In the August 2022 issue of Firefly the Travel Guy’s Encounter our Eastern Cape Travel Letter
Walk the Jeffreys Bay Spekboom Labyrinth
Visit St Patrick on the Hill in Hogsback
Discover Harry Potter’s grave in Cradock
Cruise the Sundays River with Addo Cruises and Sand Sledding
Muir, the oldest English speaking boys’ school in SA turns 200
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Jeffreys Bay’s Spekboom Labyrinth
Jeffreys Bay’s newest attraction is the recently launched Spekboom Labyrinth. The labyrinth was a 10 year dream and became a realisation due collaboration between the Kouga Municipality and “Dorp van Drome” and located on the corner of Noorsekloof Road and Dogwood Road in JBay. At the entrance of the labyrinth, there are four columns representing the four natural elements: earth (green), water (blue), air (white), and fire (red) while 1000 spekbome have been planted to grow and form the hedge.
What is a labyrinth?
Unlike a maze, you can’t get lost – the paths in and out are clear. It has no blind alleys or dead ends as mazes have. The path twists and turns back on itself a multitude of times before reaching the center. Patterns range from simple to complex, and sizes of labyrinths vary. Walking a labyrinth requires you to merely follow the pattern, with no puzzle to figure out. It is designed to encourage mindfulness and symbolize the inward journey.
St Patrick on the Hill in Hogsback
St Patrick on the Hill in Hogsback is one of the smallest churches in South Africa. The chapel was first built in 1935 by Kenneth Hobart Houghton as a private place to worship. It was first designed as a single rondavel and after its donation to the Anglican Church, the local congregation grew, and it became necessary to extend it. The second rondavel was added in 1992.
In June 2010, fire destroyed almost the entire building and the rebuilt Chapel was dedicated by the Bishop of Grahamstown on the Feast of St Patrick on 17 March 2011. St Patrick’s is open to visitors every day and you are welcome to spend a little time in prayer or meditation. Sunday services are at 10:00 and although the church is officially part of the Anglican Diocese of Grahamstown, services are shared by the Presbyterians, Methodists, N.G. Kerk and Anglicans.
A wizard’s grave in Cradock
Pssst, I’m referring to Harry Potter
We all know Harry Potter. The boy wizard with his little round glasses and lightning scar on the forehead created by JK Rowling for her books and turned into a successful film franchise. But what happened to Harry after the fact? Cradock’s old cemetery can get quite spooky in the early mornings when the fog hangs around the gravestones of settlers, frontiersmen, nuns and soldiers who fell in the Anglo-Boer War. In their mids lies the grave of one Harry Potter, ‘beloved husband’ who died on 27 July 1910 at the age of 46.
Elsewhere in the cemetery another unique “resident”. Dr Reginald Koettlitz (1869–1916) was Chief Medical Officer to legendary Scott of the Antarctic on an earlier Antarctic trip. After working all over the world he bought a medical practice in Somerset East and then eventually moved to Cradock for health reasons where he died of dysentery in 1916.
Cruising and sand sledding on the Sundays River
The Sundays River is said to be the fastest flowing river in South Africa and close to the river mouth forms both the boundary of the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan area as well as the Addo Elephant National Park. It also borders the largest moving coastal dune field in the Southern Hemisphere. It is here that you will find one of the metro’s top attractions, the Sundays River Ferry.
Captain Les Kingma and his ferry does daily 2.5 hour cruises from Cannonville down to the sand dunes (weather permitting). The view from the top of the dunes is magnificent and stretched right across Algoa Bay past St Croix Island to Port Elizabeth. They also offer a sand sledding add-on on their custom designed handmade sleds. The sleds are easy to use, no balance required and guaranteed not to wipe out with you. Those brave enough can even try going down the mine shaft to see how far across the water they can skip on one of the sleds.
The Sundays River Ferry is the only large commercial passenger boat taking guests on the Sundays River that is taken out the water annually and then surveyed and maintained according to SAMSA regulations. The boat is covered by comprehensive liability insurance. while the sand sledding is regulated by a safety self regulation standard being submitted to SATSA for national implementation.
SA’s oldest boys’ high school turns 200
Muir College in Uitenhage is undoubtedly the oldest English speaking boys’ high school in South Africa. It traces its origins back to 1822 when a Scottish educationalist, James Rose Innes, established Uitenhage’s first Free Government School with 60 pupils. Admission was open to all children, irrespective of gender, ethnicity or economic status, and by 1829 enrolment had increased to 167. The school became a boys’ only school in 1873, with Riebeek College for Girls opening in 1877. In 1892 the school’s name was changed to the Muir Academy in honour of the new Superintendent-General of Education in the Cape, Dr (later Sir) Thomas Muir and by 1907 it was universally known as ‘Muir College’. In 1962 the college was split into a Primary School and High School.
This month the school celebrates their 200th anniversary.