Make the Friendly N6 your companion as you embark on a scenic journey through the farming hub of the Eastern Cape into the Free State. Take in the endless mountains occasionally topped with a dollop of snow and lush veld often being feasted on by cattle.
The N6 is a scenic route that runs between East London and Bloemfontein. Dubbed The Friendly N6, the road leads you through the pride of the Eastern Cape farmlands and small inland towns, covering mountainous terrain and over the Vaal River which separates the Eastern Cape and the Free State.
From the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, which is situated along the Indian Ocean, The N6 is scattered with villages decorated with traditional Xhosa mud huts. This scenery stretches from just outside East London until the first small town of Stutterheim which is followed by Cathcart. Stutterheim and Cathcart are well known as Eastern Cape’s arts and crafts hub. This Arts and Crafts attraction provides you with a barrage of gifts and souvenirs to choose from. A few kilometres north of Cathcart, Queenstown introduces you to first-hand insight into the ancient wars that were fought in the Eastern Cape through museums dotted along the route.
Further north, Lady Grey offers you exciting mountain bike trails along the often snow-topped mountainous landscape inherent to the area. You can also experience farm life in a buzzing Eastern Cape farming community by staying on one of the working farms in the area. This area is home to various sheep farms, as well as a network of artists with rich Xhosa and Basotho traditions.
Accommodation offerings along the N6 route include budget backpackers and luxury hotels with many game and nature reserves spread throughout the route. Offerings to visitors of the game farm include viewing of the “Big Five” as well as five star luxury accommodation and dining. With high mountain retreats, visitors can even ski on the snow covered slopes of Ben McDhui Mountain or go bundu-bashing on beaten 4×4 routes.
The high mountain passes that take visitors through the Friendly N6 are sometimes closed due to heavy snowfall during the winter months.
Highlights to discover
Peaking at over 2,920m above sea level, Naude’s Nek Pass is the pinnacle of dirt roads in South Africa. Connecting Maclear to the historical Rhodes, this pass is based on the route taken by the valiant Naude brothers of the 1890s. Today the road is more usually, and recommended to be, travelled in the comfort of a 4×4 vehicle, yet still requires a Rambo-like effort to complete, particularly in winter when heavy snowfalls are common. It would help to seek local advice regarding weather and road conditions before attempting this spectacular pass. The route was pioneered by two brothers, Stephanus David Naude and Gabriel Naude, in 1896. According to the plaque at the monument that was erected by their descendents in 1967; these daredevils trailblazed the winding route on horseback. It was marked out and constructed using picks, spades and scotch-carts and was completed in 1911.
Visit http://samountainpasses.co.za/EasternCape/EasternCapePasses/NaudesNeckPass/tabid/1297/Default.aspx for more information.
Tiffindell was born by avid skiers and run by passionate snow lovers since 1993. The resort has grown to become a true Alpine resort for all seasons.
Skiing at Tiffendell has no off- season. Visitors can ski at any time of the year – Tiffendell manufactures snow when the climate doesn’t produce any. Whether it’s a family holiday or a corporate visit, let Tiffindell introduce you to the world of snow (rated 19 in the CNN’s top 100 ski runs in the world).
Tiffendell also offers high altitude hiking, mountain biking, grass skiing, mountain boarding, photography, rock art, birding, some of SA’s best fly fishing, quad biking, and the famous “8 Passes” route for motorcyclists and 4×4’s.
As a Ski Resort it offers snow, ski lifts, a restaurant, ski shop and ski school offering three months of skiing and snowboarding during June, July and August. Non aspiring skiers join in to enjoy a unique experience, making snowmen, throwing snow balls or tobogganing, making it the perfect family holiday for young and old. Snowy days in the Eastern Cape aren’t uncommon and create great opportunities for snow skiers and snow boarders to enjoy the cold weather and slopes. Adventure skiers as well as amateurs will enjoy the slopes of the Southern Drakensberg and Hogsback areas during winter, with a ski resort situated close to Rhodes in the Eastern Cape.
To book your trip visit http://www.tiffindell.co.za/.
Fly Fishing Fresh Waters…
The Rhodes, Barkly East area has amazing fly fishing opportunities on approximately 150km of pristine mountain steams available to anglers. Many of the pristine rivers and streams originate 9000 – 10 000 ft above sea-level, freestone and rock-based highland streams. Among the most popular are the Bell River, Kraai River, Bokspruit, Riflespruit, Sterkspruit, Kloppershoekspruit, Vloeikraalspruit and Langkloof River.
Situated on the border of the former Transkei, are the amazing Tsitsa Falls. Born to a young dynamic couple with a passion, Tsitsa Falls offers an alternative lifestyle and the outdoors. There are a number of activities to get your pulse racing. The flying fox zip line runs across the Tsitsa Gorge, a 28m abseil down the waterfall; kayaking; kloofing; hiking; extreme fly fishing; and much more…
Visit http://www.alternativeroute.net/backpacker-hostels/eastern-cape/maclear/falls-backpackers-and-adventures.html for more information.
The Vultures Restaurant is not your average restaurant. In fact, you will not find a dining table or waiter to serve you. The Vulture’s Restaurant is an attraction so called because the large beast can be spotted through a glass enclosure feeding on dead carcasses. The restaurant is situated at Tenahead Mountain Lodge, near Rhodes. Tenahead Mountain Lodge is situated on the breathtaking Drakensburg Mountain Range.
Visit http://www.riverhotels.co.za/hotel?view=Tenahead%20Mountain%20Lodge for more information.