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
  • Take 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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Summer is around the corner and the highlight of this past winter must surely be the Rugby World Cup coming straight back home. Peak season is about to kick off but take a few minutes, grab a coffee and read a little bit about our beautiful province, the Eastern Cape. Welcome to the December 2023 issue of Firefly the Travel Guy’s Encounter the Eastern Cape Travel Mailer.

This month we look at the following:

  • 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 the Cathedral of St Michael and St George

  • Gaze at the Karoo koppies called Mary and Martha near Tarkastad

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

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The historic Glen Avon Mill mills again

Glen Avon Mill on Glen Avon Farm outside Somerset East

The historic watermill on Glen Avon farm outside Somerset East has recently been restored and is grinding grain once again.

When Somerset Farm was closed down in 1825, Robert Hart who was in charge of the experimental farm, settled on farmland adjacent to the town which he was granted in recognition of his services to the government. Here he built a homestead – Glen Avon. Hart, who was a pioneer of Merino sheep farming, farmed sheep, grew fruit, especially citrus, and grain.

The first mill on Glen Avon was built by Robert Hart Snr. in 1823 already. It was built into the hill between The Gulley and the dairy, behind Hart Cottage. This mill would have had a wooden wheel and all that remains of it is the grindstone, which is paved into the entrance of the current mill.

Glen Avon Mill on Glen Avon Farm outside Somerset East

So successful was grain production in the region that it justified the building of a commercial mill for neighboring farmers. The present mill was built in 1862, evidenced by the wheel being dated 1861. This mill would have been built by Robert Hart Jnr, since his father would have been in his early 80’s by this time. The equipment and machinery were imported, mostly from England, and transported by ship and then by bullock-wagon from Algoa Bay to Glen Avon over the old Zuurberg Pass. Much of the machinery would have been assembled on site. The overshot waterwheel, with an 8.24m diameter is said to be one of the largest to be assembled in southern Africa.

The  Glen Avon Mill can be viewed by guests to Glen Avon Farm and by appointment.

Read more about Glen Avon Farm and book your stay

Legends of the Wild Coast:
The wreck of the Grosvenor

The Grosvenor is probably the most famous wreck on the Wild Coast. She ran aground and sank on a return voyage from India in a deep gully off a rocky little bay called Lwambazi, north of the the Umzimvubu River, on August 4th 1782. Out of the 150 people on board only 14 drowned. Six sailors went for help and reached the safety at a frontier farm near Port Elizabeth. An expedition was sent to rescue the survivors but they only found 12 people. Rumours were that those not found were living with local tribesmen. In 1790 a expedition was sent to find the wreck and a colony of about 400 people of non-African descent were discovered living on a tributary of the Mngazi River. The sad remnants of the various shipwrecks along the coast. The expedition found no trace of the Grosvenor though.

A story started doing the rounds that the Grosvenor was carrying a fortune in bullion and silver. One of the rumours insisted that the fabulous Peacock Throne of Persia (a royal chair made of solid gold with peacocks outlined in precious stones, and which had been looted round about this time) was also on board.

An absurd and costly series of recovery schemes, many of which cost more than any reputed treasure on board the ship, followed right through to modern days. Steam-drive cranes, suction dredgers, undersea tunnels, boulder breakwaters, high-pressure water- jets, explosives and mining efforts found very little whatsoever. Only two cannons and several gold and silver coins have ever been recovered from the wreck of the Grosvenor. It still lies down there somewhere in its dangerous little gully, its secrets hidden by treacherous currents and drifting sand. No man knows what is still on board and if it will ever be found.

Read more about the Grosvenor

Riding segways in the Tsitsikamma

Tsitsikamma Segway tour into the Tsitsikamma forest

The Tsitsikamma can easily be called the adventure capital of South Africa with fabulous activities like the Bloukrans bungee, canopy tours in the forest treetops, tubing on the Storms River and kayaking in the national park. How about an activity that can be enjoyed by young and old, couples, friends or the whole family? Tsitsikamma Segway Tours are based on the main road right in the heart of Storms River Village. It’s much easier to ride a segway than most people think and after a 10 minute orientation and training session the guide leads the group along the historic Storms River Pass into the indigenous forest. You get to experience the beauty of the Tsitsikamma on two wheels without the noise of an engine or having to peddle uphill. Best of all, the whole family can do it together without leaving anybody behind. Their guides are skillful and patient and will make sure the littlies enjoy the tour just as much as the adults.  

Tsitsikamma Segway Tours

Makhanda’s Cathedral of St Michael and St George

Like most cathedrals across the world, Grahamstown Cathedral has grown out of a much simpler building over a long period of time. When Graham’s Town was surveyed and laid out in 1814, the site the cathedral stands on today was identified as being “a very convenient site for a church”. Construction only started in 1824 and St George’s Church opened in 1830.

The Diocese of Grahamstown was founded in 1853. Conflict between the bishop and the church’s dean lead to the exclusion of the bishop from the cathedral. This action resulted in the setting up of St Michael’s Pro-Cathedral in 1883. After the dean’s death in 1885, reconciliation took place and the bishop started officiating at the services again.

Plans for a new “worthy cathedral” was drawn up and the foundation-stone was laid in 1890 and the completed structure was consecrated in 1893, combining the two names as the Cathedral of St Michael and St George to mark the healing of a historic breach in the diocese. A new nave was dedicated in 1912 and the building of the cathedral was finally completed in 1952 with the addition of the Lady Chapel.   

Mary and Martha near Tarkastad

Throughout the Karoo it’s common to see flat-topped hills called Karoo Koppies along the horizon. Karoo Koppies hills are capped by hard, erosion-resistant dolerite sills. This is solidified lava that was forced under high pressure between the horizontal strata of the sedimentary rocks that make up most of the Karoo’s geology.


One of the best-known landmarks in the Tarkastad district, at an elevation of 1454 meters above sea level, is two Karoo Koppies called Mary and Martha. They sit like two heavy women on a stoep, weary from a day’s hard work awaiting the return of men from the fields. Originally called the Tweeling Berge (Twin Mountains), the hills have been known as Mary and Martha since the 1840s. 

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