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EExplore galleries and museums, and then relax at one of the town's many restaurants or pubs set in the wide, tree-lined streets of this historic town before setting off to enjoy one of the many plays on offer at the world-renowned National Arts Festival.
To most South Africans, Grahamstown, just off the N2 between Port Elizabeth and Port Alfred is the home of Rhodes University and the host of one of the country’s longest-running and major arts festivals. Grahamstown plays host to the National Arts Festival event in July every year for the past 10 years. It kicks off on a musical note, on a Sunday afternoon up at the Settlers National Monument with a performance by an orchestra.
TThis Eastern Cape town is where the early British settlers —craftspeople and builders in the main—produced some of the most remarkable architecture in South Africa. Spend a day walking its streets, and you’ll find yourself back in the mid-1800s—follies, fancies and Victorian styles reminiscent of London.
The town is dominated by the classic old Rhodes University campus and should be called “Student City” after the thousands of young students who study at Rhodes University. Rhodes is world-famous for the inventors, thinkers, writers and academics it has produced over the generations, and when it is open for learning, the town buzzes.
The students—who enjoy these tree-lined streets and the thrill of learning in a country setting—set the tone of Grahamstown during term time with their parties, events and purely joyous presence.
RRegarded as the heart of the tourist route known as "Frontier Country" Grahamstown, along with towns like Alicedale, Sidbury, Riebeeck East, Hogsback and Alice, is part of one of the most diverse ecological regions in South Africa, with thousands of hectares devoted to nature and game conservation, and a history steeped in forts, conflict and strife. The town lies at the intersection of four very different climatic zones and its unpredictable weather is part of the excitement of the annual arts festival, which takes place in the middle of winter and sees thousands of people bundled in coats, gloves and scarves descend on the town.