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TThe story of Cata Cultural Village, a traditional Xhosa village in Eastern Cape province, is one of determination, cooperation and development. Spend some time getting to know the people of Cata and experience their traditional hospitality as they warmly welcome you into their homes and lives, while they work together to achieve something big, one project at a time.
While visiting Cata, you will be invited to share meals with village families, visit the shebeen with your host, play soccer with the local team, pick up some isiXhosa language skills and learn about Xhosa arts, craft and culture. You will also get to know some ordinary South Africans and learn about their extraordinary history, along with their big plans for the future.
Cata’s story is typical of many traditional Xhosa villages in South Africa. In the 1960s it was subjected to a part of the apartheid government’s forced removal programme known as ‘betterment planning’. This meant people were forced to live in demarcated residential zones and lost farmland, along with their traditional way of life.
Seeking compensation for this, the Cata community submitted a claim and, in October 2000, signed a precedent-setting Restitution Settlement Agreement. The agreement meant that half of the value of dispossessed rights was paid to the individual families affected, and the other half was set aside for future development.
Cata’s development has proceeded in an exemplary fashion. The community has invested in infrastructure, agriculture, forestry, local economic development, settlement planning and formalisation, and land transfer.
Cata has also developed a thriving tourism industry that directly benefits the community. It is the ideal base for hiking trails in the Amatole Mountains, fishing in the Cata River, bird watching in the local forests, horse riding and mountain biking.
Cata Cultural Village also regularly hosts cultural events including traditional concerts. You can also explore the arts and craft communities of neighbouring Stutterheim, Hogsback and Hamburg. Look out for beautiful pottery, ceramics, sculpture, hand-made silver jewellery and modern embroidery with traditional beadwork.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Cata Communal Property Association Administrator
Tel: +27 (0)72 568 7926
How to get here
From King William’s town, travel 20km west on the R63 until you reach Dimbaza. Just after Dimbaza, turn right onto the R352 to Keiskammahoek. Drive into the town, over a small bridge. At the four-way intersection, turn right into the main road that runs through the town. Proceed through the town. After crossing a bridge, turn left and follow the gravel road for 17km from Keiskammahoek to Cata. Note that the signposts are small and difficult to read. Plan your journey so that you arrive in Cata during daylight.
Around the area
You can visit the University of Fort Hare where Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani and Desmond Tutu were educated or spend some time exploring the charming mountain village of Hogsback. The German settler towns of Braunschweig, Frankfort, Hanover, Berlin and Wiesbaden are also worth a visit.
What will it cost?
A full chalet (which sleeps 8) costs R1 200 a night, but if you stay 3 nights you get a 4th night free. Otherwise, the rates are R150 per person sharing a single room and R300 per night for a double room. An all-inclusive home stay costs around R200 DBB per person (prices as of May 2019).
Where to stay
You have two accommodation options in Cata: home stays with a Xhosa family or self-catering chalets. The home stays will give you a taste of warm Xhosa hospitality while the chalets, perched high on the mountainside, give you a spectacular view.
What to eat
The local hospitality committee can provide a range of meals to suit your dietary requirements. You can also self-cater. Fresh produce is often available in the village, including eggs, free range chickens and a variety of organic vegetables.