile became famous for eluding the British during the War of the Axe in the 1840s, despite having a deformed leg. He was eventually killed and was originally laid to rest between 2 British soldiers.
Ubukhosi Village is a 3-star country establishment situated at Mngqesha, the ancestral home of Xhosa King Sandile.
A short 20-minute drive from King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape province, Ubukhosi Village consists of 40 luxury thatched rondawels (each representing one of the king’s chiefdoms), a large conference centre (also used for weddings) and a museum of local culture.
The building of this interesting mix of African and European styles would normally be entrusted to a large contractor. Instead, a project manager hired builders and craftsmen from the area, so that there could be local benefits in skills and wages. Community members were taught brick-making, brick-laying and carpentry and set to work building 'King Sandile’s Village'.
The annual revenue from the Ubukhosi Village goes towards local social upliftment.
When guests arrive for a few days on holiday or for a conference, they are usually given a Xhosa name, then taken on a tour of Mngqesha the next day. Apart from meeting villagers, they also spend time with a local sangoma (traditional healer) to see how she performs rituals and communicates with ancestors.
The Great Fish River Reserve is nearby, and from here you can see the frontier that once divided the Xhosa and British nations.
A museum on the premises shows the present King Sandile’s noble lineage, stretching back to before King Phalo, through King Rharhabe and King Ngqika.
There is also a black-and-white photographic display showing various customs of the Xhosa, including the way single and married women are dressed, the newly initiated with their faces covered by grass or blankets, and various sangomas.
On top of the hill overlooking the village is the Sandile Memorial, consisting of a model of a lion atop a small amphitheatre and the marble-topped graves of the king’s departed family members.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0) 40 635 0244
Tel: +27 (83) 487 8975
Fax: +27 (86) 694 0319