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South Africa

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King Williams Town, Eastern Cape

Part of the Buffalo City Metro, King Williams Town is situated in the Amatola Region of the Eastern Cape coastal interior on the banks of the Buffalo River.

King Williams Town is famous for its very European Heritage architecture, churches and monuments. The town has a distinct history and a part British, part German colonial heritage that it shares in full or in part with some other Eastern Cape towns and cities such as Grahamstown and East London, but its smaller size makes its heritage value stand out a little more. It’s a small town that you could walk around quite easily, taking in the beautiful old stone buildings and churches, many of which were built by missionaries  during the so-called ‘Frontier Wars’ between the British and the Xhosa Nation in the early 1800’s.

Famous Struggle Martyr and leader of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa, Steve Biko is buried just outside the town, outside of the township suburb of Ginsburg where he was born. Formerly the Ginsburg Cemetery, his resting place has been renamed the Steve Biko Garden of Remembrance in honour of this great man and his place in South Africa’s history.

Along with neighbouring Bisho, King Williams Town is the administrative capital of the Eastern Cape, but the beauty of its architecture, the jacaranda lined streets, its small size and the beauty of the surrounding countryside and the nearby Amatola Mountains has attracted an artistic and intellectual population.

Besides the many building and churches, attractions in King Williams Town include The Amathole Museum and the Botanical Gardens.

Attractions and activities around King Williams Town include the 6 day Amatola Hiking Trail between King Williams Town and Hogsback (note – group and unguided – one way to Hogsback), and fishing and watersports at the Rooikrans and Maden Dams (the starting point for the Amatola Trail), or at Keiskammahoek in the mountains.


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