The southern-most town of the Karoo heartland, Uitenhage lies at the foot of the Winterhoek Mountains, dominated by the distinctive peaks of the Cockscomb Mountains. The town has managed to successfully combine the attractive colonial beauty of its past with its industrial present. Uitenhage has several magnificent parks and educational museums.
The town was established in 1804 when the Commissary-General of the Batavian Republic, Jacob Uitenhage de Mist, formed a magistracy on the banks of the Swartkops River. Today, many industries can be found in this attractive town, notably the automotive industry.
Adventure And Sport
Hiking, mountaineering, kloofing: There are several opportunities in the area for various types of adventure activities, e.g. the Groendal Wilderness Area and the Uitenhage Nature Reserve.
Springs Pleasure Resort: Situated in the centre of the Uitenhage Nature Reserve with its many walks and trails, this resort with its natural spring offers opportunities for relaxation in beautiful surroundings.
Fauna And Flora
Groendal Wilderness Area: The area is close by and encompasses all the unspoilt beauty of the indigenous plant- and wildlife of the mountains, forests and valleys. Various hiking trails traverse the area and there are also kloofing and mountaineering options to choose from.
Parks: Uitenhage has two parks that are renowned for the richness of their plant life. Beautiful Magennis Park offers a profusion of dahlias, an aviary and an ornamental fountain and Strelitzia Park is home to a rich variety of species of bird and indigenous strelitzias.
Uitenhage Nature Reserve: Hiking, bird watching and swimming are popular pastimes in the Uitenhage Nature Reserve. The nature reserve also has accommodation facilities.
History And Architecture
Cannon Hill Park Observation Tower: The observation tower was built to commemorate the coronation of King George VI. The elaborate main gate commemorates the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Cuyler Manor Farm Museum: Cuyler Manor, once the residency of the first magistrate, is a beautifully preserved period house of the early nineteenth century that belonged to the Cuyler family. The museum features a watermill, herb garden and mohair farm. Take tea at the restaurant and watch demonstrations of various old-style farming activities. The annual Prickly Pear Festival is held here.
Historical Buildings: The Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1843 in a striking classical style and the elegant Town Hall finished in 1892. Both have been declared national monuments. Other buildings and places of architectural interest include, Centenary Square, the Victoria Tower, Heugh Slave House, Scheeper’s House (the town was established on Gert Scheepers’ farm, which Uitenhage de Mist purchased), and the old Riebeeck College.
Old Drostdy: For a taste of both the old and the new, come and take a look at the collection of Volkswagen cars on exhibition behind the graceful, gabled facade of the Old Drostdy. The Volkswagen Museum focuses on the history of the automotive industry and the Africana Museum depicts the town’s history.
Railway Museum: The old Railway Station, reputed to be the oldest in South Africa, resembles an intricate Victorian Dolls’ House and is now a museum. It houses exhibits on the town’s rail transport history and its displays include vintage steam trains and period furniture.
War Memorials: Memorials include the Cenotaph, Garden of Remembrance, Cannon Hill, and the Anglo-Boer Memorial drinking fountain.