The N6 Route - East London to Thomas River

Road trippin'

The N6 Route - East London to Thomas River

From Buffalo City, it’s only a short trip to Stutterheim but there is much to see and do for the whole family while the outdoor adventurer in particular is more likely to get the best out of the region with its many outdoor activities and places to stay.

The highway is in good condition with plenty of farmlands on both sides of the road, right through to Thomas River. 

Calgary Transport Museum 

Not too far along the N6 stands the Calgary Transport Museum, home to a fine collection of old carts, wagons and handcarts as well as a gypsy caravan, a tack room and a wheelwright’s workshop and forge. Time virtually stands still as one views these old methods of travel. Open daily 9am to 4pm.  Call 043 7244 for more information.

Lion Park 

Children will enjoy cuddling a lion or tiger cub while the older lions can be viewed from a raised wooden deck. Other animals to be viewed are deer, meerkats, cheetahs and wild dogs as well as a crocodile. On Sundays feeding time for the lions is at 1pm. Giant tortoises and rabbits roam around freely. See www.thelionpark.co.za.

Touch Farms 

The Burnside Touch Farm is situated 8km along the N6. Drivers turn off at the Nahoon Valley sign. There are four-wheeler cart rides, fishing, paintball games and teas are also served. About 10km along the N6, turning left at Dewpoint Road, is Mels Fun Farm which is a venue for children’s birthday parties or school outings. Booking is essential.

Lindale Farm is open by appointment only. There are monkeys,  dassies, squirrels, mongeese, bunnies and guinea pigs as well as 41 bird aviaries, pheasant and duck enclosures, African parrots and leopard tortoises.

Python Park 

Many different species of snakes are on view, including cobras, pythons and boas. There are two pub-like eateries, one called the Rattler Pub & Grub while the Caddy Shack offers conference facilities, a pub and delicious food,  and overlooks a brand-new nine-hole Mashie golf course. Night games of golf using a ball that glows after being struck is proving popular. Various buck graze away while being spectators to this strange game of getting a small ball down what appears to be a smaller hole!

Recently a magnificent wedding venue was added to the site.  Call 082 410 1852 for more information.

Mpongo Park 

Situated about 35km from the city, the Huberta Restaurant, named after a nomadic hippo who wandered the area in the late 1920s, has a variety of tasty dishes on offer, and patrons are able to drive around the park with a game ranger to view a wide variety of animals. These include elephants, lions, giraffe, wild boar and a variety of buck.

Wriggleswade Dam 

Not too far from Stutterheim is the Wriggleswade Dam, a veritable paradise for fishermen. It lies nestled between the rolling grasslands of the Amabele farming area and stretches over a distance of 17km. Boating and water sports are also available. Bass, carp and bluegill fish can be caught here.  There is a great camping site. The Merrifield Mile swim race is held here annually.

Stutterheim 

The town has a rich history. Missionaries, German settlers and English colonists developed the town and in 1878 the railway line was completed between East London and Stutterheim. This led to significant growth and economic development in and around the town. Today Stutterheim is part of the Amahlati Local Municipality and due to its rainfall is a flourishing forestry centre. There are picturesque hiking trails and cool, crisp mountain streams. Cattle and sheep farms produce beef, dairy products, wool as well as citrus fruit. 

The Stutterheim Country Club is renowned for one of best rural golf courses and also hosts exciting events from time to time, including cycle and motor vehicle rallies. Open Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays for lunch and dinner.

In town the Vinkel & Koljander shop run by Melanie Kemp is interesting with a coffee shop to one side, a little nursery behind, while inside various artworks and clothing are available.

Stutterheim has some wonderful accommodation venues. The Manderson Hotel & Conference Centre is situated at the foot of the forested Amathole Mountains and has three conference venues. The restaurant offers hearty daily meals and country pub facilities as well as Sunday lunches. 

 The Hornbills Forest Cottages offer self-catering cottages as well as bed and breakfast facilities. Children will delight in exploring the forests close by. Bird-watching is very good with sightings of the Cape parrot.

The Forest Way Outdoor Outreach caters mainly for the younger set. Groups from schools regularly attend and are able to enjoy various challenges on offer such as archery, abseiling and hiking through the beautiful forest areas.

Every three months the Stutterheim Farmers’ Crafts and Arts Market is run from Eagles Ridge Country House, situated at the foothills of the Amathole Mountains.  

Kologha Forest 

The slopes of the Amathola Mountains are densely covered in forests of yellowwoods, white stinkwoods, Cape chestnuts and other indigenous trees. There are well-marked forest trails with a wheelchair-friendly boardwalk that leads to a magnificent waterfall.

Gubu Dam 

The nearby Gubu Dam is stocked with brown and rainbow trout and although no power boats are allowed on the water, sailing and kayaking are permitted. 

Thomas River 

Travel out of Stutterheim towards Cathcart and then turn left towards the Thomas River Historical Village which dates back to 2003 after passionate restoration by Jeff and Ann Sansom.

The name goes back to 1801 and was named after an English deserter, Thomas Bentley, who was killed by a poisoned Bushman arrow while crossing the river and according to history the late Mr Bentley gave the river and consequently the area its name.

The village has a private library, a wagon museum, a pub museum and a motor museum while the Ramble Restaurant caters for all types of meals.

The area is famous for its friendliness and hospitality. Accommodation varies, with bed & breakfasts, self-catering cottages, camping sites as well as luxurious homesteads. See

www.thomasriver.com/accommodation.

 

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