Butterworth, also known as Gcuwa, is one of the oldest towns in the former Transkei region. It is a very small rural village situated approximately 110 Km from East London.
The surrounding grassy countryside and the towns close proximity to other seaside towns such as Morgans Bay, Cinsta, Coffee Bay and of course East London is what gives this tiny town its holiday appeal. There are many attractions in these small wild coast towns and Butterworth is a mere hours’ drive from most – beaches, hiking trails, farmers markets, canoe trails, a light house and much more!
Qunu, which is also a small town just an hour away has its own Nelson Mandela Museum and a guided tour is worth the trip. Another day trip visitors can look forward is an outing to the Mgwali Cultural Village in Stutterheim.
A must see site in Butterworth would be the Bawa Falls, with an estimated drop of 103 metres. Tradition holds that there used to be an execution stone at the falls used by the king to behead people believed to be witches.
Butterworth is a small town with only one or two Bed & Breakfast and Guest House options for an overnight stay.
Things to do and see
- Bawa Falls
- Gcuwa Falls
- Strandloper Hiking Trail
- Great Kei River Bridge
- Kei Cuttings Pass (Great Kei River Pass)
- Nelson Mandela Museum, in Qunu
- Mgwali Cultural Village, in Stutterheim
Butterworth receives approximately 784 mm of rain annually with most rainfall occurring during the summer.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 16˚C and 26˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 6˚C and 19˚C.
Butterworth first began as a Wesleyan Mission Station in 1827. The town was named after Joseph Butterworth, appointed General Treasurer of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society.
The mission station and white settlement of Butterworth was burnt down 3 times during the Cape Frontier Wars. At the end of the Frontier Wars in 1878, traders began to settle here and the town grew to become a small industrial centre. Butterworth became a municipality in 1904 and the town was incorporated into the former Transkei during the apartheid years.
Butterworth today is one of the oldest towns in the Eastern Cape's Wild Coast.
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