Although part of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality, which also includes the cities of Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage, Despatch is seldom included on a person’s list of things to see. The small town, which started as a despatch point for the sending of bricks by rail to Port Elizabeth, does not have many notable attractions that would lure a person within its boundaries. However, there is that which cannot be seen – a small town atmosphere which must be felt to be truly appreciated. Despite the fact that Despatch, South Africa, is very small it has a lot of heart which simply cannot be overlooked.
Situated on the banks of the Swartkops River and wedged between the cities of Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage, Despatch is a residential town that is slowly and unfortunately falling to the wayside. Its day as a mass-producer of bricks has passed and today most youngsters who grow up in Despatch leave the city in search of more exciting things. Still, for those who don’t mind the relatively short commute to either Port Elizabeth or Uitenhage, it serves as a welcome repose from the hustle and bustle of city life. Some would view it as a retirement village – others as a safe haven from change. The city has a number of excellent sporting facilities which have helped spur many rising sports stars on to greater things while the town itself enjoys a vibrant community of enthusiastic rugby supporters.
For those who enjoy taking in the historical side of town, there is a brick kiln which is situated on the outskirts of Despatch. It was one of the original brick production facilities which helped to bring Despatch to life and so has immense historical value for the town. Other than this, the town is best known for its beautiful roses which can be seen to be carefully cultivated around municipal buildings and on residential properties. Every year in October residents of the town, along with a good number of people from the surrounding municipal area, gather together at Despatch to enjoy the Despatch Carnival. The Despatch Carnival features a variety of fun-filled events designed to cater to the whole family. The most outstanding feature of the event is the Rose Show which takes centre place at the Carnival. It is here that earnest rose growers can display their pride and joy, and visitors can take in the kaleidoscope of beautiful colors and smells. So whether you’re visiting for the carnival, or just passing the time, give Despatch a try.