- Fort Beaufort
Fort Beaufort, Oos-Kaap
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Fort Beaufort lies on the banks of the Kat River, in the heart of the citrus farming Kat River Valley, surrounded by the Amatola and Katberg Mountains.
This little historical towns close neighbours include Hogsback and Grahamstown and it serves as a mini-'dormitory' for academic staff and students of Fort Hare University, based in the nearby town of Alice. Fort Beaufort boasts a number of historical buildings and sites worth visiting that date back to the frontier war. The Martello Tower, today a national monument, is a fine example of a “must see” attraction.
The Fort Fordyce and Mpofu Nature Reserves are a mere 25 kms away and the 45 000 ha Great Fish River Reserve is only 40 km outside of Fort Beaufort. This reserve is a malaria free reserve with an abundance of big game from hippo and Cape buffalo to elephant, lion and Rhino.
The Valley near Fort Beaufort is filled with rivers, waterfalls, open spaces and forests, all of which invites outdoor enthusiasts to stay awhile and hike, fish, rock climb and mountain bike!
Fort Beaufort can offer its overnight visitors a stay in a Guest Houses, B&B or one of the nearby game lodges in the surrounding area.
Things to do and see
- Martello Tower
- Fort Beaufort Historical Museum
- Katberg Trail
- Our Heritage Museum, in Adelaide
- Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve
- Mpofu Nature Reserve
- Fuller’s Hoek Pass
- Fort Hare University, in Alice
- Great Fish River Reserve
- Fort Beaufort Golf Course
Fort Beaufort receives approximately 498 mm of rain annually with rainfall occurring throughout the year.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 15˚C and 31˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 4˚C and 22˚C.
There are daily flights into East London Airport, approximately 139 km’s away via the R63. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
The root of Fort Beaufort is a mission station that the Reverend Joseph Williams of the London Missionary Society established in 1816. During 1822 and 1823 the British constructed a blockhouse about 5 km from the mission station as a frontier post to support the struggle against the Xhosa for possession of territory. They named it after the Duke of Beaufort, the father of Lord Charles Somerset, first British Governor of the Cape.
After the sixth Xhosa War, between 1834 and 1835 a fort was constructed at the site of the original blockhouse. The new buildings included a military hospital, guard houses, infantry barracks, and officers' quarters.
Fort Beaufort became a town in 1840 and between 1839 and 1846 the Martello Tower construction took place.
During the eight Xhosa War (1850 – 53) anti-British forces unsuccessfully attached the town and the Fort, still standing today, withstood a full-scale assault by Xhosa warriors on 7 January 1851.
British troops occupied the town until 1870.
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