Suurberg (Zuurberg) Pass -
This long and sometimes extreme gravel pass is located on a secondary road (the R335) in the Eastern Cape approximately 35 km north of Addo and 75 km south of Somerset East. At 27,5 km it is one of the longer passes in South Africa and traverses all four tiers of the dominant Zuurberg Mountain range. It was originally constructed by Henry Fancourt White in 1849, but White resigned during the construction phase to take up a post in parliament, leaving the project in the capable hands of the assistant roads engineer, Mr. Matthew Woodifield, whose name appears carved into a rock slab near the southern end of the pass.
The pass contains within its length 158 bends, corners and curves. As progress is made northwards, the road surface deteriorates to the point where low range and high clearance is required. Allow two hours (excluding stops) to complete the pass and be patient and careful as this is true puncture country. Changing a spare wheel on a steep incline is a risky affair, so it’s better to drive slower and choose your driving lines with care.
Daniell Cheetah Breeding Farm
Daniell Cheetah Breeding project was established in May 2001 and started with just three cats. It has since grown with breeding, purchase and swapping of animals.
The aim of this project is to play a part in the conservation of Cheetah’s (Acinonyx jabatus), the re-establishment of pure gene lines, as well as educating people to the importance of conserving this amazing species.
The cheetah project offers a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience where visitors do not only get an interesting, personalized tour, but get to interact with the animals. Visitors are encouraged to touch the cheetahs and have photographs with some of them. We believe this opens people’s eyes to the importance of the Cheetah’s conservation
Daniell Cheetah breeding also has other attractions:
• The Padstal where you can browse for gifts and African Arts at very reasonable prices
• Coffee, Tea and Light meals can be ordered for take-away or sit-down meals
• Feeding the tame Kudu’s and Springbuck
• Experiencing the hospitality of the Daniell Family
Addo Wildlife Centre and Eco Tour
Addo Wildlife Centre
We have an amazing selection of animals at the wildlife centre ranging from crocodiles to parrots from around the world. Children are welcome to handle our tame rabbit’s and feed the chickens.
Open 7 days a week from 8:00 am to 17:00.
Snakes: Red-tailed Boa Constrictor, Carpet Python, Corn Rat Snake Hybrid, Grey Rat Snake, Honduran Milk Snake, Snow Corn, Black Albino Rat Snake, Corn Snake, California, King Snake, Yellow Anaconda’s
Reptiles: African Fat Tailed Gecko’s, Rock Monitor Lizard, Nile Crocodiles
Parrots: Cape Parrot, Lovebirds, African Grey, Galah’s, Brown Headed, Senegal, Ruppel’s, Meyer’s, Eclectus
Macaws: Scarlet, Greenwing , Military, Red Fronted, Blue and Gold
Raptors: Cape Eagle Owl, Spotted Eagle Owl, Barn Owl, Bengal Eagle Owl, Rock Kestrel, Verreaux’s Eagle, Lanner Falcon, Steppe Buzard, Yellow Billed Kite, Pale Chanting Goshawk
Cats: African Wild Cat, Caracal
Antelopes: Blue Duiker
Squirrels: Red Bush Squirrel, Gouldian Finches, Suricate
Touch Farm: Turkeys, Chickens, Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Dwarf Goats, Ducks, Geese, Black Swans
Addo Wildlife Eco Tour
This lovely four and a half hour guided tour on an open game view vehicle departs from the Addo Wildlife to our nature reserve situated on the banks of Sundays River. It includes an informative drive through some citrus orchards, interesting facts regarding the varieties of fruit and whereto it is exported to.
Once on our nature reserve our guides will tell you about the unique Eastern Cape plants and trees, search for antelope species like the Blue Wildebeest, Red hartebeest, Springbuck, Zebra, Impala, Waterbuck, Nyala and Kudu’s to name a few. We stop and show the very uncommon Elephant foot plant after which you can enjoy a relaxing optional walk through the African bush to the river. End the walk with a nice jump of our deck into the Sundays River. A scrumptious meal and refreshments await you back at the Restaurant.
