Property: spotlight on Grahamstown

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When people hear the name Grahamstown, the first thing that tends to come to mind is the National Arts Festival. However, this small city located about 126km from Port Elizabeth has so much more to offer.

Apart from the National Arts Festival, which sees people from all over the country and the world coming together for the biggest annual celebration of arts in Africa, Grahamstown has a wonderful and caring community and is steeped in history, says resident Cathy Braans.

She says there are many other things about Grahamstown that people may not know. For example, the head office of one of the oldest banks in South Africa, GBS Mutual Bank, is in the town.

Other little-known facts include that it has a camera obscura and that it has one of the oldest newspapers in South Africa, Grocott’s Mail. The Eastern Star Gallery, which houses a restored 120-yearold Wharfedale printing press, can also be found in Grahamstown.

“We even have 52 churches in the area. It’s a very interesting place to visit,” says Cathy. “All that one needs is here, and it’s a great place to bring up and educate your children.”

Grahamstown also has an impressive golf course, The Belmont Golf Club, and is surrounded by world-class game reserves, Kwandwe, Shamwari, Lalibela, Amakhala and Pumba.

There are also plenty of options for nature walks, botanical gardens and even the Gunfire Hill, which boasts sweeping views over the city.

There are also two big factories in Grahamstown – Makana Brick and Carara Agro Processing.

This compact city is considered by some to be the educational capital of South Africa because it has the well-known Rhodes University and several excellent private schools.

Known as the City of Saints because of all its churches, Grahamstown is also referred to as the City of Festivals, not only because of the long-running National Arts Festival, but also because it hosts the popular Scifest Africa and South African Schools’ festivals. Property prices Expect to pay R1,6 million for a typical property such as a three-bedroom house. Monthly rentals start at around R8000.

Of the total accommodation in Grahamstown, 45% are houses, 50% flats and there is only a small percentage in a complex. Where to stay

  • High Corner Guest House
  • St Aidans Guest Cottage
  • The Cock House
  • 8A Grahamstown Luxury Guest House
  • The Milner Luxury Guest House
Top schools
  • Kingswood College
  • Diocesan School for Girls
  • St Andrew’s College
  • Graeme College
  • Victoria Girls’ High School
Dine out
  • Rat and Parrot: for tasty pub fare
  • Casa de Loco: for delicious tapas
  • Oscar’s Country Cafe: for delicious home-cooked meals
  • Revelations Coffee Shop: for light meals
  • Mugg and Bean: for bottomless coffee
  • Haricot’s Deli and Bistro: for tasty baked goods
  • Browns Restaurant: for fine dining