Explore Historic Kokstad

The quaint town of Kokstad is located on the border of two South African provinces, namely the Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal. It is situated in an area that is known as East Griqualand, boasting a fascinating history to discover. It began with a division in the Griqua people. One of the chiefs of the tribe, Adam Kok III, took his followers and relocated to the slopes of the well-known Drakensberg Mountains, selecting an area that was picturesque and tranquil. They named the mountain they settled on Mount Currie in honor of Sir Walter Currie.

It was felt that the settlement needed a missionary and when Reverend William Dower was asked to fulfill the role in 1869, he agreed but put in his own request that the settlement be moved to the Mzimhlava River. This is where the town still stands today. The original settlement that Adam Kok established in 1863 can still be visited and lies approximately five kilometers outside the town of Kokstad. It was a small settlement with only 2903 locals recorded in 1904. These hardy settlers were able to survive in an area that was nicknamed No Mans Land. Interestingly a part of the proud history of the town, chiefly the newspaper named the Kokstad Advertiser and the first hotel in Kokstad, The Royal, were established in 1881 by an African-American. In 1892 the municipality of Kokstad was founded.

There are many attractions and interesting sites for visitors to explore. The statue of Adam Kok was erected next to the police station, and museums display the history of the town and the Griqua people. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are many tranquil picnic areas and three reserves to explore. Mountain Lake Nature Reserve is popular for its beautiful hiking trails and magnificent bird life, while the dams in the area provide ideal trout fishing opportunities. Crystal Dam is for the more adventurous, where angling as well as boating or water skiing is enjoyed.

Not far from Kokstad are two very popular reserves, of which the Mount Currie Nature Reserve is known for its mountain hikes and for being a little off the beaten track. The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park offers spectacular grasslands, breathtaking gorges and beautiful river valleys. Kokstad is a town filled with natural wonders and a proud and exciting heritage that is most definitely worth the visit.