This Eastern Cape town, previously called Umtata, was founded in 1882, along the banks of the Mthatha River.
This is Nelson Mandela territory, with the late president born in the nearby town of Mvezo and spending his childhood in Qunu. Today the main buildings of the Nelson Mandela Museum are in Umtata. Old traditions are still strong with the women still wearing ochre-coloured dresses with turbans, wire bracelets and white clay on their faces and bodies. It’s inland from the Wild Coast, a spectacular place of rugged coastline, rolling hills, forests and wild seas.
This is a quiet territory of seclusion, with a smattering of hotels and some restaurants, mostly of the franchise variety. You’ll need a car to get around since there’s little public transport available.