Africa’s Festival Capital - six national events are celebrated here each year - is fondly known as the City of Saints, with more than 40 places of worship. It is the centre of Frontier Country, where Khoi, Xhosa, Boer and British people met and left their mark.
Makhanda (Grahamstown) lies in a temperate valley between the Eastern Cape’s coastal plain and its hinterland. Its position 60km from the coast and 535m above sea level endows it with a mild climate that is nevertheless famous for its changeability - Grahamstonians boast that you can experience all four seasons in a single day.
The city’s pride is its cultural and educational heritage, evident in the care taken in the preservation and enhancement of its valuable historical buildings.
The broad, tree-lined streets and imposing public buildings are the legacy of a time when Grahamstown was the Cape’s second most important city. Monuments and places of worship, the world-renowned Rhodes University and several excellent schools all testify to the variety of cultures that co-exist here.
Of all its festivals, the largest and most famous is the National Arts Festival. Held in July every year, it celebrates the best in South African and imported talent and regularly attracts more than 30 000 festinos who come to enjoy more than 500 shows - everything from opera to jazz and comedy to drama - as well as a huge diversity of other creative disciplines.
Grahamstown offers a wide range of accommodation, conference and performance venues. Being both a university town and a tourist destination, at the heart of the Eastern Cape’s big game country, it is also a great place for entertainment and adventure. Above all, it is a hospitable and friendly place, a small city with a big heart.