The small rural farming town of Elliot lies in the valley of the Slang River, covering an area of only 7 kms. The town is situated at the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg.
The sleepy, almost “one-horse town” still offers wonderful activities against a backdrop of dramatic mountain scenery with magnificent sandstone formations, crystal streams with trout and bass, waterfalls, towering cliffs and fascinating rock formations with Bushman art.
The region boasts numerous high-quality game reserves and safari opportunities and other outdoor activities include hiking, fly-fishing for the skilled and adrenaline seeking tourists can enjoy some excellent white-water rafting. Drakensberg peaks such as Giants Castle and The Pillars are in the area and the majestic 80 metres high Gillie Cullem Waterfall is 18 km south of the town.
To the northeast of Elliot, the scenery is dominated by the Gatberg, which rises 440 metres above the valley below. This landmark owes its Afrikaans name (meaning ‘hole mountain’) to the hole that has been eroded through the softer strata near its summit. The Xhosa name, uNtunjinkala, means ‘crab’s opening.
If you find yourself in Elliot, make sure you see the fascinating rock formations and sandstone caves adorned with Eastern Cape bushman art - rock paintings from the Eastern Cape’s earliest inhabitants. Barkly East and Maclear lie within an hour’s drive and offer a few attractions also worth visiting while spending time in this part of the country.
Accommodation in the area includes self-catering cottages, guest houses, B&B’s and camping.
Things to do and see
- Elliot Town Hall
- Ecowa Hiking Trail
- Dinorben Rock Paintings
- Route 56
- Joubert Pass
- Fetcani Pass
- Carlisleshoek Waterfall
- Kopshorn Hiking Trail
- Kopshorn Cycling Trail
- 4 X 4 Trails
- Barkly East Museum
Elliot receives approximately 676 mm of rain annually with most rainfall occurring during Summer.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 12˚C and 26˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 1˚C and 18˚C.
There are daily flights into East London Airport, approximately 255 km’s away via the N2, and the Bram Fischer International Airport, approximately 389 km’s away via the N6 and R58. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
The town of Elliot was established in 1885 and was originally known as Slang River. It was only in April 1894 that it was renamed Elliot after Sir Henry Elliot, a highly decorated commissioned veteran of the Crimean War, who was Chief Magistrate of the Transkeian Territories from 1891 to 1902.
Elliot became a municipality in 1911. The town is also known as Ecowa (Xhosa for mushroom) a reference to the fungi growing in the area in summer.
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