Bathurst, with its oak-lined streets, is a typical example of a Settler town and is thus a very popular historical tourism destination. British tourists have likened the town to a typical hamlet in the English Cotswolds. The town was named after the British Colonial Secretary of the time, Lord Bathurst. Originally, Bathurst was to have been the seat of the magistracy in the new Settler district of Albany but the honour went to Grahamstown instead. Today, Bathurst is the centre of the fruit-farming community. Pineapples are the region’s main product.
Adventure And Sport
Hiking: There are numerous hiking trails along the Kowie River and further inland to the Sarel Hayward Dam and in the Waters Meeting Nature Reserve.
Entertainment And Shopping
Big Pineapple Country House and Conference Centre: Situated on an 1820 Settler farm just outside the town, the centre is indicated by a 16,7-m-high fibreglass replica of a pineapple, the area’s principal crop. The farm has a renovated barn housing a pub, coffee shop and gift shop. Visitors may climb to the top of the Big Pineapple for a scenic view of Bathurst.
The Curiosity Shoppe: The shop offers an old-style shopping experience, allowing the visitor to browse through the shelves of curios, sweets, collectables and objets d’art.
History And Architecture
Anglican and Methodist Churches: Typical examples of 1820 Settler architecture, the churches served as religious institutions and retreats for the British Settlers during the Frontier Wars. St Johns is considered to be the oldest, unaltered Anglican Church in South Africa.
Bathurst Agricultural Museum: The museum exhibits over a thousand farming items typically used by the Settlers. The equipment is no longer in use but is still in working order.
Pig and Whistle Hotel: This, the oldest inn in South Africa, now a national monument, was built in 1831 as the Bathurst Inn and renamed by men of the 43 Air School during the Second World War.
Powder Magazine: Once part of a military post, the magazine dates back to 1821 and is the oldest building in the town.
Samuel Bradshaw Wool Mill: This water-driven mill was built in 1821 by the founder of South Africa’s wool industry. It was modified in 1835 to grind corn and was fully restored in 1976.
Wesleyan Chapel: The chapel was built by Samuel Bradshaw in 1832 and contains the historic Jeremiah Goldswain Family Bible.