Darlington Dam - Lake Mentz
P.W.F. Weyers, a former hawker, who lost cattle in an attack by the Boers during the Anglo-Boer War, was said to have started Darlington farm in the Jansenville district. He always said that the Boers had shot his animals in the Bedrogsfontein Pass.
Weyers settled on Darlington in the fertile Sundays River Valley in 1905 and planted fruit orchards and vineyards. Later a hotel, post office, shop, smithy, house, and several outbuildings were established on the farm and later still they all disappeared under waters of Lake Mentz (Darlington Dam) when it was established in 1922.
This huge dam was created to supply citrus farmers further down in the Sundays River Valley with irrigation water for their trees. Weyers left the farm and it had other owners among them Dr Reginald Koettlitz, who accompanied Captain Robert Falcon Scott on his first
Antarctic expedition as senior medical officer. Some say that the doctor was blamed when some of the men of the expedition contracted scurvy and that this led him to come to South Africa to settle in the Karoo. But he was not the only famous man to have contact with this farm and dam. The first chairman of the irrigation board responsible for the building of the dam was none other than Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of Jock of the Bushveld.
And even the name of the dam has a good story attached to it. Piet van Niekerk, of Drive Out Magazine (August / September 2007) wrote:
“According to local legend the then minister of land affairs, Colonel Hendrik Mentz, who had granted permission for the building of the dam, was not exactly a popular fellow, so when it was suggested that the dam be named after him, some irate person loudly exclaimed: ‘Oh, damn Mentz!’ To which he received a polite reply: ‘No, no, just Lake Mentz, will do!”’
In the 1990s the ‘lake’ was renamed the Darlington Dam.
Extract from Roses Roundup. Lake Mentz construction commenced in 1918 and was completed in 1924. As had been envisaged from the start, the capacity of the lake became progressively reduced by silting. The wall was raised by 1,5 meters which had the effect of restoring the capacity. The accumulation of silt had by 1946 again reduced the capacity. In 1949 the wall was raised a further 5,8 meters. When the servitude proceedings came before the Water Court it was agreed that nothing further in the future could be done for Lake Mentz by way of increasing its storage capacity.
Commenting on the probable life of the dam the presiding judge said: “We are of opinion that, in the conflict of admittedly theoretical opinion, the safest figures to adopt on the probabilities is somewhere between 35 and 40 years (from 1949), at which stage (a) the dam will have ceased to function effectively and (b) the servitude area will have been completely silted up”.
In 1924, Philip Weyer, the main owner of land inundated by Lake Mentz, was awarded £27 000 compensation.
Following the raising of the wall by 5,8 meters in 1949, Weyer’s successor, Bertram Henderson, was granted just under £40 000 the event being described at the time in these words:
“The action arose because of the raising of the wall at Lake Mentz and was heard at Somerset East during November and December. It lasted nearly a month and witnesses came from all over the country. From the judgment it appears the Respondent did well on his land valuations which were substantially sustained by the Court”.
Today, Darlington Dam has been incorporated into the Addo Elephant National Park, adding to the attraction for tourists to the Park.
Things to do at Colchester and the Sundays River Mouth
Cannonville/Colchester and the Sundays River Mouth is located only about 35 km, or not even 30 minutes’ drive, from Port Elizabeth along the N2. The area is an extremely popular holiday and weekend destination and offers a host of activities based around the Sundays River. It is also the location of the southern gate into Addo Elephant National Park making it a very popular base for local and international visitors.
Here are 10 Things to do in the Cannonville / Colchester / Sundays River Mouth area and surrounds:
1. Scenic River Cruise / Boat Rides - Take a leisurly cruise down the Sundays River with Sundays River Adventures. Enjoy views of the the river mouth and the Colchester section of the Alexandria dune field. The cruise offers great bird watching opportunities and a chance to climb to the top of the dunes for a view across Algoa Bay to Port Elizabeth as well as the surrounding dune field.
2. Sand Boarding - Combine cruising down the Sundays River Valley with the chance to sand board down the giant sand dunes close to the river mouth with Sundays River Adventures.
