Switzerland of SA
Barkly East lies nestled between the picturesque mountains of the Southern Drakensberg, between Lady Grey and Elliot in the Eastern Cape. It is one of the highest lying towns in the country at 1 777 metres above sea level.
Despite being a small town, Barkly East has a lot to offer the passing the holiday-maker and virtually guaranteed snowfall in winter, between June and August, is one of the main draw cards to the area and the reason that Barkly East is known as the Switzerland of South Africa. The popular ski resort, Tiffendell, is only 80 km’s from Barkly East.
With hundreds of kilometres of unspoilt, and natural well stocked, rivers and streams, Barkly East also attracts Fly Fishing enthusiasts to this premier destination for trout fishing. Specimens include Brown Trout, Wild Trout and Yellowfish. Summer brings a myriad of outdoor activities from hiking with incredible mountain views and some challenging rock climbing to horse riding, birdwatching and exploring rock art.
All types of accommodation are available in town and the surrounding farms, and includes self-catering cottages, en-suite fully-catered guest houses and camping.
Things to do and see
- Barkly East Museum
- Barkly Pass
- Bottleneck Pass
- Kraai River Pass
- Carlisleshoek Pass
- Carlisleshoek Waterfall
- Kopshorn Hiking Trail
- Kopshorn Cycling Trail
- 4 X 4 Trails
- Birding & River Rafting
- Barkly East Golf Course
Barkly East receives approximately 646 mm of rain annually with most rainfall occurring during Summer.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 10˚C and 25˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between -2˚C and 16˚C.
There are daily flights into East London Airport, approximately 315 km’s away via the N2, and the Bram Fischer International Airport, approximately 329 km’s away via the N6 and R58. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
Like Barkly West, the town of Barkly East is also named after Sir Henry Barkly. Sir Barkly was the Governor of the Cape Colony from 1870 to 1977 and it was in December 1874 that he proclaimed the town of Barkly East.
Mr HS Nel who was the first person that settled in this area, among the other first families to settle in Barkly East were the Nels, Bothas, Smits, Vorsters, Jouberts and Cloete’s of Constantia. The Cloete-Joubert Hospital is a monument for Mr. Piet Joubert by his wife who was a Cloete and daughter of one of the wealthiest cattle farmers in South Africa, CWP Cloete of Glen Almond.
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