Encounter the Eastern Cape Travel Mailer – October 2023


Spring is in the air and the fields are full of flowers. Take a moment and smell the fresh air while you read a little bit about our beautiful province. Welcome to the October 2023 issue of Firefly the Travel Guy’s Encounter the Eastern Cape Travel Mailer.

This month we look at the following:

  • 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

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 jonker@fireflyafrica.co.za

SUBSCRIBE to this Monthly Travel Mailer

Karel Landman Monument

Karel Landman Monument between Nanaga and Alexandria

Very few people driving along the R72 coastal route between Port Elizabeth and East London have ever seen or even know of the Karel Landman monument about halfway between Nanaga and Alexandria.  The only indication that there is a monument up the dirt road is a road sign at the turnoff.  A couple of kilometers up the dirt road one stands in awe though of the magnitude of this monument in the shape of a globe.  Its huge… and kinda in the middle of nowhere. 


At about the centenary of the Great Trek, the idea was initiated for a local monument to commemorate the centenary of the trek from the Eastern Cape by the Voortrekker party under leadership of Karel Landman.  Landman farmed in this area until 1837 and took a party of about 180 trekkers on a trek of 885 kilometers into Natal. He became prominent in several battles with the Zulus and was the second in command of the Boer forces at the pivotal battle of Blood River. The monument was designed by Gerard Moerdijk and erected in 1939

The Churchill Dam near Kareedouw

Churchill Dam overflowing

The Churchill Dam is a multi-arch type dam located on the Krom River near the Langkloof town of Kareedouw. The dam has a capacity of 35 million m³ and a maximum reservoir area of 2,492 km². The dam wall is 43 m high.

Port Elizabeth grew rapidly in the 1930s. George Begg, the City Engineer, suggested building a dam on the Krom, the closest river with plentiful and good-quality water. Although construction began in 1936, it would not be finished until after the end of World War II. In 1942, it was decided to name the dam after Sir Winston Churchill in honor of his prominent role in that war. Churchill was invited to perform the opening of the dam, but declined. General Jan Smuts dedicated it in 1948.

The main purpose of the dam is to supply water to Nelson Mandela Bay.

Churchill Dam wall overflowing

Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast

Coffee Bay beach

Coffee Bay is one of the Wild Coast’s biggest icons and is known for its spectacular surroundings — rock-faced cliffs, rolling hills, and beautiful white sand beaches -, relaxed atmosphere, alternative lifestyle and backpacker culture. The town overlooks a kilometer long beach perfect for surfing, swimming, and sunbathing. The rocky area off the beach’s southern point is home to one of the few consistent surf spots on the Wild Coast. This rock formation is also responsible for some great fishing, feeding the locals and tourists alike. Along the beach you can also find crisscrossed trails that lead to beautiful scenic views through the local villages. You can hike over one of the 3 rivers that empty into the sea of Coffee Bay. You’ll also find secluded beaches along the coastline, or beautiful views up in the hills. Either way, Coffee Bay is not short on it’s hiking adventures. Beyond surfing, fishing, and hiking, the area also offers quad rides, massages, live music, great food and drinks, you name it! The famous Hole in the Wall is also just down the road.

The area got it’s name from a barge that crashed and dumped coffee beans into the bay. These same coffee beans washed up on the shore and germinated, growing coffee trees in the area. Although there are none of these trees left, the name has such stuck. Speak to a local, the history of this area is quite a story and they would love to share! This is a one of a kind place, that will grab your spirit and soul and not let go. Coffee Bay is one of only two Transkei towns that have a tarred road all the way to its doorstep, making it a do not miss on your travels.

Source – https://coffeebay.co.za/

Black Oystercatcher nest

Black Oystercatchers

The African Black Oystercatcher (Haematopus moquini), is only found along the coast of South Africa and Namibia.  They mostly live on rocky shores and feed mainly on mussels and limpets.  Those who live on sandy shores eat sand mussels and the Estuarine Oystercatchers typically eat cockles and pencil-bait.  They mate for life and it is known of pairs that lived together for up to 20 years. Back in 1998 the Black Oystercatcher was considered a threatened species.  A conservation project was started and along with the ban of vehicles on the beaches and an increased food availability (mainly thanks to the rapid spread of the alien Mediterranean Mussel), their numbers are on the rise again.     

Black Oystercatcher nest

They breed once a year and can get very loud if you venture too close to a nest or their young. Even then, you’ll have to look very carefully to see their nest. The camouflage on this nest was amazing. It’s nothing more than a slight hollow in the sand filled with shells and pebbles

The Cockcomb Mountain

Cockscomb Mountain in the Gamtoos Valley at sunruse

At 1 768 m, the Cockscomb is 9th highest mountain peak in the Eastern Cape. Apart from that, its claim to fame during the age of sail was that the mountain acted as a mariners’ landmark as it was visible from the sea. As the local burghers and Khoi never showed any inclination to climb it, it fell to outsiders, usually adventurers, with time on their hands to become the first to do so. The first to climb it was Colonel Robert Jacob Gordon in 1786.

The Cockscomb derives its name from its resemblance to a chicken’s comb. It is situated in the Baviaanskloof region and the nearest town is Patensie. The Cockscomb is part of the Groot Winterhoek range and is visible from Port Elizabeth, Jeffreys Bay and on a clear day all the way from the Valley of Desolation above Graaff-Reinet, 150km away.

Firefly the Travel Guy advert
SUBSCRIBE to this Monthly Travel Mailer
View past Travel Mailers