April 2024

  • Discover the historic cricket field in the frontier village of Salem
  • Experience sand sledding down the Colchester dunes
  • Learn about John Kepe, the Bandit of the Boschberg
  • Stumble upon Storms River’s wheelbarrow succulent garden
  • Do you know the history of Jeffreys Bay?

March 2024

  • The Irma Booysen Flora Reserve in Cape St Francis
  • Discover the South African Airforce Museum in Port Elizabeth
  • Oudebosch Protea Farm Tours in the Tsitsikamma
  • Marvel at the Roberts’ bird book illustrations in Graaff-Reinet
  • Learn about the history of Joubertina in the Langkloof

February 2024

  • Discover Eersterivier in the Tsitsikamma
  • Complete the Eight Passes Challenge in the Eastern Cape Drakensberg
  • Learn about the history of Gill College in Somerset East
  • Visit the Bathurst Agricultural Museum
  • Where is the oldest grape vine in the Eastern Cape?

January 2024

  • Wander through the Cradock Four Garden of Remembrance
  • Why is the water in the streams in the Tsitsikamma brown?
  • Ever wondered about the little mill building in Somerset East?
  • Learn about the bridges of Port Alfred
  • Who was John Lister and why is there a memorial to him in PE?

December 2023

  • Wander along the historic Storms River Pass
  • Learn about the Sand River & Oyster Bay Dune System
  • Why is an Arctic explorer buried in the Karoo?
  • Why are there cattle on the Wild Coast’s beaches
  • Who was Prester John and why is his monument in PE?

November 2023

  • The water wheel of historic Glen Avon Mill turns again
  • Discover the legend of the wreck of the Grosvenor
  • Ride a Segway into the Tsitsikamma forest
  • Learn the history of Cathedral of St Michael and St George
  • The Karoo koppies called Mary and Martha near Tarkastad

October 2023

  • Discover the Karel Landman Monument just off Route 72
  • Watch the Churchill Dam near Kareedouw overflow
  • Enjoy the town of Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast
  • Find a Black Oystercatcher nest
  • Gaze up at the Cockscomb Mountain

September 2023

  • Visit the Olive Schreiner House Museum in Cradock
  • Follow the Loerie Trail in the Tsitsikamma National Park
  • Learn about Mazeppa Bay on the Wild Coast
  • Go hiking or mountain biking on 3Rivers Trails at Thornhill
  • Ancient earthquake fault lines in Port Elizabeth

August 2023

  • Follow along the Nieu-Bethesda water furrows
  • Walk on the Cape St Francis Wild Side
  • Visit the Big Pineapple in Bathurst
  • Where is the grave of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick?
  • Learn more about the Lower Van Stadens Dam

July 2023

  • Walk along the Nieu-Bethesda Labyrinth
  • Discover the St Francis Bay Canals
  • Learn about the Aberdeen bed grave
  • Who was Jack the baboon?
  • What and where is the Prince Alfred’s Guard Drill Hall?

June 2023

  • Walk the Goesa Trail in Storms River
  • Enjoy the view of the Valley of Desolation
  • Who was Sarah Baartman?
  • Discover a Oceanos Lifeboat at Schoenmakerskop in Port Elizabeth

May 2023

  • Learn about the Bible Monument in Grahamstown
  • Explore the Langkloof
  • Go for a walk on the NMU Campus’ Grysbok Reserve in PE
  • Meet Sylvester the Lion at Kuzuko Lodge
  • Look up at the whale skeleton in Bayworld

April 2023

  • Discover the Colchester sand dunes, part of the Alexandria Dune Field
  • Cross the old Gamtoos River Bridge
  • Visit the Quin Sculpture Garden in Alexandria
  • Have you ever heard of the “Stoel Monument” in Middelburg?
  • Venture onto the Van Stadens Railway Bridge

March 2023

  • Learn about the Cape Hermes Lighthouse in Port St Johns
  • Learn more about Steytlerville’s Family Crest Project
  • Cross over the Bloukrans River Bridge in the Tsitsikamma
  • The beautiful beaches of Port Alfred
  • Nieu-Bethesda is open for business during the road works

February 2023

  • Discover the village of Riebeek East
  • Go on a Frog Safari in St Francis Bay
  • Stretch your legs (and loose your clothes) on the Tsitsikamma’s Striptease Trail
  • Marvel at the Dutch Reformed Church in Cradock
  • Learn more about PE / GQ’s Donkin Lighthouse and Pyramid

