Of the towns in the valley, Hankey is the oldest, but probably the best known due largely to its claim to the largest sundial in Africa that stands 18 metres high and weighs in at a ton. It was erected to celebrate the town’s 160th anniversary in 1986 and was masterminded by local resident, Dirk Schellingerhout.
Hankey’s other claim to fame is the burial place of Sarah Baartman, an uneducated Khoi-San woman, considered very beautiful by her own people, who was lured overseas and exhibited as a freak until her death in France – now an icon for human rights! It took some years of negotiation with the French government to have her remains returned to a burial place just outside Hankey – something of a victory for humanity and a symbol of freedom.
The small town is surrounded by beautiful hills and farmland, largely undetected and thus unspoilt. Hankey is close to Gamtoos Mouth and other surfing beaches in Jeffreys Bay. A day trip to Port Elizabeth for added attractions and activities is also only a day trip away.
The Gamtoos Valley region offers a few self-catering, camping and caravanning options.
Things to do and see
- Hankey Sundial
- Longmore Forest MTB Trail
- Baviaans MTB Trail
- Baviaans 4X4 Trail
- Sarah Bartman’s Grave
- Hankey Golf Course
- Baviaans Mega Reserve
- Combrinks Pass
- Grasnek Pass
- Gamtoos River Mouth & Beach
- Gamtoos Valley
Hankey receives approximately 510 mm of rain annually with rainfall occurring throughout the year.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 15˚C and 26˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 7˚C and 21˚C.
Centuries ago Hankey was first home the Khoi and Mfengu people. In 1822 the London Missionary Society founded a mission station in the Gamtoos Valley. The Station was named after Rev. William Alers Hankey, Treasurer of the Society.
The intention of the society was to settle Hottentot converts on irrigable land. The project was not a success and the land sold. The town of Hankey was established in 1826 and today the village is the administrative centre for this fertile area producing citrus fruits, tobacco and vegetables.
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