Experience our Eastern Cape Info Letter – November 2021


This issue of ECTOUR’s Experience our Eastern Cape Travel Letter

  • 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

  • Enjoy Nelson Mandela Bay’s brand new destination marketing video

If there is something that you would like to see featured in our monthly “travel letter” or have any suggestions, please drop us a mail at info@ectour.co.za.

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Jeffrey’s Bay Shell Museum

Famous for its rich variety of shells found along the beaches, Jeffreys remains a favourite haunt for shell collectors and beach combers. Many cold and warm water species reach the extremities of their ranges along our coast where the Aghulhas and Benguela currents intermingle in a unpolluted environment. Shells are found with the incoming tides.

The Jeffreys Bay Shell Museum was opened in 1998 to house the collection of Charlotte Kritzinger, a local lady who dedicated many years collecting shells. Over time, this collection was further enhanced, through donations and exchanges. A recent addition is a display of Jeffreys Bay micro shells, which is believed to be unique in this country. Here in serene ambience, housed in glass cases like precious jewels, are a variety of shells from all over the world. See the legendary cowry, the rare paper nautilus, tiny baby jam tarts, & a new species of cone.

During December 2019 the museum was slightly upgraded and now also houses some other interesting artefacts and new projects under way will include information about the local fishermen and history of the town. A visit to Jeffreys Bay is not complete without a visit to the Jeffreys Bay Shell Museum which is situated centrally on the beachfront of the town.

More info on what to see and do in Jeffrey’s Bay

The Tsitsikamma Big Tree

A massive Yellowwood in a dense indigenous forest, the Tsitsikamma Forest’s Big Tree stands 36 m tall with a circumference of 9 m at the trunk base. Take a 500m wooden forest walkway trough lush vegetation to see this 800-year-old giant and admire the surrounding scenery.

The Big Tree is located just off the N2 between Storms River Bridge and the Storms River Village. The Ratel Nature Walk follows on from the Big Tree. This trail offers either a 2.6km or 4.2km walk through a wet part of the high forest. Both options are relatively easy.

Where to stay when visiting the Tsitsikamma

The town of Alexandria

Alexandria is a small farming town situated on Route 72 about 100 km from Port ELizabeth and 50km from Port Alfred. The original settlement may have been established by the Dutch colonial government in the late 18th century, but was named Alexandria in 1856 after Reverend Alexander Smith. The impressive Dutch Reformed Church which dominates the town was built in 1895 and upgraded in 1924. It was declared a National Heritage Site in 1987.

Alexandria has a warm temperate climate and is unusual in southern Africa in having no distinct dry or wet season, with rain received throughout the year. The region is one of the most important chicory producing areas in South Africa and is also known for pineapple production and dairy farming. The Alexandria area also includes the Alexandria State Forest, known as Langebos to the locals, which is a narrow stretch of pristine indigenous forest bordering the Alexandria dune field, one of the largest active dune fields in the world. The Woody Cape Nature Reserve, which stretches from the Sundays River mouth to the Bushman’s River mouth and includes the dune field and the indigenous forest, has been incorporated into the Addo Elephant National Park.

Follow Alexandria on Facebook

Nieu-Bethesda’s Stone Folk

The Stone Folk is a new permanent outdoor installation of stone figures are carefully placed in the landscape of Ongeluksloot, on the farm Doornberg, outside the village of Nieu Bethesda in the Karoo Heartland. The Stone Folk are sculptures from rocks in the area masterfully created by Ryno Greeff and inspired by the stone figures placed in Kaokoland in Namibia as well as “The Dance” by Marcella de Boom outside Loxton. Currently there are 10 stone sculptures placed in the beautiful Karoo landscape .

You’ll find the Stone Folk about 7km outside Nieu-Bethesda. Go through the farm gate with the small sign “Ongeluksloot” and drive to the end of the track, leave your vehicle and proceed on foot. Follow the foot path past the first stone man and to your right. This is a circular route of less than 1 km. The idea is to move through the landscape and position oneself so that you can view the Stone Folk against the sky. Watch the Stone Folk carefully to see how the perspective of each figure changes as you move around. Sometimes the Stone Folk are revealed and sometimes they are one with the Valley and hard to spot.

What else to see around Nieu-Bethesda

The Martello Tower in Fort Beaufort

Fort Beaufort was founded in 1822, when a frontier post was established by Lt. Col Scott and named Fort Beaufort to honour the Duke of Beaufort, father of Lord Charles Henry Somerset. The town itself was established in 1837 and the British army occupied Fort Beaufort until 1870.

The Martello Tower in Fort Beaufort is a little garrison dating back to the nineteenth century during the Napoleonic Wars. Many Martello’s were built in several different countries, with only three of them being in South Africa, the others being in Cape Town and Simon’s Town. The Fort Beaufort Martello is the only one in the world that was not built near the sea. Usually a Martello tower has two levels and is about 12 meters high and consists of a battalion with an officer and 15 to 25 men. This round structure was made of thick stone walls with a flat topped roof with space for artillery that had 360 degrees movement in order to protect the fort.

Martello’s became outdated when powerful rifles weaponry came into use. In Fort Beaufort, The Martello was flanked by another building which has now become a museum displaying military items and exhibiting a wealth of history. The museum unfortunately was gutted by a raging fire in March 2021.


SANParks will be hosting the 16th annual SA National Parks Week from 22 to 28 November 2021. The free access will only be valid until Friday 26 November at the following national parks – Addo, Kgalagadi, Kruger and the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park.

SA National Parks Week is an annual campaign that gives all South African citizens the opportunity to enter most of the parks managed by SANParks for free, with the exclusion of Boulders section at Table Mountain National Park as well as accommodation facilities and tourist activities.

Discover the #AmazingAddo region

Open up to Nelson Mandela Bay

Open up to Nelson Mandela Bay
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