January 2023

  • Learn more about the Coelacanth, the living fossil fish
  • Hike Port Elizabeth’s Sacramento Trail
  • A UFO landing site at Rosmead in the Karoo Heartland?
  • Spot the Queen Victoria Profile near Patensie
  • Be surprised at the Great Fish Point Lighthouse on Route 72

December 2022

  • Discover fossils at the Kitching Fossil Center in Nieu-Bethesda
  • Experience the marine wonders of Algoa Bay
  • Hiking the Assegaai Trails near Grahamstown
  • A sneaky drive through the Bloukrans Pass in the Tsitsikamma
  • Watch the Adventure Racing World Champs 2023 promo for the Kouga region

November 2022

  • Somerset East, Expect the Unexpected
  • Discover the South African Museum of Literature in Grahamstown
  • Remember the Blaauwkrantz Bridge disaster of 1911
  • Visit the Jeffreys Bay Surf Museum
  • Encounter Waterfall Bluff, the waterfall that drops directly into the sea

October 2022

  • Learn more about Colchester’s historic Mackay Bridge
  • Discover the chess board edging in the Mountain Zebra National Park
  • View rock art in the mountains around Rhodes
  • Marvel at the Magwa Waterfall on the Wild Coast
  • Explore the Van Stadens Wildflower Reserve outside Port Elizabeth

September 2022

  • Stop at the Slagtersnek Monument near Cookhouse
  • Walking up Lady Slipper Mountain outside Port Elizabeth
  • Discover the Phillip’s Tunnel in Hankey
  • The historic background of the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park
  • Learn about the history of Port Alfred’s Kowie River

August 2022

  • 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

July 2022

  • Go ghost hunting in the museums of Somerset East
  • Enjoy the outdoors at Norm Hudlin outside Port Elizabeth
  • Explore Kenton-on-Sea’s beaches and rock formations
  • Surf Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay
  • Stay at Arch Cabins Self Catering in Storms River Village

June 2022

  • Encounter the spirit of the wolf at the Tsitsikamma Wolf Sanctuary
  • Learn more about the Kouga Dam near Patensie
  • Discover Somerset East’s Walter Battiss Art Museum
  • Did you know that Nelson Mandela Bay is called 5 Biome City?
  • Meet Huberta the Hippo

May 2022

  • The history of Bathurst’s Pig and Whistle Hotel
  • Discover Somerset East’s Glen Avon Waterfall
  • Learn more about Beervlei Dam near Willowmore
  • Animals of the Eastern Cape – The Flightless Dung Beetle
  • Crossing the Storms River Mouth suspension bridge

April 2022

  • The history of Hankey in the Gamtoos Valley
  • Visit the museums of Graaff Reinet
  • Learn more about Darlington Dam
  • Animals of the Eastern Cape – The Cape Ground Squirrel
  • Discover Takazi Waterfall on the Wild Coast
  • Video – Tour the Tsitsikamma forest on a Segway

March 2022

  • Slide down the Rabbit Hole near Middelburg with food out of this world
  • Marvel at Hogsback’s Madonna and Child Waterfall
  • Visit Port St Francis, home to the chokka industry
  • Learn about the Cape Morgan Lighthouse
  • Crossing the Buffalo River in East London
  • Video – Tsitsikamma, a world of diversity

February 2022

  • Meet Samara Private Game Reserve tracker Klippers Pietersen
  • The Dutch Reformed Church in Kareedouw
  • Jump into the river pool at Jan se Gat outside Jbay
  • Download the Amazing Addo wildlife checklist
  • Find the cathedral mice in Grahamstown
  • Video – Algoa Bay Whale Heritage Site

January 2022

  • Discover Eersterivier, the Tsitsikamma’s beach
  • Explore the dune fields along the Alexandria Hiking Trail
  • Climb up to Hankey’s Bergvenster
  • Learn more about the village of Rhodes
  • Did you know Hofmeyr had a pink church?
  • 10 Things to do in Coffee Bay
  • All the must see places on the Karoo Heartland Bucketlist
  • Video – Hike along to the Lower Van Stadens Dam

November 2021

  • Explore the Shell Museum in Jeffrey’s Bay
  • Marvel at the Tsitsikamma’s Big Tree
  • Learn more about the town of Alexandria on Route 72
  • Meet the Stone Folk of Nieu-Bethesda
  • Have you heard of the Martello Tower in Fort Beaufort?
  • SANParks announce the dates for this years SANParks Week
  • Discover the #AmazingAddo region with a Bucketlist
  • Video – Enjoy Nelson Mandela Bay’s brand new destination marketing video

