Hidden Gem of the Month: Colchester, Sundays River

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Colchester, Sundays River

Lying on the banks of the Sundays River, just 20 minutes’ drive from Port Elizabeth, lies Colchester in a part of the country that remains largely unspoilt, surrounded by sand dunes that date back about 100 000 years. Boating visitors can entertain themselves on the Sundays River where you can either travel up to the river mouth or go far up river (6 km+).

It is particularly well known for its excellent estuary fishing and abundant bird life, while watersports are superb and include almost all water disciplines. A host of guesthouses, bed and breakfasts and campsites near the river provide visitors with activities such as swimming, canoeing, fishing and ferry rides. Colchester residents are proud of their history. The little town named after the oldest town in the United Kingdom apparently rose to challenge Port Elizabeth as a main port about a century ago. The driving force behind the venture to compete with PE as a port was the engineer who had come all the way from Westminster and who envisaged Colchester as the railway centre for the Eastern Cape Province.

While the unique flow of the river made this area an obvious location, today both residents and visitors are only too happy to remain surrounded by natural habitat, largely undeveloped, save for the recent property boom. The dunes are estimated to be between 6 000 and 10 000 years old and rest upon even older, compacted dunes that could date back 100 000 years. The dunes are teeming with wildlife – bushbuck, grysbok, bush pig and smaller animals like mice, meercats and mongooses, which make these beautiful hills of sand their home. Birders include Colchester in their itinerary and river cruises along the Sundays River reveal a wide variety of waders, heron, duck, colonies of Cape and masked weavers, and up to four different types of kingfisher. The Colchester salt pans are home to the greater and lesser flamingo, African pied avocet, the blue crane and a number of other waders.

The Addo Elephant National Park is another major tourist attraction of the area. It is a diverse wildlife conservation park and is one of the country’s 19 national parks. It currently ranks third in size after the Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. It is home to more than 600 elephants, 400 Cape buffalo, over 48 endangered black rhino as well as a variety of antelope species. Lion and spotted hyena has also recently been reintroduced to the area. The park receives about 120 000 visitors annually. There is a main camp, featuring a swimming pool, restaurant, floodlit water hole and various accommodation, as well as four other rest camps and four camps run by concessionaires.

For the adventure seekers, the area in and around Colchester offers a variety of adrenaline inducing activities such abseiling, quad biking, sandboarding, wakeboarding, whale and shark watching, deep sea cruises, elephant back safaris, horse riding – and the list goes on. For the avid angler the Sundays River will be idyllic. Said to be one of the finest fishing areas in the Eastern Cape, it offers good river angling spots from the banks or from your boat, great surf angling spots where big Kob is the target – this is one of the few spots in the country where 20 kg plus Kob can be caught, but please remember to release these sizes as they are the breeding stock!

For more information, please contact:

Addo Gateway Lodge and The Sundays River Ferry

Tel : 041 4680140 
Cel : 0824180776 / 0824654391



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