Surrounding Areas

The area surrounding Queenstown is a region of diverse and magnificant lansdcapes and mountain ranges, surrounded by several beautiful towns and townships.

Together these make up the area known as the Border.

Regions and towns near Queenstown

Together with Queenstown, the following destinations make up the Border area:



Cathcart is a town in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, named after Sir George Cathcart, governor of the Cape of Good Hope 1852-1853.

The town is situated on the N6, just north of Stutterheim en route to Queenstown

 Church of Saint Alban at Cathcart in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa on the road to Aliwal North.

Originally a small military post, established during the Eighth Frontier War, it was established as a village in 1858 when German colonists arrived in the region. Work on its railway connection to East London on the coast was begun by the Cape government of John Molteno in 1876 and the line was officially opened on 3 November 1879.[3]


Molteno is a town in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

It was founded in 1874 and named for Sir John Molteno, the first prime minister of the Cape Colony. South Africa’s first coal mine was opened here.[2][3] High in the Stormberg Mountains, Molteno is South Africa’s coldest town and it is close to the country’s only ski resort. Ouma Rusks originated here.[4]


Coal fields were discovered in this part of the Stormberg Mountains in 1859, and the town was founded for mining in 1874 by George Vice. He named it after the first Cape Prime Minister, John Molteno.[2][3](Interestingly, because of this, the town’s other namesake is his ancestral hometown in Italy, not far from Milan.) The town’s principal streets are named after the members of Molteno’s cabinet.[5] Water was drawn from the nearby Stormberg river, and later also from the Jubilee Dam.[6]

Soon after its founding, the town became the major supplier of coal to the Cape Colony, with a large portion going to supply the diamond fields in Kimberley.[7] It was granted municipal status in 1883, and by 1892 around 6000 tons of coal were being extracted at Molteno. Much of this coal went to supplying the Cape’s rapidly growing railway system.[8] In 1887, the newly founded Molteno Chamber of Commerce was influential in urging the Cape Government to extend its railway system northwards into the Boer republics, so as to open up new markets. By 1897, production of coal in the region had risen to over 70,000 tons.[9] However, by the 1920s the expansion of the railways made access to coal fields in Natal and the Transvaal possible, resulting in the decline of coal mining around Molteno.[10]

The mountains around Molteno are largely composed of sandstone of exceptional quality, and there were originally plans to build Molteno out of this beautiful rock, as a “Sandstone City”. Nonetheless, several of the oldest buildings in the town are still made from local stone, fashioned by Italian artisans. The Old Mill is one example, built in 1874 and restored in 1991, as is the local Church and “Drostdy” (Magistrate’s office).

During the Second Boer War, Molteno was used as a mustering point for troops prior to the famous Battle of Stormberg, as it was the closest railway station. The area also saw extensive Boer guerilla activity.[11]

Places of interest

 Molteno NG Church

Although hot and arid in summer, in winter Molteno is the coldest town in South Africa, being located near the highest point in the Cape in the heart of the Stormberg Mountains. Because of its extreme temperatures, it offers snow in the colder months and the town is not far from the country’s only ski resort, Tiffindell. The town has several botanical gardens, a monument to Queen Victoria, and a historic library built from local stone. There are 4X4 trails in the mountains and the nearby Molteno Dam offers water-skiing and trout-fishing.[12]

Molteno is also home to Ouma Rusks and the Stormberg biltong factory.[4]

The Molteno Museum is located in the stone library building and aims to portray the history of the town and its surrounds. It contains a range of artifacts, from stone-age tools toKhoisan, Xhosa and Voortrekker relics including a large collection of vintage guns. It also houses local war relics from the Boer War, and a display of pioneering historical photography from the region, the “Lomax Collection”. Also of historical interest are the blockhouses that are located in the area, dating from the Boer War, and the Stormberg Battlefields. [13]
There is a lot of Bushman rock art in the surrounding mountain ranges. The area around the town offers ample opportunity to view rock paintings, fossils and stone age tools uncovered in caves and diggings close to Molteno. There are also three extinct volcanoes in the vicinity.[14]

The town has one of the oldest railway stations in South Africa – now officially reopened after being closed for repairs. The station lies on the main line from East London, inland to Johannesburg. This line was actually planned and begun by the same John Molteno after whom the town is named, but the railway only reached the town in 1884[15] and the section further north to Aliwal North was opened on 2 September 1885.


Molteno is surrounded by mountains and high Karoo plains, known for its vast panoramic views. It is also located almost exactly on the watershed between the catchment areas of the Atlantic Ocean (e.g. the Orange River to the north) and the Indian Ocean.[16]

The semi-arid, succulent-rich vegetation of the Great Karoo ecoregion predominates in the area.

ClimateMolteno has a subtropical highland climate (Cwb, according to the Köppen climate classification), with warm summers and chilly, dry winters, with occasional snowfalls.[citation needed] It borders on a semi-arid climate (BSh/BSk). The average annual precipitation is 401 mm (16 in), with rainfall occurring mainly during summer.