October 2021

  • Discover the secret cove at Shelly Beach in Kenton
  • Walk the Waterfall Trail in the Tsitsikamma
  • Taste honey at Pabala in the Gamtoos Valley
  • A breakdown of all the Eastern Cape’s municipalities
  • Your own Addo Elephant National Park game viewing area road map
  • Learn more about the Wild Coast legend of Nongqawuse
  • Explore Makhanda and the Frontier Country with a Bucketlist
  • Video – The sights and sounds of the Karoo Heartland, the Eastern Cape’s big sky country.

September 2021

  • The oldest cake in South Africa is found in Graaff-Reinet
  • More information about Storms River Bridge
  • St Francis Bay’s Seal Point Lighthouse
  • The Diaz Cross at Kwaaihoek on Route 72
  • Learn more about the history of Hogsback
  • Wild Coast Bucket List to plan a visit to this stunning area
  • Video – Explore the Addo region with an #AmazingAddo destination video

August 2021

  • Hiking and cycling trails in the Tsitsikamma’s Plaatbos forest
  • Visit the Wild Coast to cross the Kei River by pont
  • Swing by Egg Rock outside Cradock
  • Enjoy the view from Sir Percy Fitzpatrick Lookout near Addo
  • Discover the Old Thomas River Historical Village between Stutterheim and Cathcart.
  • Tick off activities from the Route 72 Bucket List 
  • Video – Kouga Baviaans region

July 2021

  • The legend of Hole in the Wall on the Wild Coast
  • Bo fly fishing in the Karoo outside Somerset East
  • Hiking in the Kabeljous Nature Reserve outside Jbay
  • A little history on the Addo Elephant National Park that turned 90 this month
  • Info on the labyrinth in Hogsback
  • A travel Bucket List of the Tsitsikamma
  • Video – Route 72 on the Sunshine Coast

June 2021

  • The history of Storms River Village
  • Information on the Baviaanskloof
  • The historic Dutch Reformed Church in Nieu-Bethesda
  • Learn more about the Sundays River
  • A guide to hiking and the waterfalls in Hogsback
  • An infograph on the Waters Meeting Nature Reserve outside Port Alfred
  • Video – Wild Coast

May 2021

  • The history of the Van Stadens bridges
  • How water gets from Gariep Dam via the Karoo Heartland to Port Elizabeth
  • Comprehensive visitor’s guide to Bathurst
  • Meet the Big 7 with Addo Tourism
  • Video – Discover the Tsitsikamma


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Easter has come and gone and now we’re in South Africa’s international trade show season with WTM Africa and Indaba coming up. Wish I had the budget to attend. Anyhow, then we’re heading towards winter. Can you believe how time is flying?  

Welcome to the April 2024 issue of Firefly the Travel Guy’s Encounter the Eastern Cape Travel Mailer. I hope you learn at least one new thing about the province this month.

This month we look at the following:

  • Discover the historic cricket field in the frontier village of Salem

  • Experience sand sledding down the Colchester dunes

  • Learn about John Kepe, the Bandit of the Boschberg

  • Stumble upon Storms River’s wheelbarrow succulent garden

  • Do you know the history of Jeffreys Bay?

If there is something that you would like to see featured in our monthly travel mailer or have any suggestions, please drop us an email at

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The historic Salem cricket ground in Frontier Country

Aerial photo of Salem Cricket Ground by Ron Mackenzie

The village of Salem is located about 20km South of Grahamstown and was founded as a settlement of the party of 1820 settlers under Hezekiah Sephton. The name is of Biblical origin (Gen. 14:18) and means “peace”; the local application refers to an incident in which Richard Gush succeeded in securing peace with marauding Xhosas by means of a sermon, and gifts of tobacco and pocket knives.

The village’s two churches, the first completed by members of the 1820 settlers’ Sephton Party in 1832, stand elevated above the genteel grass of … a cricket oval.

The Salem Cricket Ground claim to be the oldest ground and club in South Africa which still calls its original ground its home. The first match on this ground was played between colonial settlers in 1844, most probably on a Sunday after the church service.

