From Qunu to King Williamstown. This is a place where many of anti-apartheid firebrands hail from; two of the most remarkable being Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela.
The Eastern Cape bears the unmistakable scars of 100 years of frontier warfare which shaped the history and the cultural makeup of the Eastern Cape.
Unsurprisingly, retracing the footsteps of the men and women who were involved in this bloody period of colonialism and conquest has become a wonderful spot for history buffs to explore and to unpack.
Situated in the centre of this frontier heartland is Buffalo City which has become the natural point of departure which holds the promise of discovery with numerous dedicated battlefield tours that depart from here – rigorous enough to satisfy the most discerning military or history enthusiasts, crisscrossing the most beautiful terrain that Africa has to offer.
A must see are the historical cities and towns such as Grahamstown and Fort Beaufort which once housed one of the largest British military establishments in the southern hemisphere. Battlefield tours are a window into a bygone era of conquest and expansion and are steeped in the mainstays of war, brutality and subjugation, but they also add a fascinating glimpse into the lives of ordinary folk that were caught up in extraordinary circumstances as is the case of all wars and battles.
What makes this region’s history so unique is the erosive and sinister nature of the battles and the massive consequences it had on South Africa as a whole.
The War of the Axe and Mlangeni’s War assisted in shaping the very fabric of the region which is now known as East London – an important military port of South Africa.
The natural beauty of the Eastern Cape is awash with an overabundance of local fauna and flora, and is set against some of the most exquisite landscapes in SA; a guarantee that the battlefield routes are a sensory delight as well as a heritage pilgrimage to all those that visit this area.