Much of the appeal of Thornhill lies in it being secluded and apart from the hustle and bustle of the city – it appeals to those who enjoy a peaceful, scenic atmosphere. Its beautiful location amongst rolling hills, farmlands and countryside is also home to an abundance of wildlife and a spectacular variety of birds. The well-known Dawn Wildlife Sanctuary promotes the care of injured or abandoned animals, which include a plethora of bird species.
Thornhill and its surrounding towns lie in a productive agricultural region thanks to its location among the Gamtoos River Valley. The small town also lies close enough to enjoy the Sunshine Coast beaches and is mere minutes from the Gamtoos River Mouth.
With the ever-growing Port Elizabeth, the conveniences of everyday life grows nearer each year, but so do its’, and Jeffreys Bay’s, attractions of which there are plenty. Thornhill is an ideal location for travellers wishing to experience the countryside, but still within easy reach of the cities amenities.
Accommodation in and around Thornhill includes Lodges, B&B’s, Guesthouses, self-catering as well as camping and caravan park facilities.
Things to do and see
- African Dawn Wildlife Sanctuary
- JBay Bike Park
- Thornhill Equestrian
- 3 Rivers MTB Trail
- Longmore Forest MTB Trail
- Van Stadens Pass
- Remkloof Pass
- Van Stadens Flower Reserve, 7 km
- Gamtoos River Mouth, 12 km
- Van Stadens Beach, 14 km
- Sibuya Game Reserve, 24 km
Thornhill receives approximately 358 mm of rain annually with the majority of its’ rainfall occurring during the mid-summer months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 13˚C and 28˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 1˚C and 18˚C.
Up until 1994, under the previous political dispensation, Thornhill fell in the Ciskei homeland.
From 1976 between 30 to 50 000 people moved from various villages in Sterkspruit and Herschel to the empty land known as Thornhill. They were lured there by the then leader of Ciskei, Lennox Sebe, to help consolidate his political power. A second reason for the mass exodus, was the application of the Citizenship Act of 1970 “which assigned all African South Africans citizenship in one of the bantustans and a third was because of land scarcity.
The people were promised land, houses, schools and clinics by Mr Uys, the South African Deputy Secretary of Bantu Administration and Education. However, on arrival they found nothing but tents, and not even enough to house everyone – conditions were tough due to the lack of shelter for the refugees and livestock died because of the lack of feed. By January 1977 it was reported that 10 babies died.
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