East Griqualand is situated in the south-western corner of KwaZulu-Natal. Set between the mighty Drakensberg Range and Nungi and Ingeli Mountains and criss-crossed by numerous rivers and streams, this is the ideal outdoor destination for those seeking to get away from it all.
The area is home to three Nature Reserves. The largest, Mount Currie, is a Natal Parks Board reserve covering some l 700 ha. Situated within this reserve is the Crystal Spring Dam, which offers fishing - bluegill, bass and trout - as well as boating and water sports.
For those who wish to scale its heights, the 2 224m Mount Currie provides stunning views of Kokstad and surrounding areas. Drive your 4 x 4 up to the Mountain Lake Reserve - the only way to negotiate this road, which rises from 1 200m at Matatiele to 2 000m over a 12km stretch - to reach the reserve's pristine grasslands and wetlands. Fish for trout in a lake covering 30ha and reaching depths of 6m in places. Or identify over 80 recorded bird species in the area, including the rare Rudd's Lark
If you prefer sights of a different nature, visit the Wilfred Bauer Nature Reserve, 5km west of Matatiele on the Lesotho road. There you can see the extraordinary Zebdonk, while picnicking in this popular fishing and walking spot.
From Mountain Lake in Matatiele, nesting site of the rare Rudd's Lark, to Franklin Vlei, home of the Whitewinged Flufftail, East Griqualand offers the professional and ama-
teur ornithologist a wide variety of species to identify. Take a leisurely farm walk while identifying over 80 recorded bird species. Or stand motionless beside a wetland and view one of the largest remaining Wattled Crane populations in South Africa.
Flyfishing and Angling
East Griqualand is a fisherman's paradise, where the size of the trout, bass and carp are still a well kept secret. Host to mayn popular tournaments, which draw entries from far and near, the three Flyfishing clubs in the region provide the opportunity to try waters of a different nature and the chance to catch a trout of record size.
As for the bass, all you require is basic equipment and long enough arms to describe the one that got away. And don't forget the lowly carp, found in waters throughout the region, for they always offer good sport and tight lines.
No matter how experienced a hunter you are, East Griqualand is a whole new hunting experience. The area offers the sportsman Mountain Reedbuck, Common Reedbuck, Blesbuck, Geese (Egyptian and Spurwing), Duck and Pigeon - and the chance to hunt in one of the most beautiful regions of South Africa.
Spread over 350 000 ha, this region is a hunter's paradise, embracing mountains, river valleys, vleis, pans and wide open plains. Whether it's buck or bird you are after, this unique area will be remembered long after the hunt is finished.
A holiday in the country provides a wonderful and relaxing experience for the whole family. Children love making friends with animals. Take them to visit a dairy or for a pony ride. Ride on a trailer to the top of a mountain, or watch those young faces as they witness a sheep being shorn. Or picnic next to a crystal clear stream with sheep grazing nearby and stroll over hills where the only sounds are birds singing and cattle lowing.
Take a Griqua tour around Kokstad, capital of East Griqualand. Start at the Adam Kok and Boy Scout Memorials, situated within the Mount Currie Nature Reserve. Visit the Kokstad Museum and other buildings of particular interest, not forgetting the Griqua National Independent Church, opened in 1877 by Margaret, wife of Adam Kok, still with the original "Peach Bell".
Bushman artefacts from the early stone age are among the many fascinating and diverse displays chronicling the growth of Matatiele that are to be found in the Matatiele Museum.
Cut-stone buildings with shooting apertures still visible, churches dating from the 1800's, old hotels once used as staging posts each give an insight into the people who pioneered Nomansland.
Matatiele, Kokstad and Swartberg are home to three beautiful, but very different, golf courses scattered around East Griqualand. Matatiele boasts the cheapest golf in East Griqualand, while Kokstad lets you know that it has the only 18 hole course in the area. But for golf of a different nature, try Swartberg, where the greens are oil's.
Soar from the top of sheer cliff faces that drop straight to flat farm land below. With no obstructions in your flight path and no hindrance to your landing, East Griqualand offers one of the most spectacular paragliding destinations to be found anywhere. Spend time gliding from the Bokkiesberg, where your only soaring companion are a Black Eagle, or allow yourself to be tempted to any of the other favoured spots scattered throughout the area.
Polo in East Griqualand is a family tradition, usually with fathers and sons playing on the same team.
Swartberg, Matatiele and Kokstad each boast active clubs, which take part in numerous tournaments around the country and in neighbouring states. Each club has provided players for the national teams over the years, many competing in international tournaments, both here and overseas. The sight of polo ponies at full gallop, turf flying through the air, and the sound of sticks clashing is an exciting scenario, particularly when set against the backdrop of mountains and rolling green plains.
Apart from golf and polo, each town and village in East Griqualand has a wide variety of sporting clubs. Tennis, squash, bowls, cricket, hockey, rugby, cycling, road running and 4 x 4 clubs abound throughout the area. Visitors are always welcome to join in the activities, so no visitor to the area need miss out on their favourite pastime.
4 X 4 Adventures
Set between the mighty Drakensberg Range and Nungi and Ingeli Mountains, and criss-crossed by numerous rivers and streams, this is the ideal 4 X 4 destination. Test your skill on the Bokkiesberg or head for any of the other many tracks scattered throughout the region. This is true grit country, and a test of any man and his machine.