- Eastern Cape
Keiskammahoek is a tiny settler village at the foot of the Amatola Mountains, about 50 km from King Williams Town. The name Keiskammahoek is a combination Dutch and Khoikhoi that, when translated, literally means 'corner of shining waters'. Before 1847 this former Ciskei community was known as Qobo Qobo, or 'fragile thing'.
Keiskammahoek is not a well-known town and in fact it is only those who travel the lesser-known roads of the Eastern Cape between King William's Town or Fort Hare, and Stutterheim who will come across this small Xhosa stronghold.
Most people visit Keiskammahoek for the history, the town has an incredible architectural heritage which date back to 1847 when the village was known as “the camp of the mountains”. Close to 50 of the Churches, Chapels and other buildings remain with promising plans for restoration.
Keiskammahoek is conveniently located close to other attractions and activities in the small towns as of Hogsback and Stutterheim and is only an hour and a half away from the beautiful East London beaches.
Accommodation in the surrounding area includes self-catering units and camping facilities. East London is an alternative option for more accommodation.
Things to do and see
- Dontsa Pass
- St Peters Lutheran Church
- Keiskammahoek Cemetery
- Amatoula Forest
- Hiking & MTB Trails
- Gubu Dam
- Cata Village Museum, Stutterheim
- Kologha Forest Blue Day Walk, Stutterheim
Keiskammahoek receives approximately 668 mm of rain annually, with most occurring during the Summer months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 14˚C and 28˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 6˚C and 22˚C.
The area was first settled by whites during the 1846/7 border conflict, more popularly known as The War of the Axe, when a British military outpost, referred to at the time as "the camp in the mountains", was established there. After the conflict the camp was abandoned, and the military was replaced by a Scottish missionary, known as Uniondale, by the Rev Robert Niven in 1849. Unfortunately, this mission was short-lived, as the Rev Niven and his family were forced to flee when their home was burnt down upon the outbreak of further hostilities in 1850.
After erecting a fortified tower, the colonial government declared the area a Royal Crown Reserve and settlers began building homes at Keiskammahoek, joined by German legionnaires and their families in 1857 and 1858. In about 1858 a Lutheran church was built in the village, but this structure proved unsatisfactory and was replaced by a more permanent building during 1877. Several other churches were also built in Keiskammahoek, the Gilead Chapel, consecrated in 1872, being amongst the most notable.
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