Lady Grey, “the Village in the Mountains” lies tucked away in a valley below the Witteberg Mountains. The town was established in 1858, by the Dutch Reformed Church and named after the wife of Sir George Grey, Governor of the Cape Colony. A trip along Joubert Pass, the country’s third highest pass, affords magnificent views of the woods, the river and the majestic mountains.
Fishing, 4×4, hunting, mountaineering: Abseiling, mountain climbing, mountain biking, 4×4 trails, fly- and trout-fishing and hunting are all popular activities in the area.
Lammergeier Hiking Trail: This 60-km circular route through the Witteberg Mountains takes three days to complete and follows the route used by horse-and donkey-trading caravans from Lesotho. The first overnight stop is at the top of a magnificent valley near the border. On the second day the trail passes mountain streams, waterfalls and valleys to Burnet Farm House. From here hikers have the choice of following one of the two shorter routes back to the base camp or the longer, more scenic route back to Lady Grey.
Sethunzini Hiking and Horse Riding Trail: This 60-km guided trail joins the Lammergeier Trail but has its own spectacular scenery and attractions, such as the impressive Karringmelk Canyon, San rock paintings and waterfalls. Accommodation on the trail is very comfortable and trails vary from weekender to three-day/four-night or four-day/three-night trails.
Wartrail Mountain Trail: Take the three-day backpacking trail through the mountains in the Lady Grey district or the one-day Rock Art Trail, with an overnight stop in the Septon Ancestral Cave.
Archaeology And Palaeontology
Fossils: The area around Lady Grey has rich fossil beds and many San rock art sites, mostly on private farms.
San rock art at Bultfontein: Hike or drive to this site with paintings depicting rhino, eland, reebok, baboon and a ”man” with a fish head.
San rock art at Eastern Cape Mountain Safaris: Situated on an active sheep and cattle farm stocked with game, the various sites mainly depict eland.
San rock art at Lammermoor: View this well-preserved site with its San pictures of elephants and reebok.
Entertainment And Shopping
The Old Gaol: For accommodation with a difference spend the night “behind bars” at the uniquely restored old gaol.
The Steam Train Reverses: For a unique ride, board the old steam train huffing and puffing its way on the “reverse” railway branch line between Lady Grey and Barkly East. Shake your head in wonder at the tunnel built for a bridge that was never erected and pass by several stone arch bridges. Above all, do not be surprised when the train has to reverse down some of the steeper mountain slopes.
Fauna And Flora
Aloe Nature Reserve: Follow the trail through the reserve to study these unique succulents from close up.
Karringmelk Cape Vulture Sanctuary: This sanctuary was established to conserve the endangered Cape vulture. Take time to visit this reserve and see for yourself why vultures are such fascinating birds.
Lady Grey Dam and Nature Reserve: Follow the lovely scenic drive meandering through the forested areas east of the town to reach the two reservoirs situated at the head of a pretty gorge. This is a popular venue for picnics, swimming and trout-fishing.
Lammergeier Private Nature Reserve: The Lammergeier Reserve is a holistically-managed 800 ha private reserve in the Witteberge. The endangered lammergeier (bearded vulture) has given the reserve its name and shares the skies with the majestic black eagle and the Cape vulture. Other popular attractions include the beautiful wild flowers in the reserve, the game and other species of birds. Adventure opportunities such as trout-fishing, hiking, mountain biking, tubing and swimming, as well as 4×4 trails are on offer.
History And Architecture
Anglo-Boer War sites: Several Anglo-Boer War battles were fought in the area and these sites can be visited.
“Footsteps into the Past” Trail: This interesting trail leads visitors past all the town’s historic sites.
Old Water Mill: The mill dates back to the time when the town was first established. Several hand pumps and furrows can be seen.
Powder Magazine: See the old powder magazine, used during the Anglo-Boer War, at the town’s Show Grounds.