Regardless of you’re a local or tourist there are a ton of attractions in Mthatha that are sure to keep you entertained.
COLLYWOBBLES VULTURE COLONY
The sheer cliffs of the Mbashe gorge in rural Mthatha, on the Mbashe River, play host to a colony of Cape vultures who have apparently lived and bred here since the late 1890s.
Did you know?
The Cape vulture is the largest raptor in South Africa and classified as vulnerable by the IUCN, making it one of the most exciting species to spot.
The colony, in this far remote corner of the Transkei, has been known to support up to 300 breeding pairs (1989), but on average you will spot about 200 individuals across 13 separate cliffs where they build their nests, particularly on Main, mSikiti and Ledger cliffs. It is still a large colony and spectacular at that – the cliffs soaring up above you.
The vultures use the rural grasslands and woodland south of Mthatha, but rely on the high cliffs for breeding. The Cape vulture (listed as vulnerable) colony has probably survived here as long as it has because of its position in amongst the rural landscape, south of Elliotdale.
Where the colony choose to live, in amongst the cliffs, the Mbashe River flows in a series of sharp, convoluted twists that is quite something to see. The area is beautiful; the scenery breathtaking. But to reach it takes a concerted effort.
The area is known as Collywobbles, and you will find the colony roughly 5 km from the Collywobbles store, which also stocks basic supplies. A bird hide, erected by the Amathole district municipality, is now unfortunately in ruins.
Include the Bawa Falls whilst in the area.
NELSON MANDELA MUSEUM
The Nelson Mandela Museum was officially opened on the 11 February 2000, at a function to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the release from prison of Nelson Mandela in 1990.
Did you know?”I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear” ~ Nelson Mandela.
The Museum offers visitors an inspiring journey through the life of Nelson Mandela. Known affectionately as ‘Madiba’, Nelson Mandela is loved and respected world-wide for his tireless energy to bring about a better life for all.
Mandela insisted that the Museum should not be a tribute dedicated to him, but should rather serve as a catalyst and springboard for the upliftment and development of the local community.
The Museum is distributed across three sites: The impressive Bhunga Building in Umtata, the spiritual Mvezo – where Mandela was born, and Qunu – the cultural village where he grew up.
At the historic Bhunga building, you will experience the story of Nelson Mandela told in his own words. It is based on his book, “Long Walk to Freedom”. The Bhunga also houses an international selection of diverse gifts that Madiba received during his presidency.
At Mvezo, the birthplace of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the time has not changed the way of life of the local community. You will experience a sense of the peaceful surroundings into which the baby Mandela was born.
At Qunu, the young Rolihlahla assumed the name Nelson, as was the custom at missionary schools. In his book “Long Walk to Freedom”. Madiba states that Qunu is where he spent the happiest moments of his childhood. Qunu is a modest yet vibrant village where a Youth and Heritage centre is being built. Activities planned at the centre include youth programmes and tourism development.
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Nelson Mandela’s statement from the dock in the Rivonia Trial ended with these words.
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