Queenstown, known for its spectacular displays of roses, mild climate and picturesque scenery; was initially established as a military outpost served to protect townsfolk. It received its name in 1853 after a British General by the name of Sir George Cathcart, explored the area and was so entranced by its beauty and pleasing nature, that he named the town after the queen herself.
The heart of the town is characterized by age-old, colonial-style buildings and churches, historical features that were built at the turn of the century, at the height of Queen Victoria’s reign. What’s all the more impressive is that these buildings have remained largely intact since they were originally constructed; making a walk down the Main Street akin to travelling back in time.
While Queenstown is a original frontier cottage, favoured stopover for travellers en route to the Wild Coast and the Karoo heartland, it is also a haven for nature lovers and outdoorsmen. There is a myriad of activities to take part in, all of which will grant you some fresh air and won’t cost you a pretty penny. The Lawrence de Lange Reserve allows visitors to embark on various trails either on foot or peddling around on a bike. If you’re a mountaineer looking for a challenge, a trek up to the Madeira Mountain Summit rewards you with panoramic views of the district. There are also game viewing opportunities, where a range of animals can be spotted if you keep your eyes peeled. The park is home to various species of antelope, including blesbok and springbok, while herds of zebra can also be found grazing in the open savannahs.
During the summer months when it’s too hot to partake in any sort of strenuous activity, take a trip out to the Bongolo dam. Here you’ll be able to enjoy a refreshing swim or a lazy paddle in a canoe. On the weekends, the dam is a hive of activity as families relax around the water’s edge while nibbling on a picnic lunch.
Following a day of basking in the sun and outdoor adventure, tourists can enjoy a relaxing night stay at one of the hotels in the area. Not only do these establishments provide you with all the facilities and comfort you might need, but accommodation is cheap for those not wanting to dig too deeply into their pockets.
Those wanting to learn more about how the town came into being can do so at the Queenstown Frontier Museum. The museum gives visitors an illustrious account of the history of Queenstown and includes an original frontier cottage, various exhibits and a collection of traditional beadwork.
With the town being dubbed as the ‘rose capital of the world’, a visit to the Walter Everitt Sunken Gardens should form part of every holidaymaker’s itinerary. The gardens were named after the park’s former superintendent, who was responsible for and who so lovingly maintained the grounds. Here you’ll see colourful tapestries of rose varietals and many other types of flowers.
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