Molterno is one of the coldest towns in South Africa, second only to Sutherland in the Northern Cape, with an average yearly temperature of 13.3 °C and an average annual minimum temperature of 6.0 ºC.[17]

The village of Buffelsfontein, located near Molteno, has the lowest recorded temperature in South Africa, of −20.1 °C (−4 °F), on 23 August 2013.[18] The former national record, of −18.6 °C (−1 °F), was also registered in the same locality, on 28 June 1996.[19]

The administrative area to which Molteno belongs, Inkwanca, literally means “cold” in Xhosa.[20]

GeologyMolteno is located on the Stormberg Series of the Karoo System where some of the only workable coal seams in the Cape are to be found (the Molteno Formation, the youngest in the Karoo System, is named after the town).[21] These coal fields are being explored for possible coal bed methane extraction.[22]

The rocks preserve a record of gradual desertification over millions of years, starting from the Upper Triassic when the area was a warm swampland, and continuing into the late Jurassic when the region had become a desert. Extensive Dinosaur footprints and fossils can be found in these rocks.[23]

Famous residents
  • Ambrose Lomax, the chemist and photographer.
  • Johannes Meintjes, prominent South African artist.
  • LJ van Zyl, Springbok Athlete
  • Zingile Dingani,Secretary of Parliament
  • Asanda Kupa, South African Contemporary Artist

 Sterkstroom is a settlement in Inkwanca Local Municipality of the Chris Hani District in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

Village on the Hex River, at the southern foot of the Stormberg, 272 km north-west of East London. It was founded in 1875 and became a municipality in 1878. Afrikaans for ‘strong current or stream’, the name refers to the Hex River.[3]

Coal mining

The former colliery village was situated partly on town’s land and has contributed to the town’s development. The coal was of low quality and, like almost all other coal mines in the North-Eastern Cape, was closed after Unification in 1910, because the Cape Colony was then able to source coal from other provinces. Nevertheless, Sterkstroom gradually evolved and livestock farming, for which the area is perfect, continued to expand.

Municipal infrastucture

Sterkstroom’s water scheme was completed around 1976. The town was established in 1928 with electricity and in 1966 the electricity scheme was modernized in total at a cost of R280,000. Electrical power was bought in bulk from Queenstown, with Molteno again obtaining its power in bulk from Sterkstroom.

By the mid-1970s, all the streets in the town was constructed and for 4.8 km thereof, surface draining was provided. At that time, a new industrial area with railway sidings was also laid out. The town later boasted a public library, a municipal market where weekly auctions were held and a clinic. The town council had made ample provision for recreational opportunities like rugby, cricket, athletics, tennis, equestrian, golf, badminton and rollerskating. There was also a caravan park and a playground for children.

Religion and population

Sterkstroom is one of a few South African towns where the congregation of the Reformed Church was established before the more common NG Kerk congregation. Sterkstroom’s Reformed Church was established in 1887, well 27 years after the first church in the Cape Colony, namely the Burgersdorp Reformed Church. After Burgersdorp also came Aliwal North (1864), Dordrecht (1869), Barkly East (1871), Steynsburg (1872) and Venterstad (1874). Sterkstroom’s Reformed Church by 2002 had only 16 confirmed members and 3 baptized members left and was disbanded in that year.

In 1977 Sterkstroom’s population composition was 700 white, 200 coloured and 8,000 black Africans. Time being, the NG church had 155 baptized and 340 confirmed members. According to the census of 2011 the population dropped to 300 whites with a black population of around 6,600. By 2012, the NG church’s baptized members fell to 27 and 135 confirmed members.



Dordrecht is a town situated in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Dordrecht was founded in 1856 by Baron Smiddolff (later changed to Smithdorff), a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church. The town was named for the city of the same name in the South-Western Netherlands and had a population of about 8,741 people in 2001.

Dordrecht lies nestled in the Stormberg Mountains, just north of Queenstown between Middelburg and Mthatha. Its many historical buildings and museum display turn-of-the-century furniture and clothing. Dodrecht is a small town surrounded by a number of farms with a large number of merino sheep and cattle ranchers in the region. Farmers around Dordrecht also grow potatoes. Dordrecht prides itself on a number of historical sites including a unique 1873 colonial country B&B. There are farmstay holidays available in the region. They are well known in South Africa for trout fishing, pheasant hunting and game hunting. The town is also situated near to the Western Drakensberg Mountains where the only snow skiing resort is in South Africa.

Grain mill with bevel gearsoutside local museum

It has two high schools, Masikhanyise High School and Dordrecht High School (that is 102 years old). Its oldest townships are Sinako township, Munikville and Marabastad.

A Remembrance Garden is in the city center in memorial to Baron Smithdorff and high in the kopje in the foothills is a plaque dedicated to the Smithdorff family.


Dordrecht has a subtropical highland climate (Cwb, according to the Köppen climate classification), with warm summers and chilly, dry winters, with occasional snowfalls. It borders on a cold semi-arid climate (BSk). The average annual precipitation is 466 mm (18 in), with most rainfall occurring mainly during summer.

The village of Buffelsfontein, located between the towns of Dordrecht and Molteno, has the lowest recorded temperature in South Africa, of −20.1 °C (−4 °F), on 23 August 2013.[2]The former national record, of −18.6 °C (−1 °F), was also registered in the same locality, on 28 June 1996.


Lady Frere is a settlement in Chris Hani District Municipality in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

Situated on the Cacadu River, 51 km north-east of Queenstown and 53 km south-west of Cala. It was established in 1879, was administered by a village management council from 1886, and became a municipality in 1900. Named after the wife of Sir Bartle Frere (1815-1884), Governor of the Cape Colony from 1877 to 1880.[2]

Lady Frere is made up of several villages which include Kundulu, Xonxa, Mkhaphusi, Matyhantya, Mtsheko, Machibini, Tshatshu Gqebenya and many more.