3. Addo Elephant National Park - Enter the world famous Addo Elephant National Park from the Colchester side through the southern gate at Camp Matyholweni for a self-drive safari through the park or book a guided tour to view the Big 5 and other animals.
4. Nanaga Farmstall - No roadtrip west along the N2 from Port Elizabeth or on Route 72 is complete without a stop at the Nanaga Farmstall for their homemade roosterkoek and freshly baked pies, biltong, pineapple juice or a freshly brewed cappuccino to send you on your way. So if its padkos, a snack or quick bite to eat, Nanaga Farmstall is worth a stop.
5. Bird Watching - Bird watching can be done while cruising the river, walking along its banks, visiting Addo Elephant National Park (with over 400 recorded bird species) or just by making the rounds through the area.
6. Water activities on the Sundays River include swimming, fishing, paddling, waterskiing, cruising or just staring out over the river watching the sun set in the west.
7. Dune Hiking - Do a quick hike up the Colcherster dunes while on a cruise with the Sundays River Adventures or go for a longer hike through this magnificent dune field.
8. Nukakamma Canoe Trail - The only Green Flag canoe trail in the country, the Nukakamma Canoe Trail is a 29 km overnight round trip on the flat water of the Sundays River. The trail is a joy for any lover of nature to behold, with over 210 bird species and abundant wildlife. Stay overnight in the romantic Hudson, a two roomed log cabin and sleep under the stars on the sundeck overlooking the river. It begins and ends in the village of Cannonville. Contact Sundays River Adventures for more info.
9. Fishing - Fishing on the Sundays River and at the Sundays River Mouth is allowed with a valid fishing permit both from the bank as well as from a boat. Monthly competitions are held for visitors and locals wanting to test their skill against others.
10: Running / Cycling: The Cannonville / Colchester area offers save running and cycling along it’s roads, the towpath on the river’s edge, and across the historic Mackay Bridge and onto the Tankatara Road.
Raggy Charters Marine Eco Cruises
There are several things that make their cruises unique and sets them apart from other operators.
• They visit St Croix island which is home to half of the worlds remaining endangered African Penguins and is the largest breeding colony of African Penguins.
• We are blessed to operate in Algoa Bay which is diverse in wildlife species and rich in history.
• We only run our Whale/Dolphin/Penguin island cruise once a day, in the morning, instead of trying to fit multiple cruises into one day. This ensures that our skippers and guides are fresh and fully alert for every cruise and it is possible to spend a bit more time and effort searching for wildlife in all corners of the Bay or observing something special that we come across provided that no one on board is in a rush to get back for a flight or any other prior arrangements or bookings.
• We are a small organization whose focus is education, conservation and assisting in research which is all made possible by the funds generated from conducting Marine Eco-Cruises for our guests out into Algoa Bay.
• At least one tree is planted for every cruise to balance our carbon footprint.
• We prefer using smaller boats over using large boats to keep our cruises personal with at least two guides on board each of our cruises to answer any questions and see to the needs of our Guests.
Our three boats are licensed for 20, 18 and 12 passengers, respectively. (For more comfort we suggest 20, 18 and 8 passengers)
All cruises are weather dependent.
Raggy Charters is a licensed boat-based whalewatching permit holder for Algoa Bay. Southern Right and Humpback whales are usually seen from June until December.
Bryde’s and Minke whales can be seen throughout the year feeding on schools of bait fish which pass through Algoa Bay.
Dolphins regularly spotted on cruises include both Common and Indo Pacific Bottlenose, Common and Humpback. If no whales are spotted a cruise to the penguin island will be undertaken. Tours leave in the mornings and take between two and three hours.
Penguin Island Cruises
Visit the St Croix Island Marine Reserve and see the largest breeding colony of the endangered African Penguins on the planet, numbering 22 000 birds. Besides penguins there are many other seabirds including Cape Gannets which nest on a nearby island. Also often seen are Cape Fur Seals, sharks, and dolphins. Tours leave in the morning, taking three hours and covering 60km.
