A Quick Escape to the Makana Region

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Friday, 11th June 2021

Are you up for a short, adventurous self drive journey close to home that will fit into your busy schedule and is perfect for your personal prefrences during this Covid-19 pandemic? Check out this micro-trip to Makhanda and surrounds that is filled with all sorts of activity to get you outdoors, relaxing and recharged.

Here is three day itinerary to give you some ideas on what to do during your visit in Makana:

Day One

Arrive in the Makana region and check into your accommodation. Click here for some accommodation options.

Take a walking tour throughout the City of Makhanda:

Visit the Makana Tourism office on 63 High Street for information on walking tours and discover historical and architectural gems. One of the brief walking tours focuses on the historic heart of Makhanda and starts off with the Observatory Museum. Here, you will find the only genuine Victorian camera obscura in Southern Africa and is such a great way of viewing the City. While you are at the Museum, don’t miss out on some of the other historic treasures such as the Meridian room, Diamond Gallery, open clock-works, fine Victorian furnishings and a relaxing garden. For information on visiting times, contact the Observatory Museum on 046 622 2312.

This walking tour ends off at the Cathedral of St Michael and St George. The Cathedral is home of the Anglican Diocese of Makhanda and is situated at the intersection of High Street and Hill Street. The interior of the Cathedral will tell a story of many generations that had a hand in building this iconic structure – taking a period of 160 years to complete. A brochure of the full history is available to you upon entrance into the Cathedral.

Later on the day, you can take a gentle drive into the township for lunch at the local taverns, tshisa nyamas and eating houses to get the complete and authentic experience of Makhanda.

To wrap up the day, enjoy sundowners at beautiful and trendy Major Fraser’s Craft Bar and Eatery: www.oppositethearch.co.za/major-frasers.

After grabbing dinner at your accommodation establishment, pop into Graham Hotel’s Pothole and Donkey Restaurant and Cocktail Bar for tasty cocktails and live entertainment

Day Two

Enjoy your breakfast and then take a drive to Riebeek East, a mere 39 km west of Makhanda, to visit the quaint village’s historic church.

The caretaker for the historic Riebeek East church, Gavin Blamire is always happy to give visitors a guided walk of the church which holds special significance in the History of the Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (Dutch Reform Church) in South Africa. You can contact Gavin Blamire on: lesikagrab@gmail.com

On your way back from Riebeek East, make a turn to Temba Private Game Reserve and visit Temba Lodge, a luxury farmhouse originally belonging to Piet Retief. It is situated 12km outside Makhanda in a game reserve ideal for bird watching, hiking and game drives.

To wind down from the morning and afternoon activity, you could hike up to Mountain Drive, an 8 km dirt/gravel road and family friendly trail located near Makhanda and thereafter visit the Astronomical Toposcope on Gunfire Hill in front of the 1820 Settlers’ National Monument. It shows the cardinal points and positions for the rising of certain constellations. There are markers in the various directions showing directions to various towns. It is covered and has cement seating and is suitable for a picnic site. There are also braai facilities, but care should be taken when it is windy. There is even an access ramp for wheelchairs!

Alternatively, visit the Manley Flats Community Trails for a day of nature walk trail running and cycling. The trails are open every day throughout the year. Day fees are R30 per person (R15 for children) and a year fee with unlimited use is R100 per person. All income derived from the Manley Flats Community Trails are directed to their local community. Therefore, your money helps to feed their elderly and children. For more information, you can contact the Manley Flats Community Trails on 072 151 0519 or visit their Facebook Page.

For sundowners, visit Olde65, our neighbourhood bar offering great food, wine, cocktails, craft beers, music & live sport. For more information contact: 083 221 3446 or click here for more information.

Dinner and overnight at your accommodation establishment.

Day Three

Consider checking out of the accommodation establishment earlier to have your breakfast at the coast with Halyards Hotel and Spa, just less than an hour from Makhanda.

Contact the Hotel reception for daycation packages or tailor-make your own package so you can get a taste of everything that the River Hotels Group has on offer! Here is an example of a tailor-made daycation at Halyards Hotel & Spa:

09h00 Arrive at Halyards Hotel & Spa

A la carte breakfast to be served at the bar or on the pooldeck.

10:00 Boat cruise to Mansfield Game Reserve

11:00 Game drive, and thereafter, return cruise to Halyards Hotel & Spa.

12:30 A la carte lunch in the bar at Halyards Hotel & Spa

14:00 -15:00  Spa treatments at River Spa

Alternately if you are heading back to Port Elizabeth you may want to pop into Pumba Private Game Reserve. There, you can encounter free roaming wildlife, reconnect with nature and create memories that will last you a lifetime in complete luxury!

For those with limited time, Pumba offers a wonderful Day Safari package at a special rate for South African residents. Being just an hour from Port Elizabeth, it is an experience you don’t want to miss. You can expect an all-inclusive African adventure featuring a game drive, lunch and local beverages for only R985 per person.

For bookings contact Big 5 Day Safari - Central Reservations: Tel: +27 (0) 41 502 3050 Email: reservations@pehg.co.za Special valid until 30 September 2021. Terms and conditions apply

If you have a bit more time available to you for an overnight visit, you can also consider joining Pumba on an all-inclusive adventure at only R2 995 per person, sharing per night and get:

• Luxury accommodation• All meals• Selected beverages• Two game drives.

For bookings contact: Big 5 Day Safari - Central Reservations: Tel: +27 (0) 41 502 3050 Email: reservations@pehg.co.za

Disclaimer:

Information in this article may change without notice.

Should you wish to visit any of the Museums in Makhanda, please make contact with them first to confirm visiting times as they will differ during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

Please note that there is always a risk attached to outdoor activities. The use of any of the trails mentioned in this article or Makana Tourism website is done at your own risk. Please exercise caution and familiarise yourself with the necessary skills for safe walking, running or cycling on the trails especially during unpredictable weather conditions and when coming into contact with wildlife such as baboons or snakes.

Photo credit: Albany Museum

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