Encounter the Eastern Cape Travel Mailer – September 2023


Spring is in the air. Take a moment and smell the fresh air while you read a little bit about our beautiful province. Welcome to the September 2023 issue of Firefly the Travel Guy’s Encounter the Eastern Cape Travel Mailer. This month we look at the following:

  • 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

  • Did you know there are ancient earthquake fault lines in Port Elizabeth?

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

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Olive Schreiner House Museum

Schreiner House Museum in Cradock

Olive Schreiner (1855-1920) was a political activist, feminist and author of the world-renowned novel, The Story of an African Farm. Schreiner House is one of the oldest dwellings still standing in Cradock and contains Olive’s personal library and that of her husband Cronwright, exhibitions depicting her life, antique furniture, and copies of all the books she wrote. The bookshop at the Schreiner House sells a wide variety of books, including Schreiner’s most celebrated work, The Story of an African Farm, as well as other books by and about her.

Olive Schreiner first moved to Cradock in 1867 to live with her siblings when she was 12. Olive returned to the Cradock area some years later when she worked as a governess on some farms in the district, during which time she started to write The Story of an African Farm. Her ties with Cradock were strengthened in 1894 when she married Samuel “Cron” Cronwright, who at the time farmed Krantzplaas. Her attachment to the district is evidenced by her desire to be buried on Buffelskop, south of Cradock, where in 1921 she was re-interred.

Read more about the Olive Schreiner House Museum

The Loerie Trail in the Tsitsikamma National Park

The Loerie Trail in the Tsitsikamma

The Loerie Trail is a 1.8km circular trail in the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park.

The trail starts a short distance from the restaurant and the first section is the same path as the Blue Duiker Trail. After a brief uphill climb the trail emerges onto a plateau where visitors will find the Agulhas lookout point. The deck has a stunning view of the ocean and coastline and is the perfect spot to watch whales in winter. From here the trail passes through a short section of fynbos, before continuing through the spectacular coastal forest.

Things to do and places to stay in the Tsitsikamma

Mazeppa Bay on the Wild Coast

Mazeppa Bay's suspension bridge

Mazeppa Bay and its village on the Wild Coast were named after the Mazeppa ship that ran aground here in 1892. The schooner in turn was named after the Ukrainian patriot Ivan Mazeppa (1639–1709). After the publication of Byron’s poem Mazeppa in May 1819 it became common to name boats Mazeppa as a symbol of speed. During the Second World War, an aircraft crashed onto the rocky beach in a failed attempt at an emergency landing. The rocks, now known as One Mile rocks, have become a popular historical place for people to visit on a walk along One Mile beach.

Another popular place to visit here is Mazeppa Bay’s very own island. The island, an attractive outcrop of offshore rock connected to the mainland by a suspension bridge, is famous in this region as it is the attraction for which Mazeppa Bay is characterised. The unspoilt beaches here (which is characteristic of the entire Wild Coast) also add to charm that can only be experienced in little places of coastal paradise like this one.

The Eastern Cape’s premier day hiking and mountain biking trails

3Rivers Trails

3Rivers Trails is an organisation which is dedicated to bringing quality mountain biking, trail running and hiking trails to the greater Thornhill region. The trail network has been in operation for seven years with trails being built and maintained on the properties of Crossways Farm Village, Bluegums Farm, Jbay Bike Park, Longmore Forest and Woodridge College.  3Rivers operates approximately 200 km of trails, 60km of which are single track while the rest is gravel road and jeep track.


The trails start at Crossways Farm Village and Jbay Bike Park and is open from sunrise to sunset, operating every day. Day permits are available at the trailheads while annual permits can also be obtained. Some of the trails pass sites like the Van Stadens narrow gauge bridge, Lower Van Stadens Dam, the Van Stadens trig beacon and the Longmore Forest.  

3Rivers Trails

Ancient earthquake fault lines in Port Elizabeth

Ancient earthquake fault lines in Port Elizabeth

Have you ever wondered why the road at the bottom of Valley Road in Port Elizabeth is always wet even if it hasn’t been raining?  Well, here is the answer why.

Port Elizabeth isn’t really known for it’s earth quakes, but that doesn’t mean that it’s never happened. There are three ancient fault lines in Port Elizabeth where some slight movements can still occur. One of them, the Moregrove Fault, runs along the Port Elizabeth beachfront from Pollok Beach, Summerstrand, along the shoreline, through the Baakens Valley and ending at the Moregrove quarry near the Kragga Kamma interchange.  Another, the so-called Chelsea- Noordhoek Fault, runs parallel to the Schoenmakerskop coast, while a third fault runs in the Coega area.

In some places in the Baakens Valley the quartzite rocks of the Moregrove Fault is visible.  The old sandstones have been heated to such an extent that all the grains interlock, making it a very hard rock. One side of the rock has dropped down relative to the other as a consequence of Pangea breaking up and the formation of the super-continent Gondwana.  Its this drop that has formed the fault.  The water which continually runs across Lower Valley Road near the old PE Tramways building is underground water seeping to the surface through the Moregrove fault.  This fresh water used to flow into the fresh water lagoon that was situated at the mouth of the Baakens River.  The lagoon was filled in at some stage and the river contained in a channel which is only about two meters wide at this point today.  The water now forms a vlei area next to the cliff before flowing over the road and trickling down to the river.

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