Join Raggy Charters for a leisurely cruise along PE’s famous beachfront turning around at the Cape Recife lighthouse which marks the start of Algoa Bay. Dolphins, Cape Fur Seals and numerous sea birds may be sighted. Tours leave in the afternoon taking one and a half hours and covering 10km.
About Raggy Charters
Raggy Charters is by far the oldest Marine Eco Tour company in Port Elizabeth and was established in 1997. We have a 100% safety record, and our boats are inspected annually by the South African Marine Safety Authority. The company was set up with the sole goal of funding the Baywatch Marine Conservation Project.
Addo Elephant Park Full Day Game Drive
Departs from Zuurberg at 08h00
Open Game Viewer vehicle
Includes entry fees, Guide, Drinks and BBQ lunch with 3 meats, salads, rooster brood and Cheese board
Returns to Hotel between 17h00 and 18h00
Half Day Morning Addo Elephant Park Game Drive
Departs from Zuurberg at 06h30
Open Game Viewer vehicle
Includes entry fees, Guide, Teas/Coffees, Drinks and Picnic breakfast
Returns to Hotel approximately 12h30
Half Day Afternoon Addo Elephant Park Game Drive
Departs from Zuurberg at 13h30
Open Game Viewer vehicle
Includes entry fees, Guide, Teas/Coffees, Drinks and Snacks
Returns to Hotel approximately 18h30
Includes return transfer from Zuurberg
Departs from Zuurberg at 07h00, 10h00 and 14h00 (the 07h00 departure includes breakfast)
Duration with the elephants 2 hours
Please take note - Elephant Walk, Interaction and Feeding (Elephant riding is no longer permitted)
**Return transfer to Elephant Encounter Only – R380.00 per person (minimum 2 pax)**
Schotia Tooth and Claw Safari
Activity is approximately 1 hour away from the hotel. (depart in your car at 13h30)
Activity starts at 15h00
Includes Game Drive, Boma Dinner and a night Drive
Activity ends at 21h00
Amakhala Day Safari
Activity is approximately 1 hour away from the hotel. (depart in your car at 08h15)
Meet at Leeuwenbosch Country House at 09h30 for pre-drive orientation.
Depart on Game Drive at 10h00.
Includes a 3-and-a-half-hour Game Drive and two course lunch served at the lodge at 13h30
The concession area of Addo opposite the hotel is not fenced in, so they offer a 1-hour, 3-hour and 5-hour marked hiking trails. There offices open at 7am and close at 4pm, so hiking needs to be done during these hours. You will need to pay the conservation fee IN CASH as they do not have a credit card machine.
Zuurberg Garden Spa and Wellness Centre (price list and appointments are available on arrival)
Therapists are carefully selected and undergo continuous professional development in the area of Spa and wellness education. Our facility offers hydrotherapy treatments such as sauna and jet-bath therapies. In addition, we provide a selection of luxury skin and body treatments (range of massages, manicures, pedicures and facials), leaving every guest with a memorable experience.
The area is classified as semi-arid to arid, receiving an average rainfall of less than 445mm per year.
Rainfall is relatively evenly distributed throughout the year, but there are two peaks, in February - March and again in October - November. Frost occurs at times during winter.
There is no natural water in this section of the park and most waterholes are fed by boreholes. There are a number of small pans in the area but these are dry except in years of exceptional rainfall.
Height above sea level varies from 250m to 970m. Mean annual rainfall of approximately 722mm. Peaks in rainfall are in spring and autumn. Unlike other fynbos areas, the winter months are the driest. Thunderstorms occur in summer months when lightning fires can be caused.
Average annual rainfall of 255mm. Maximum temperature in summer reaches 48 °C and minimum temperatures are just above 0°C in winter. Rainfall is mostly in the form of thundershowers and an occasional cold front from the west.
Coastal Section (Woody Cape):
The mean annual rainfall varies from 392 mm at Sundays River Mouth to 700mm near Woody Cape. Boknes to Bushmans River Mouth is the transition zone from all year rainfall to summer rainfall. The dune field occurs in a rain shadow which receives lower rainfall than both Port Elizabeth and Alexandria. Fog and mist are common, with frost being rare.
