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South Africa

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The Amathole Museum, King Williams Town

Founded in 1884, the Amathole Museum in King Williams town is a Natural and Cultural History Museum that has worldwide recognition. It is also one of the oldest museums in South Africa.

Exhibits include the second largest collection of stuffed mammals in SA and The Xhosa Gallery – excellent displays that tell the story of the Xhosa nation of Southern Africa and contains documents,  photographs and artefacts dating back to the 1800’s as well as a display on the great 19th Century  Xhosa warrior Naqoma. Other exhibits detail the history of King Williams Town and modern cultural aspects.

However, it is probably the story of Huberta the Travelling Hippo that has the most appeal. This exhibit tells the life story of a female Hippo who for no apparent reason left her wetland home in St Lucia in the 1920’s and journeyed across the Eastern Cape all by herself, getting a name and considerable celebrity along the way. Huberta was particularly revered by the Xhosa and Zulu people. Sadly, she was shot by hunters after reaching East London, but her body was sent to a taxidermist in London, and today she stands in the Amathole Museum, presiding over her fame and the inspiration provided by her extraordinary journey. A children’s book has even been written about her!

For more info on the museum

Getting there: The Amathole Museum is located at the corner of Cross and Berkeley St (extending from Amatola Row) in the northern section of King Williams Town.

More info on the town of King Williams Town More info on the Amatola Region

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