In 1853, at the end of the Eighth Frontier War, Sir George Cathcart, Governor of the Cape, founded Queenstown when a new administrative centre and military outpost was needed. The town, situated on the banks of the Komani River, was named after Queen Victoria. It was laid out with a central piazza from which all the streets radiated so that cannon or rifle fire could be directed down the six radiating thoroughfares because, although the war had ended, the mood of the inhabitants was still geared towards survival. Today, Queenstown is renowned for its beautiful roses and as an important commercial and administrative centre.
Adventure And Sport
Water sport: Bongolo Dam, fed by the Komani River, offers excellent recreational facilities.
Archaeology And Palaeontology
San rock art: Some of the country’s most fascinating examples of San rock art can be seen at various sites in the area. Contact the local tourism office for more information.
Art And Crafts
JC Marshall Art Gallery: Local art and some excellent private collections are on view at the JC Marshall Art Gallery.
History And Architecture
Anglican Church: The St Michael’s and All Angels’ Anglican Church is an imposing piece of architecture that certainly merits a visit.
City Hall: Queenstown’s City Hall dates back to 1882 and is a lovely example of the architecture of that time.
Frontier Museum: This lovely museum, considered one of the ten best small town museums in the country, gives an insightful overview of local Settler history. The old Settler cottage is part of the exhibits and the museum also has a fine collection of beadwork.
Library: The book collections of Sir William Bisset Berry, the town’s first mayor and Member of Parliament for Queenstown and of Rev Charles Pettman, a highly-respected Methodist minister and linguist, are on view at the local library.
Queenstown Collector’s Museum: The museum focuses on an unusual subject matter, that is, people’s pastimes. It exhibits up to 40 different hobbies. The Ruth Lock shell art collection is only one of the many.
Fauna And Flora
Lawrence de Lange Nature Reserve: The reserve is situated near Queenstown and is home to the indigenous plant species Aloe ferox, and the tamboekie thornbush (“wag-‘n-bietjie”). The aloes present a lovely sight when in full bloom during the winter months. Many types of game can also be seen in the reserve.
Longhill Nature Reserve: The reserve lies on the northern boundary of the town. Several species of game are found here as well as many cycads, often referred to as “living fossils”. Longhill also has several picnic spots that offer lovely views of the town.