- Eastern Cape
Maclear is a small town situated in the beautiful mountains of the Eastern Cape, at the crossroads of the R56 and R396. It lies specifically in the foothills of the Drankensberg range, surrounded by rural villages and agricultural landscapes – this is primarily a sheep farming district however, cheese and dairy products are also produced here.
This part of the country has remained relatively untouched, giving visitors an incredible opportunity to explore nature at its best. The Maclear mountains make way for kilometres of pristine river frontage, not just any river, but water that is so well stocked with trout and yellowtail the small town attracts fishermen from all corners of the country.
The beautiful Maclear surroundings also have an important history and pre-history and is well-known for rock paintings skeleton sites and even dinosaur footprints! But, if history is not your idea of a complete break from the city, there is plenty of other adventurous outdoor activities to keep you satisfied – enjoy horse trails, hiking and biking trails, abseiling down the spectacular Tsista Falls, 4X4 trails and exquisite scenic mountain passes to drive – the area is known for the 8 Passes Challenge which includes some of the highest and most scenic passes South Africa has to offer!
Close to Maclear is an oddly shaped mountain known as Gatberg, so named because of a large hole directly through the centre of its peak, and is well worth a viewing.
There is a wide range of accommodation in the area including self-catering units, B&B’s, Guest Houses and camping facilities.
Things to do and see
- Woodcliffe Cave Hiking Trails
- Pretijiesberg Hiking Trail
- Tsista Falls
- Sivewright Bridge
- Dinosaur Footprints, Oakleigh Farm
- 8 Passes Challenge
- Bastervoetpad Pass
- Fetcani Pass
- Maclear Golf Course
- Ugie Tractor Museum, 25 km
- Bulungula Beach, Mthatha 69 km
Maclear receives approximately 786 mm of rain annually with most rainfall occurring during Summer.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 13˚C and 27˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 0˚C and 21˚C.
There are daily flights into the East London Airport, approximately 326 km’s away via the N2 and into the Margate Airport approximately 341 km away via the R56 and N2. There are also daily flights in the Bram Fischer International Airport in Bloemfontein, approximately 489 km’s away via the R58. Car hire facilities are available at the Airport.
Maclear was fist chosen as a place to dwell by the dinosaurs and then our ancient ancestors – the footprints and art can confirm this.
The town of Maclear was first founded in 1876 as a military camp. It was named after the famous Irish-born Astronomer, Sir Thomas Maclear (1794 to 1879). He was the famous Astronomer who laid the foundation for a trigonometrical survey of the Cape Colony and served as Her Majesty’s Astronomer in the Cape.
The town of Maclear developed quickly and received municipality status by 1916.
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