Family Manor Room - This spacious room is en suite with a bath and a shower. It has an inter-leading door and a sleeper sofa.
Luxury Village Room - Features panoramic mountain and valley views. Offers a private patio. Includes air-conditioning and underfloor heating.
The Zuurberg Manor is comprised of 4 spacious rooms. Each room has a full bathroom with shower and bath, mini-bar and private patio with spectacular views.
A full hot and cold buffet breakfast is included in the accommodation rates.
An A La Carte menu is served from 11am until 4pm. Half price for children under 12 years. No charge for children under 3 years. Booking in advance for Sunday lunch is essential. Kindly note the kitchen closes at 4pm each day to prepare for dinner.
KINDLY NOTE THAT SUNDAY LUNCH OVER EASTER, MOTHER’S DAY, FATHER’S DAY, CHRISTMAS, AND NEW YEAR’S DAY WILL COST EXTRA (PRICE ON REQUEST) AS WE PROVIDE A SPECIAL MENU. PRE-BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL.
Dinner is either a 5-course buffet carvery or a 5-course set menu. Dinner is currently R300 per adult and will increase to R315 per adult from 1 October 2020, and R330 per adult from 1 October 2021. Half price for children under 12 years. No charge for children under 3 years. Booking for dinner is not necessary for guests who are staying in the hotel.
KINDLY NOTE THAT THERE ARE NO SELF-CATERING FACILITIES AVAILABLE. GUESTS WITH SPECIFIC DIETARY REQUIREMENTS CAN BE CATERED FOR IF WE ARE ADVISED IN ADVANCE.
Child rates are stated on the rate sheet. Child rates apply when sharing with at least 1 full paying adult. Children under 3 years stay free of charge. Baby cots are available on request and should be booked in advance. Please note that parents are responsible for their children at all times, the hotel staff cannot be expected to watch children. Baby-sitting services can be pre-booked at R50 per child per hour.
Maximum 2 crew members per group are accommodated on a complimentary BB basis. Additional meals and beverages are for their own account. If the group have dinner at the hotel then maximum 2 crew members will have their dinner complimentary.
In the event of notification of cancellation, the following cancellation fee shall apply on the full booking:
More than 30 days prior to arrival: 0%
More than 7 days prior to arrival : 50%
Less than 7 days prior to arrival : 100%
(GPS Co-ordinates: -33.351523, 25.743840)
Directions from Port Elizabeth: Distance approx. 86km. Travel time approx. 1 hr 15 minsTake the N2 towards Grahamstown and pass Blue Water Bay. Take the next exit to the R335 marked Motherwell / Markman. Turn left and continue on this road. Drive through a small town called ADDO. Travel a further 10km until you see the Zuurberg Mountain Village turnoff on your left. Turn left – the road will become a GRAVEL road. Drive 16 km up the original Zuurberg Mountain Pass until you reach the hotel. You do not need a 4x4 vehicle to drive on this gravel road (from the Addo side), but drive slowly and be on the look-out for oncoming traffic when going around the sharp, narrow bends. Keep to the left side of the road. The drive up the Pass is “naturally” bumpy, but is very scenic with expansive views of the mountains. It goes through 5 different biomes with an abundance of beautiful flora and fauna. In order to maximise your enjoyment, allow 20 minutes for this part of your journey. Be cautious when; driving up the Pass at night, when there is heavy mist and during/after heavy rainfall. We look forward to welcoming you. See you on top of the mountain! If in doubt, contact us.
ALTERNATIVE ROUTE from Port Elizabeth
- Longer but more scenic and easier driving.Distance approx.110km. Travel time approx. 1:30minsTake the N10 towards Paterson. At Paterson turn left onto the R342. Continue on this road for the next 24km. Drive past the entrance to the ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK. You will see a sign on your right hand side saying “Zuurberg”. Turn right, the road becomes a GRAVEL road. Travel a further 16 km till you reach the hotel as per instructions above.
Fantastic news we accept children of all ages, we have beautiful family rooms as well as extra beds & cots to accommodate everyone as far as possible. Please contact reservations to enquire about rates for the particular season you are wanting to come stay with us!