Salem church

A road ran through the ground until 1960, when, according to the minutes of a club meeting, permission to fill it in and move it was finally granted. It took six years to get permission to do so after a fielder “running to stop the ball, was hit by a cyclist travelling with head down at full speed”.  The road was just there, probably because the settlers wanted to play in front of the church because it played such a big role in their lives that they didn’t care if the road was there or not … Cricket and the church have always been connected.

Sand sledding on the Colchester dunes

Sand sledding with Addo Cruises and Sand Sledding in Colchester / Sundays River Mouth

The Colchester dunes are located along the Sundays River just east of Port Elizabeth. Part of the Alexandria dune field, these dunes aren’t normal beach dunes. They are huge. One of the best ways to experience this stunning place is to cruise down the Sundays River with Addo Cruises and Sand Sledding. But cruising and climbing only allows you to see the dunes for yourself. Why not get the heart pumping a bit and experience them as well on a sand sled? Sand sledding is different from sandboarding in that you don’t have to stand and try to balance to enjoy the experience. Plus you definitely won’t wipe out.

Addo Cruises’ sand sleds are custom-designed and individually hand-made by owner Les Kingma himself. The wooden sleds have been improved over the years to give visitors the ultimate sand sledding experience so there are no struggling to hold on to and pull up a piece of plastic to try and generate speed. All you do is #JustLeanBack and enjoy the ride.  

Sand sledding with Addo Cruises and Sand Sledding in Colchester / Sundays River Mouth
Addo Cruises and Sand Sledding

John Kepe, the bandit of the Boschberg

A scene from "Sew the Winter to My Skin" based on the story of John Kepe

During the late 1940s and early 1950s a notorious vagabond called John Kepe had the town of Somerset East up in arms with a series of petty burglaries, incidences of stock theft and mountainside muggings on the locals.


By the year 1950, local police were logging approximately one incident a week of stock theft and house burglaries from farmers in the Boschberg area. In the meantime, Kepe had succeeded in keeping his true identity as the mysterious Boschberg outlaw a secret. He came into town from time to time to socialise at the community drinking hall and would even join search parties and go on the hunt for himself.

By then Kepe had garnered a reputation among locals. He lived in a secret cave up in the Boschberg and stashed all his ill-gotten gains in another cave nearby. In December 1951 Kepe killed a shepherd and the search for him was stepped up. On the night of 25 February 1952, he was arrested in an ambush and later found guilty by a court of law and executed by hanging at the Pretoria.

A film called “Sew the Winter to My Skin” based on the story of Kepe came out in 2018.

Read the whole story of John Kepe

Storms River’s wheelbarrow succulent garden

Storms River Village wheelbarrow garden

The Tsitsikamma is famous for its unmatched natural beauty and adrenalin-pumping activities.  Most people visit Storms River Village to use it as a base to explore the indigenous forests, explore the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park and do anything from bungy jumping and ziplining to segway tours and river tubing. The village has several well-known and some lesser-known attractions. One of those lesser-known attractions that most people stumble on by chance while taking a stroll through the village is Oom Kallie’s wheelbarrow succulent garden. The garden was a labour of love created by Oom Kallie over years and even though his health means he is unable to continue his work, some locals hope to continue his legacy.

The history of Jbay

Jeffreys Bay coastline

Jeffreys Bay was not always a surf spot. Back in the 1840s Captain Jeffreys, ran a cargo ship, trading up and down South Africa’s East Coast. In 1849 he set up a trading post on the beach at what we know as Jeffreys Bay today and created a distribution point for the local farmers.

By the late 1940s people were coming to Jbay more and more to fish, going out to catch geelbek, steenbra, snoek and leervis. Jbay had developed into a fishing village relatively popular during the holidays.

But Jeffreys Bay was just about to meet surf culture head-on. Bruce Brown’s film The Endless Summer kicked things off when it dropped in 1966. The film’s centrepiece was Bruce’s Beauties in the town of St Francis Bay which led to South African surfers making the trip to the area. In so doing they stumbled upon the more accessible point at Jbay which turned out to be a better surf spot.

One of the surfing world’s crown jewels had been discovered, was mapped and open for business… and pleasure. Located about 3km up the road from the town, there was nothing more than a wave, a dune and an open lot where most surfers camped or slept in their cars… But it was the start of big things.

Trading established the town, fishing developed the town and surfing made it famous. Today it is a popular holiday destination, sought after by both young and old to stay, play and retire in.

Jeffreys Bay Tourism
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