Tucked away in a valley below the breathtaking Witteberg mountain range is a town called Lady Grey. This area is rich in sandstone, fossil beds and rock or San art. In the town is a Dutch Reformed Church which was built in 1913. Today this beautiful sandstone building is a national monument. In 1925 a Mr Stromsoe of Cape Town built the Lady Grey Dam. Its wall is 25 metres high and visitors can walk up a natural staircase to the top of the dam wall or even go for a swim in the rock pool below the dam. Lady Grey was named after Cape governor Sir George Grey’s wife, Lady Eliza Spencer.
Registered tour guides offer historic and botanical tours around town. The Cape Vulture Sanctuary in the Karnmelkspruit Gorge is well worth a visit, as you can get an eye-level view of this magnificent endangered species. This area has some of the best fly-fishing waters in the country with crystal clear streams and breathtaking scenery. Although fishing is catch and release only, you can catch yellow fish and trout in these waters. All activities in the area will be by prior arrangement with the relevant people. The area offers many lovely hikes. There are also camping sites on the Karnmelkspruit River and in town for keen caravan enthusiasts.
Lady Grey hosts a few artists and The Arts Academy produces young professionals in drama, dance, music and singing. The Altec Choir has live performances throughout the year. Exhibitions are held regularly. Apart from the church and the museum, other historical places include the Powder Magazine, historic buildings and the cemetery with graves of soldiers from the Anglo-Boer War.
Start in Lady Grey and finish in Rhodes
Duration: Anything from seven to 10 days
Fitness requirement: It’s tough, you’ll need to be relatively fit
Our tip: Going during winter means cold days, crisp skies and wet boots
The Witteberg Skywalk is regarded as rigorous. You will not only have to be fit but an adventurous backpacker as the route follows the edge of the Witteberg mountains between Lady Grey and Rhodes.
There are no fixed overnight huts or places to stop. It is somewhat of a wilderness hike that entails carrying a tent and stopping where it suits you best.
In exchange for a little discomfort and carrying extra weight, you will experience incredible mountain scenery that includes peaks like Balloch, Snowdon and Ben Macdhui.
Accommodation in town varies from backpackers to four-star accommodation. Accommodation in the countryside varies from lodges, camping sites, game farms and self-catering establishments of high quality. There are a number of restaurants and coffee shops in town. A padstal on the R58 towards Barkly East provides the traveller with home-made goodies from the area.
Make the most of your trip by arranging excursions well in advance. Many interesting places cannot be entered without permission www.ladygrey.co.za