Just getting to Rhodes is an exciting adventure in itself, with travellers passing through a host of mountain passes which overlook breath-taking views. Upon reaching their destination, visitors can enjoy tranquil getaways at this tucked-away hamlet.
Rhodes, which is a weekend retreat for town dwellers residing in nearby areas, is located in the Eastern Cape Highlands.
From 1891 to 1897, Rhodes formed part of the Tintern Farm, before it became recognised as a township in its own right with municipal duties and privileges. A local legend who breathed life into the town was the Scottish Cleric turned minister, Richard Ross. It was said that he road into the town on horseback and conducted the Sunday morning service in Afrikaans and English, with much vibrancy and fervour. Rumour has it that Rhodes was formerly called ‘Rossville’ as a token of appreciation for the much-loved dominie. The hamlet received a name change to ‘Rhodes’ after the then minister of the Cape, Cecil John Rhodes.
Visitors will be intrigued by the jumble of architectural styles that are found in the town – from turn-of-the-century residences of the rich traders to the flat-roofed, humble cottages of poor farmers. One building that has stood the test of time is the age-old Rhodes Hotel. Once known as the ‘Horse Shoe Hotel’, it was the local watering hole for the townsmen. The establishment received much ill repute, as revellers were raucous and full of merriment due to the abundance of liquor found on the premises. Alcohol was transported on oxen-wagons from East London through the treacherous mountain passes and brought into Rhodes.
Due to the many popular mountain passes situated in the area, Rhodes is a good base for mountaineers looking to hike and rock climb during the day; and enjoy peaceful night’s rest at the boutique hotels and cosy apartments situated in the area. Naude Nek, which looms above the village, is one such example. Famous for being the highest pass in South Africa, Naude Nek stands tall at a height of 2500m.
Apart from the mountain climbing, Rhodes hosts two major sporting events each year. The first is the 52-kilometre Rhodes trail run, a highly anticipated marathon for the fitness fanatics and professional runners. The second is the Rhodes Mountain Bike Challenge, a race that has been billed as the ‘most extraordinary mountain bike race in the world’. The race is held in October each year and is spans over a distance of 82 kilometres.
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Situated approximately 2500m above sea level Tenahead Lodge is the highest upmarket lodge in South Africa. The only one of its kind, the lodge is hand built by stone masons, Basotho style from rocks a... More Info
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Swallows Nest is newly built self catering unit accommodating 2 people. It is a open plan bedroom, lounge and kitchenette fully equipped for a relaxing and comfortable stay from the busy city life. It... More Info
Winter snow, Summer Green, clear mountain streams, breathe the purest air - Just a taste of what Kinmel Guest Farm has to offer.
Enjoy peace, tranquillity, breath-taking beauty and spectacular views ... More Info
Walkerbouts Inn - Rhodes is a spacious country retreat with comfortable accommodation in 6 bedrooms each with en-suite facilities. We offer fine country cuisine and hospitality in the best traditions ... More Info
Amanzi Empilo means "healing waters" in the native Xhosa language and this is a true description of the bungalow's location. Hidden away around the bends of the Bell river and surrounded by the Southe... More Info
Tucked away in the Eastern Cape Highlands on the border with Lesotho, Rhodes Village - declared a Conservation Area in 1997 - exudes a timeless charm and beauty.
This Victorian-era village is surro... More Info
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Got to come back for longer, wonderful place.
- Tony Cummings
Very nice and quite town still stuck in the early 1800's. Well looked after. Pizzas at Walkerbouts was very good.
- Lee-Roy Pittaway
What a cute town, will be back soon...doing the trail run!
- Sonja Fourie
The Rhodes area is one of the hidden jewels of South African tourism. The area is stunning with something to please everyone who enjoys outdoor activities, the beauty of its surroundings and peace in which to relax and de-stress. Do not expect to find anything but basic needs, this area is for those who can enjoy life without TV, cinemas and shopping malls!!
- Dave Deacon
Rhodes is a very pleasant town with friendly people in a magnificent surrounding. Fly fishing is possible in several rivers and the catch is good. Birding is nice, but a 4 wheel drive is recommended. Our stay up there in the mountains will always remain a pleasant memory.
- Griet nijs